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Thread: Birmingham City Courthouse on 7/20/2011

  1. #1
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    Birmingham City Courthouse on 7/20/2011

    These are the events that occurred on July 20th 2011 at the

    Birmingham Municipal Court
    David J. Vann Municipal Justice Center
    801 17th Street North
    Birmingham, AL 35203

    To Whom it may concern,
    A friend of mine, Kyle, and I arrived at the courthouse at about 1310 hours. We had a friend that was waiting for sentencing there at 1330. We were there to show support of Jonathon, a mutual friend, who had been arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct for openly carrying a firearm in Birmingham. As a show of support, both of us were wearing empty holsters. After being in the lobby for about 15-20 minutes, one of the officers, T. McCall, approached us and stated we couldn’t have those in the courthouse. She said we were trying to intimidate someone by having them. This is my regular attire that I wear everyday with the exception of my weapon, I explained. She replied “I run things here and you aren’t coming in my court with those on.” After thinking about it for a few minutes, we gave our empty holsters to some of the other people that had shown up to offer support. I believe there were a total of 8 of us who showed up that knew each other.
    Kyle and I then went back in, and after going through the screeners, entered the courtroom. I recall 4 of us that were sitting on the row next to the back. Court was to start at 1330 hours. At about 1340 the court doors opened and everyone that wasn’t a defendant was told they had to leave! This is a public courtroom and it’s my understanding that if I’m neither disturbing the peace nor causing some kind of alarm, there is no reason I can’t be there. I remember one gentlemen asking why he couldn’t stay with his daughter who was being sentenced that day. He received no answer. He suffered because “they” wanted us removed. That day the courtroom, and the property it sat on, suddenly became private.
    As we exited, our holsters were retrieved and we put them back on. About this time I was really feeling that I/we had been singled out and were being denied our rights as citizens of this great State. I had just been asked to leave a public Courthouse that I help pay for! While standing in the shade of the courthouse waiting to learn Jonathon’s sentence, we noticed more than seven police cars show up. A horse and 2 bicycles with LEO on them also appeared. There were 8 of us, with 3 visibly armed. When the “troops” felt they had enough to approach us, they did and we complied with every demand.
    We were threatened with arrest, told we were on private property, threatened again, then told to leave the private property we were own. Yes, she advised us that we were on “private property that was just like the post office property.”
    I can say, with some degree of authority, that I have never seen such unprofessional behavior out of police officers in my entire 27 year career with the Tuscaloosa Fire Department. The BPD officers, who were there, were very shallow in the law, disrespectful, belligerent, and threatened legally armed law abiding citizens with arrests they weren’t lawfully able to make. They made the situation, they created, worse with their posturing and almost god-like attitude. The whole thing could have been handled by one officer who knew the law. Instead the officers took it upon themselves to unnecessarily call in reinforcements, and take some of the protection they offer the citizens of Birmingham away. We weren’t displaying threatening behavior, waving signs nor doing anything to call attention to ourselves. I can assure you that every member of our group knew the law better than any officer there. We study the law and KNOW it.
    I had many of my rights violated today. I can say, without reservation, my 1st and 2nd amendment rights were trampled by the ignorance of the Birmingham Police officers who were there that day. I can only hope BPD will learn from this instead of thinking that we are going away. There needs to be some training going on and it needs to happen now. The last time something like this happened fire hoses and dogs were involved. Is this what the leaders of Birmingham want? I hope not. All we want is to be able to exercise our rights as provided by the constitution of Alabama and the constitution of the United States of America.
    The section below covers what happened to every member of our group. We were in effect, denied our rights under color of the law. I am sending this to every person listed below. Please note almost every word spoken at this event was recorded by audio and some video. We have learned through previous encounters that we need to do this to protect ourselves.
    I want to know what is going to be done about this and when. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Eddie Fulmer
    205-242-0950





    18 U.S.C. § 242 : US Code - Section 242: Deprivation of rights under color of law
    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation,
    or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory,
    Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any
    rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the
    Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different
    punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being
    an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed
    for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or
    imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury
    results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if
    such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a
    dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this
    title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death
    results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if
    such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated
    sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or
    an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned
    for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to
    death.

    Copies of this were sent to the following with a formal complaint to follow with the BPD.

    MAYOR'S OFFICE OF CITIZENS ASSISTANCE:
    Don Lupo, Co-Director
    City Hall - Second Floor
    710 North 20th Street
    Birmingham, Alabama 35203-2216


    Chief A.C. Roper
    1710 1st Ave North
    Birmingham, AL 35203

    Sgt. Johnny Williams PIO
    1710 1st Ave North
    Birmingham, AL 35203

    Honorable Mayor William A. Bell, Sr
    Birmingham City Hall
    710 20th Street North
    Birmingham, Alabama 35203-2216

    Sheriff Mike Hale
    2200 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd.
    Birmingham, AL 35203
    Brandon K. Falls DA Jefferson County
    801 Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North
    Birmingham, Alabama 35203

  2. #2
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Welcome to OCDO!!! Stick around and you will learn a lot!!! I don't know much about the laws in Alabama, but it sounds like you had quite an experience. I don't understand why they wouldn't let you have empty holsters in the courthouse. I would FOIA everything you can about the incident with the police. Let us know how they respond to your letter. Good luck.
    Last edited by thebigsd; 07-24-2011 at 07:19 PM.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Hey Eddie! Good to hear from you again.

    Kyle related to me yesterday the goings on in Birmingham. Disgraceful. There is something seriously wrong in the Birmingham PD. I hope that the video and audio of the incident are shared with the media. The bright white light of publicity is likely the only bleach that will clean the stains on BPD, the Birmingham prosecutor's office, and the municipal judge.

    I used to think that Birmingham's sorry record during the civil rights struggle was a result of ignorance and/or hate. We now know that it currently stems (and likely stemmed) from the corruption of power that forgets that the source of all governmental power is the people and that government exists to protect the rights of its people.

    What happened to you all was no less a crime than a mugging by a thug. You were unjustly robbed of what was yours. What makes matters worse was that those who robbed you did so thinking they could do it with impunity because they had the authority of law behind them. I hope you press "your color of law" complaint and that severe consequences result, severe enough to make the BPD officers think a little harder before they abuse their authority as they did on Wednesday.

    Thanks for all you do.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this Eddie (and a great letter to send, too).

    Birmingham PD has been against us for over a year, dating back to their refusal to support a littler pickup and meetings a Dreamland Barbecue with their threats of arrest under 13A-11-59. Then they arrested Jonathon under the only charge they could think of after they had disarmed him and put him in cuffs. Then there was the detainment and dispersal of OCers at a Starbucks, because a police officer was 'afraid' of three men and a woman drinking coffee. Their impressive skills in delaying Jonathon's trial and appeal for over a year after his initial arrest. Then most recently, their closing of an entire courthouse to the public just to oust Jonathon's supporters, and the way those supporters were treated inside and outside the 'private' courthouse.

    Despite our calls, despite our outreach, despite our willingness to comply and back down and "be the better man", BPD has shown the only thing they understand is force. It is past time we hold them accountable for the laws and oaths they break.

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    So how did the police know who Jon's supporters were? Was everyone wearing an empty holster in plain view?
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    You're not the first person to ask that (I guess I'm not giving that question enough thought) but the thing is, we didn't make it a secret. Just about every turn we were telling them that we were together and were there to support Jonathon. Maybe next time we should be more defensive (read: keep our mouths shut).

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    So yall were going out of your way to tell police you were there to support someone convicted of committing a crime during sentencing?
    Last edited by Daylen; 07-25-2011 at 11:16 AM.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Eddie Fulmer:

    First off..., You can Carry a Firearm into a Court House in Alabama under both Alabama Codes 1975 11-45-1.1 AND 11-80-11.

    Due to State-wide Preemption, Birmingham CANNOT Prohibit This Conduct.

    Secondly..., Court Houses throughout Alabama are Public Property.

    Thirdly..., Birmingham NEEDS to be Sued, Period.

    aadvark

    *** However, Firearms can be Ruled out of Court Rooms by Judicial Order, pursuant to Alabama Supreme Court Order. ***

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    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylen View Post
    So yall were going out of your way to tell police you were there to support someone convicted of committing a crime during sentencing?
    Yeah, we were there to support one of our members during sentencing, and we felt no need to be ashamed and try to hide the fact. Problem with that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brimstone Baritone View Post
    Yeah, we were there to support one of our members during sentencing, and we felt no need to be ashamed and try to hide the fact. Problem with that?
    I'm trying to figure out what happened.

    1. Posts were made indicating B'ham officers were being less than helpful to some people attending Jon's sentencing.
    2. There seemed to be an implication that it was ONLY those supporting Jon who were being treated as such.
    3. There was no mention of officers having psychic powers so I assume one of a few things must have happened: B'ham has pictures of people to harass from the internet or local happenings, everyone had on shirts indicating why they were there, everyone had an empty holster, everyone had a sign in a protest against BPD and then went into the court house.

    So now that you have confronted BPD and the courts again do you think it reduced the sentence or lengthened it? Did it cause BPD to change their tac where it comes to OC in a way you like or will they likely hold their course or be even harsher in the future? Did it help the appeals process? Did anything positive come out of this endeavor except to raise tensions for you guys and BPD?
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Newbie Deacon Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylen View Post
    1. Posts were made indicating B'ham officers were being less than helpful to some people attending Jon's sentencing.
    2. There seemed to be an implication that it was ONLY those supporting Jon who were being treated as such.
    3. There was no mention of officers having psychic powers so I assume one of a few things must have happened: B'ham has pictures of people to harass from the internet or local happenings, everyone had on shirts indicating why they were there, everyone had an empty holster, everyone had a sign in a protest against BPD and then went into the court house.
    There were eight of us, initially. The other groups of people standing around (there weren't many) were no more than two or three folks. We stood out simply by being the largest group of supporters (a fact we should be proud of).

    When the other members were ejected from the courtroom, none of them had holsters. The officers manning the illegal checkpoint made sure of that. One had an ALOC shirt, and at least one more had an ALOC badge clipped on. Some members re-armed after being told to wait outside. I did not, as my ultimate goal was to regain access to the courtroom (which I did, eventually).

    Our purpose was to support Jonathon, and that we did. We didn't set out to protest, or make a spectacle of ourselves. We didn't really want any police attention, but we sure got it. We didn't come close to breaking any laws; when pushed, we backed off and even followed illegal orders. We made it clear that we would not be the aggressors. I highly doubt that anything done that day would've affected Jonathon's sentence - not that I expect any shred of professionalism from that court.

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    Regular Member Brimstone Baritone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylen View Post
    So now that you have confronted BPD and the courts again

    I was going to apologize for being touchy, and for taking your question out of context. Then I read the quoted line above. You will get no more information out of me. Your attitude is neither helpful nor welcome, and I will not put up with it. You act as if we walked up to the first officer we saw and danced around waving our guns until we got a response, and I assure you that an encounter was neither sought nor welcomed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deacon Blues View Post
    I highly doubt that anything done that day would've affected Jonathon's sentence - not that I expect any shred of professionalism from that court.
    I would not expect much either that municipal court seem more interested in the municipal than the court. They are proof that there are some positions that need to have elected officials and not appointed ones; and one should always get a change of venue away from that city.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    The trial de novo will be the first time that Justice hears Jonathon's case.

    It's a shame one can't put in a pre-trial appeal in a municipal case. The only thing here that's been wasted is two years, and money.
    It takes a village to raise an idiot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirbinator View Post
    The trial de novo will be the first time that Justice hears Jonathon's case.

    It's a shame one can't put in a pre-trial appeal in a municipal case. The only thing here that's been wasted is two years, and money.
    Change of venue to a district court.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirbinator View Post
    The trial de novo will be the first time that Justice hears Jonathon's case.

    It's a shame one can't put in a pre-trial appeal in a municipal case. The only thing here that's been wasted is two years, and money.
    Which, I believe, was the intent of the prosecutor and the judge. Shame on them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Which, I believe, was the intent of the prosecutor and the judge. Shame on them.
    You may well be right. It's probably been too long now to pursue any action against the individuals; the whole point may have been to protect the officers and the judge regardless of the outcome of the case.

    Otherwise, how on earth does it take over a year to decide on sentencing for a Class C Misdemeanor??? I can imagine that judge in a grocery store: "Paper or plastic, ma'am?" "I'll get back to you on that."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deacon Blues View Post
    You may well be right. It's probably been too long now to pursue any action against the individuals; the whole point may have been to protect the officers and the judge regardless of the outcome of the case.

    Otherwise, how on earth does it take over a year to decide on sentencing for a Class C Misdemeanor??? I can imagine that judge in a grocery store: "Paper or plastic, ma'am?" "I'll get back to you on that."
    There seems to be a myth floating around that a suit had to be filed within a short time after the arrest. That may be true in State court. However, the suit should be brought in federal court.

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    In Alabama, notice of intent to file suit must be given within 6 months of the incident that caused damage, i.e. the arrest. Once notice of intent to file suit has been given, the clock stops ticking and you can actually file suit after the appeal & trial.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AirBear View Post
    In Alabama, notice of intent to file suit must be given within 6 months of the incident that caused damage, i.e. the arrest. Once notice of intent to file suit has been given, the clock stops ticking and you can actually file suit after the appeal & trial.
    Once again, assuming that Alabama law is being properly explained, it can only be controlling in State court. The State of Alabama cannot make law that sets procedure in federal court. If such a law would stop Jonathon from filing in State court, he should simply file a federal lawsuit, which would probably be the best way to go anyway, as this is a case of civil rights violation under color of law.

    I wish folks would stop bringing this up as though it completely stops him from filing suit until and unless they fully research it and determine that it does, in fact, stop Jonathon from suing at all in every court.

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    This may shed some light: http://www.heaviestcorner.org/?p=889
    It takes a village to raise an idiot.

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