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Thread: Recent Encounter with PPD, see Maine Rights Attacked thread

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    Recent Encounter with PPD, see Maine Rights Attacked thread

    Dear OCDO,

    I write this post to you as a more educated, knowledgeable, and as of this morning, more relieved member of this community then any of my previous posts.
    As the thread title says, you've seen most of what I'll be writing here in the Maine Rights Attacked sticky thread. I'm "Alex". Lots of you have read the post, many of you (so it seems) have contributed to a legal fund started, ever so graciously, by Shane Belanger on my behalf, while many more have been there for moral support and kept me in your thoughts. Thank you. Each and every one of you.

    This post, from here out, is going to be a bit like a Quentin Tarantino movie. I'm going to open with the end, and the give you the rest.

    The Portland DA is not prosecuting at this point in time.
    I arrived for my summons before the scheduled time of 8am, was bounced around from one floor, to a clerk, to the DA's office, to another court room. After sitting through everyone's arraignments and what not, those of us who's name had not been called by the judge, I spoke with someone from the DA's office, who checked and told me that the DA is not pursuing the matter, and is not prosecuting at this time. I could not have been more happy.

    As the late Paul Harvey always said "And now, the rest of the story."

    The following is what I wrote out, verbatim, immediately and shortly following my incident.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
    On my way to a networking meeting, I stopped to get gas at the Forest Ave Mobile station. Prior to arriving at gas station on Forest Ave, pistol was unloaded, slide locked back, visible, and the magazine tucked under my leg. As I pulled up to the pump, I noticed a PPD SUV parked at the rear of the building near the car wash; it appeared to be unoccupied. I weighed my options: step out of my car, load my pistol (pursuant to the law), hope someone does not see this and run screaming to the police or have the police see, and potentially have them draw their weapons, or take it as brandishing a firearm. Leave my pistol in the car, and potentially have to deal with the police. Or remove my keys from the ignition, load my pistol, holster it and immediately exit the vehicle (knowingly breaking the law for all of 2 seconds). I opted for the latter, feeling it was my best option given my circumstances.

    I exited my car, took my wallet out, my card was declined on the first try, I tried it again, it was accepted, and I proceeded to begin to pump my gas. At this point, Sergeant Doherty (I believe this is the correct spelling of his name) approached me, asking “if I was doing that Open Carry thing” and “would I mind if we talked for a moment about it.” I said that was fine, and asked if I could continue to pump my gas. I was asked to please keep my hands where he could see them, and for my ID, which I provided.

    Sergeant Doherty pressed me to admit that I was carrying a loaded firearm inside a motor vehicle. I politely tried to explain the situation to him, but I was repeatedly told not to lie, and that he had seen me exit the car with the pistol on my hip. I felt he gave me no option but to answer his question in the affirmative, incriminating myself.

    At this point, Sergeant Doherty asked me if he could “have a look at my gun.” I said yes, continuing with my desire to be cooperative and polite. He came around on my right side, un-holstered my pistol, and handed it to Officer Kezal ( I did not catch his rank, nor did I ask) and ask him to clear it and to check the serial number. I was asked where I bought it and how long ago.

    As we waited for my ID check to come back, I was told that I was not being arrested, but that I could be but was not because I was “being a gentleman and cooperating”, and that I was being charged with a class E crime of carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle without a license to do so.

    During the course of this, Sergeant Doherty made it clear that in his opinion I was not making a good choice, and stated that I was doing this solely to make a point. I informed it that I was not doing to make a point, far from it, that I carry to protect myself and my loved ones should the need arise. He tone indicated he did not believe me, saying “you’re just trying to make a point, and not a good one in my opinion.” He wanted nothing to do with my reason for choosing to carry, he seemed focused on the fact that though it was my constitutional right, I shouldn’t be doing it, and if I was, I should have a CCW permit ( a summary of his words). I was asked multiple times why I don’t have one, to which my reply was the same: I don’t have the money. He seemed surprised to hear this, asking with a negative inflection in his voice how much it costs. I informed him of the fee, and that while it might not be a lot, I have $100,000+ in school debt hanging over my head, so money is tight.

    After I mentioned that I had had previous encounters with the PPD on the matter of my open carrying, he noted that I have now had 3 encounters with the police, and none with bad guys, as if trying to make a point that clearly I need not carry, because the police are around (this is what I took from his tone of voice, he did not say this).
    Sergeant Doherty left for a moment, I am not sure why, and n officer whose name I did not catch – young, dark hair, special response team patch, male – told me it was not a good idea to carry a gun in a city environment, that it would draw attention from the public and the police. He stressed that it was not a good idea.

    Throughout this ordeal, there were no less 4 officers on scene, despite my being calm, polite and extremely cooperative. I felt trapped at the scene, especially having not been told I was being detained, which it felt like I was.

    I was asked if there were any other firearms in my vehicle, which I replied that there might be a .22cal rifle in the trunk, I could not recall if I had removed it. Sergeant Doherty said “let's take a look” and I was instructed to open the trunk, which I did. The rifle was indeed in the trunk, unloaded, no magazine present, and no ammunition present. The rifle, along with my pistol, was confiscated by PPD. I was told that after my case was “disposed of, I would be able to get my property back, regardless of if I was found guilty or not.” I was not given any form of written acknowledgment of my property leaving my possession. I am also unsure why the rifle was taken, as it had no bearing on why I was going through this encounter; it was unloaded, and locked in the trunk.

    As he was writing my summons and waiting to get my court date back from dispatch, Sergeant Doherty spit towards me and my car. In no way do I feel he spit at me, but it was in my general direction. I felt this was incredibly unprofessional and not at all becoming of an officer of the law.

    I was told I could continue pumping my gas, at which time they were “just going to run me through Triple I and move on.” The Triple I search of my name and DOB came back showing that I had been arrested for DUI in Indiana and/or Nashville. Having never been to Nashville, I knew this was not true. Sergeant Doherty then looked at me and said “are you lying? I thought you told me you had never been arrested?” I understand that mistakes can be made, but wouldn’t it be prudent to double check facts before accusing people of lying about such matters? It was only after that did they take my social security number, which hopefully resolved that issue.

    This is all that I can recall at this moment, 12:03am, Friday, June 17, 2011. I do not believe I am leaving anything out, but I am still somewhat in shock over the incident and might be forgetting something.


    The officers involved, in my opinion, seemed to have a very negative opinion of Open Carrying, and seemed quick to let their personal feelings on the matter take over their judgment of the situation. As an educator, an EMT, and a young professional in otherwise good standing with the communities I am part of, I see no reason that given my actions and demeanor during the encounter this could not have been a teachable moment - be educated and let to go about my day, knowing I was a better informed citizen who could spread the word that not all police interactions are negative. This is just my opinion.

    As for what I want to see happen out of all this, beyond myself becoming more educated from the teachable moments I found within this encounter, I would like to see the case dropped, and education for the officers of the PPD - about open carry, how to deal with people who are openly carrying a weapon, that personal beliefs on a matter should not affect how a situation is handled and what is voiced in that situation, as well as a refresher on professionalism – there is no need to be spitting while speaking to someone, especially in the instance I encountered it.

    Sincerely,

    My Full Name
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~

    For those of you reading, or who have already read some of, this and are saying/yelling/exclaiming/muttering where I went wrong, and what I did/didn't/shouldn't do - I'm on it, I promise. It's been pointed out where I went wrong, it's been noted, and I'm reviewing those notes and practicing what I need to say/not say should I have another encounter with the PD. That being said, should anyone want to echo anything, please, by all means. I'm all for constructive criticism; I think it's a great learning tool and will be greatly appreciated. And hopefully others can learn from it as well.

    I was able to go into this morning feeling confident thanks to a few key folks. I don't know if they would want to be named at the moment, so for now, I won't. So those that spent their own time doing research, for spending 40 minutes on the phone with me to help me out, for everything, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    In conclusion: I dodged a bullet today. I've learned some massive lessons the not so easy way over the past month. The members of this community are amazing people and if it weren't for all of you, I'd have lost far more sleep than I did over the past month+.

    Thanks for reading/replying.
    Stay Safe.

    X
    Last edited by PiercedMaineOC; 07-21-2011 at 08:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Regular Member ep0k's Avatar
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    That's excellent news, Alex. I'm meeting with Lt. Sweatt of the PPD tomorrow to discuss his concerns about the upcoming Right To Carry BBQ and my concerns about the Portland Police Department's recent behavior. The DA's reluctance to prosecute on the matter will make a nice "bullet point" (pun slightly intended) to bring up.

    I'm glad you were able to learn from this experience without experiencing long-term repercussions. Hopefully others can avoid this sort of thing in the future.
    v/r
    Forrest Brown
    Webmaster, Maine Open Carry Association
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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the update with us. Looks like the prosecutor made the correct decision. I am glad you learned from this and shared it so that we can learn from it. Do you plan to pursue this any further?
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiercedMaineOC View Post
    ..........snip........ I spoke with someone from the DA's office, who checked and told me that the DA is not pursuing the matter, and is not prosecuting at this time. I could not have been more happy.



    X
    The highlighted text from your OP bothers me, more than a little.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    I would call Cumberland County DA Stephanie Anderson and politely request a dismissal letter. She is a strong Second Amendment supporter.

    Best~
    Paul J. Mattson
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Thanks for sharing the update with us. Looks like the prosecutor made the correct decision. I am glad you learned from this and shared it so that we can learn from it. Do you plan to pursue this any further?
    He has nothing to pursue, no charges were filed. We at MOCA will take the ball from here and work to fix the laws in Maine. The important part is that Alex got off without charges

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanebelanger View Post
    He has nothing to pursue, no charges were filed. We at MOCA will take the ball from here and work to fix the laws in Maine. The important part is that Alex got off without charges
    Oh, ok I guess he shouldn't pursue it by talking to his state rep about the law or anything like that. No harm done...just let it go....
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiercedMaineOC View Post
    For those of you reading, or who have already read some of, this and are saying/yelling/exclaiming/muttering where I went wrong, and what I did/didn't/shouldn't do - I'm on it, I promise. It's been pointed out where I went wrong, it's been noted, and I'm reviewing those notes and practicing what I need to say/not say should I have another encounter with the PD. That being said, should anyone want to echo anything, please, by all means. I'm all for constructive criticism; I think it's a great learning tool and will be greatly appreciated. And hopefully others can learn from it as well.
    Thanks for the full report, and thanks for acknowledging that things could have been handled much better. The most important lesson to take from this is that you cannot "cooperate" your way out of trouble in any police encounter!

    If the initial officer had truly seen you exit your car while wearing a loaded firearm, he didn't need your help, nor your admission. He pressured you about whether you were lying, in order to get you to make your case for him. The same goes for the .22 rifle in the trunk.

    A hostile tone never helps, but one can be exceedingly (and even sincerely) polite, while not cooperating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shanebelanger View Post
    He has nothing to pursue, no charges were filed. We at MOCA will take the ball from here and work to fix the laws in Maine. The important part is that Alex got off without charges
    Happy ending.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Oh, ok I guess he shouldn't pursue it by talking to his state rep about the law or anything like that. No harm done...just let it go....
    Oh sure, in that way. I thought you meant legally.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanebelanger View Post
    Oh sure, in that way. I thought you meant legally.
    Just had to give you a hard time, there was a little sarcasm in there. Good to hear. Hope you guys can get that law changed.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    Just had to give you a hard time, there was a little sarcasm in there. Good to hear. Hope you guys can get that law changed.
    In this regard it seems more like the law requires clarification. Obviously the gun can be stored legally (unloaded in a case) and carried legally (loaded in a holster), but there is an awkward period where that transition occurs for someone who doesn't have a CCW. This recent incident highlights how the socially discreet method (loading in the car) can get you in trouble. But I doubt any judge wants to be the one who rules on this saying "load your gun in public".

    Of course if our long-term objective of constitutional carry were the legal standard it would be a complete non-issue. That's what we're working for in the grander scheme of things.
    v/r
    Forrest Brown
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    Quote Originally Posted by ep0k View Post
    In this regard it seems more like the law requires clarification. Obviously the gun can be stored legally (unloaded in a case) and carried legally (loaded in a holster), but there is an awkward period where that transition occurs for someone who doesn't have a CCW. This recent incident highlights how the socially discreet method (loading in the car) can get you in trouble. But I doubt any judge wants to be the one who rules on this saying "load your gun in public".

    Of course if our long-term objective of constitutional carry were the legal standard it would be a complete non-issue. That's what we're working for in the grander scheme of things.
    That sir is the Grandest Scheme of all.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    I guess I'm confused about why he took the pistol out of the car in the first place or didn't just follow the law. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad things worked out well for him. I assume he had a holster where he could have put the empty pistol in, got out, and inserted the magazine--all within the ME law. Dropped the mag after he was done and reentered the car. No brandishing as the gun remained in the holster. Anyway...
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post
    I guess I'm confused about why he took the pistol out of the car in the first place or didn't just follow the law. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad things worked out well for him. I assume he had a holster where he could have put the empty pistol in, got out, and inserted the magazine--all within the ME law. Dropped the mag after he was done and reentered the car. No brandishing as the gun remained in the holster. Anyway...
    That's about as good a protocol as I can imagine myself following, if I lived here year-round and didn't have a CHL. Only weak point that I can see is that you'd either be driving around with one in the chamber, or OCing outside of the car *without* one in the chamber. Unless/until you have opportunity to discretely rack the slide once out of the car... I'd probably choose to live w. the compromise of carrying w/o a round in the chamber, until I could get my CHL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhenriksen View Post
    That's about as good a protocol as I can imagine myself following, if I lived here year-round and didn't have a CHL. Only weak point that I can see is that you'd either be driving around with one in the chamber, or OCing outside of the car *without* one in the chamber. Unless/until you have opportunity to discretely rack the slide once out of the car... I'd probably choose to live w. the compromise of carrying w/o a round in the chamber, until I could get my CHL.
    You have hit the nail on the head with regard to the conundrum that is Maine State Law. It's virtually impossible to discretely rack the slide to load the chamber. Your options are to rack the slide in full view of the public and risk the brandishing charge, or to carry without one in the chamber and risk not being able to rack the slide properly under stress of a deadly force encounter, or to rack the slide discretely moments before exiting the car and risk the "loaded in a vehicle" violation. Option 1 is a felony, Option 2 is you dead, Option 3 is a misdemeanor. Which would you choose?

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    You have hit the nail on the head with regard to the conundrum that is Maine State Law. It's virtually impossible to discretely rack the slide to load the chamber. Your options are to rack the slide in full view of the public and risk the brandishing charge, or to carry without one in the chamber and risk not being able to rack the slide properly under stress of a deadly force encounter, or to rack the slide discretely moments before exiting the car and risk the "loaded in a vehicle" violation. Option 1 is a felony, Option 2 is you dead, Option 3 is a misdemeanor. Which would you choose?
    So the scope of the problem is well defined... now to draft the verbiage to be folded into a bill for the next legislative session, and get a 2A friendly rep or senator to sponsor it. The gentleman from Naples, perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhenriksen View Post
    So the scope of the problem is well defined... now to draft the verbiage to be folded into a bill for the next legislative session, and get a 2A friendly rep or senator to sponsor it. The gentleman from Naples, perhaps?
    They tried last session and it got killed in committee

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    They tried last session and it got killed in committee
    Try again and do more lobby work. Never quit.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Try again and do more lobby work. Never quit.
    certainly not, but it's a dead issue until next legislative session.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    certainly not, but it's a dead issue until next legislative session.
    Can you afford to wait until the next legislative session to gear up and do you not have primaries and general elections between now and then?

    Some of the most important work is accomplished during the off-season, building stronger alliances with friends, expanding your base and working to defeat/replace those in opposition to your goals. I find that my representatives have more time to talk when they are not in session than when they are.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Already working on January legislation~ It should be a productive session as the Governor and the driving forces in the House and Senate are behind the initiatives.
    Paul J. Mattson
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    Quote Originally Posted by boyscout399 View Post
    You have hit the nail on the head with regard to the conundrum that is Maine State Law. It's virtually impossible to discretely rack the slide to load the chamber. Your options are to rack the slide in full view of the public and risk the brandishing charge, or to carry without one in the chamber and risk not being able to rack the slide properly under stress of a deadly force encounter, or to rack the slide discretely moments before exiting the car and risk the "loaded in a vehicle" violation. Option 1 is a felony, Option 2 is you dead, Option 3 is a misdemeanor. Which would you choose?
    Maybe a video should be made showing the steps one must follow to stay legal under Maine Law. Living in a free State
    here in Alaska I put my loaded handgun on in the morning and take it off at night. No hassle. I vacation in Maine October to April.
    It would be a hassle to load when you get out of a vehicle, unload when you get back in. It's also a safety issue. If it were publicized
    enough the legislators may wake up.
    Life is tough, its tougher when your stupid.

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