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Thread: OC Incident at Scottish Festival

  1. #1
    Regular Member hgreen's Avatar
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    OC Incident at Scottish Festival

    Here's a letter I've sent off to the event directors and property owners of the http://www.vascottishgames.org/Index.html.
    Will post responses when I receive them. I am really hoping to avoid legal confrontations, just want them to clearly post their policies so this won't happen to anyone else.

    to info@vascottishgames.org,
    rb@greatmeadow.org,
    ks@greatmeadow.org
    cc sheriff.fox@fauquiercounty.gov,
    paul.mercer@fauquiercounty.gov,
    james.fisher@fauquiercounty.gov
    subject VSGA President - Policy Clarification & Negative Experience Due to Hired Security






    To Whom It May Concern,

    I am writing because of a very negative experience that my wife and I endured while attending the festival this weekend where I was assaulted and illegally searched by one of your hired security officers (in the uniform of a Sheriff Deputy, therefore acting under the color of authority).

    First some background, in Virginia it is 100% legal for law-abiding adults to carry firearms for self-defense purposes, either openly (where the firearm is visible, such as a belt holster - http://virginiaopencarry.org) or concealed (with a valid permit), as a right protected under the US Constitution. It is common practice for those who carry firearms for self-defense to also carry recording to devices to serve as evidence in the event they have to use their firearms to defend themselves. Therefore, I have this entire interaction recorded should it be necessary to provide further evidence of this event beyond the testimony of my wife and myself.

    Prior to arriving at the festival I spent considerable time searching the ticket stub we had purchased and the websites of both the Virginia Scottish Games Festival and the Great Meadow Foundation to see if there was any policy prohibiting the lawful carrying of firearms for self-defense. Finding no such policy I decided to attend and carry firearms for self-defense as I always do in Virginia. After parking we checked in at the entrance, again seeing no signs prohibiting firearms.
    After a few minutes walking through the exhibits I was stopped by two deputies (apparently hired as private security for the event) and was told that my "weapon" could not be displayed, even though I was carrying it in a 100% legal manner (called open carry), just like they carried their firearms.

    I asked what the problem was because I was in no violation of any law and had seen no postings prohibiting firearms. The deputies only stated that I must secure my "weapon" in my vehicle because it could not be displayed. I further asked if there was a policy stating firearms were prohibited, they would not answer and repeated that my "weapon" could not be displayed here.

    Not wanting to cause any problems I complied with their request to secure my firearm in my vehicle. I felt some rain drops starting to fall again as I was securing my firearm so I put on my raincoat and returned to the festival.

    Within a few minutes of walking through the classic car display another deputy approached me and demanded I allow him to search me for "weapons". I asked what his reasonable articulable suspicion was for wanting to search me and he refused to state anything other than claiming that he had one. He gave me no option to leave the premise or opportunity to state that I did not consent to the search; he immediately reached into my rain coat and assaulted me by performing an illegal search of my person and property without my consent. Finding nothing illegal (I am a law-abiding citizen) he left before I had a chance to ask for his identification. Since he had just demonstrated that he has no regard for individual civil rights and respect for his fellow citizen I feared that chasing after him to get his identification would be seen to him as a threat and put myself and wife in more serious danger.

    As I'm sure you can imagine these events had a very negative impact on my wife and I, and feeling no longer welcome or safe at the festival, we decided to go home.

    It is my hope that you will provide clarification of your policies regarding firearms (if they exist), reimbursement for my ticket purchase and an apology with how you will ensure this never happens to anyone else at the festival and this venue.

    Sincerely,
    Harley Green
    I really thought I had left this type of interaction behind when I left California!
    Last edited by hgreen; 09-06-2011 at 02:37 PM. Reason: CC'd to additional folks.

  2. #2
    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgreen View Post
    Here's a letter I've sent off to the event directors and property owners of the http://www.vascottishgames.org/Index.html.
    Will post responses when I receive them. I am really hoping to avoid legal confrontations, just want them to clearly post their policies so this won't happen to anyone else.



    I really thought I had left this type of interaction behind when I left California!
    If they were in Deputy Sheriff uniform you also need to address this this with the Sheriff's Department.

  3. #3
    Regular Member hgreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_shadow View Post
    If they were in Deputy Sheriff uniform you also need to address this this with the Sheriff's Department.
    Thanks, just forwarded it to them and updated the post.

  4. #4
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Is Great Meadow private or public land?
    Did you have a recorder?
    Did you refuse to be searched?
    Did you get their names?
    Did they use radios?

  5. #5
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    We addressed this last year http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...t=great+meadow and generally seemed to find that there was no prohibition. You might want to contact Tess to see if she encountered any problems last year.

    I'll echo the suggestion that you submit a formal complaint to the Sheriff as well as the event management. You might also submit a FOIA request for all communications (written, electronic, and telephone calls) between the event management and the Sheriff's Department regarding security planning and instructions at the event. If they do not post they are not violating any law I am aware of, but they certainly are acting foolishly and irresponsibly. If they did in fact instruct their security service that firearms were not to be allowed then they may have had a responsibility to post as well, but I'll defer to the gurus of real property rights on that.

    As a final comment, please remember that Virginia has a generally excellent response to OC, but that private property owners are free to establish whatever rules they want to. As much as we may disalke the rules they establish, we remember that we are supposed to respect both their rules and their right to make them.

    stay safe.
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  6. #6
    Regular Member hgreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Is Great Meadow private or public land? Private
    Did you have a recorder? Yes, as stated in the post
    Did you refuse to be searched? No, was searched before I had a chance to say anything other than acknowledge I heard what he had said.
    Did you get their names? No, as stated in the post, he left immediately and under the stress I did not ask up front.
    Did they use radios? I did not see any communication between them.
    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    I'll echo the suggestion that you submit a formal complaint to the Sheriff as well as the event management. You might also submit a FOIA request for all communications (written, electronic, and telephone calls) between the event management and the Sheriff's Department regarding security planning and instructions at the event.
    This letter was supposed to be a formal complaint to them. I may do the FOIA next if I don't get any positive response from my kind initial letter. Was hoping it could be a simple, we're sorry, here's your money back and we'll post signs next time and not be so pushy about searching....

    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    If they do not post they are not violating any law I am aware of, but they certainly are acting foolishly and irresponsibly. If they did in fact instruct their security service that firearms were not to be allowed then they may have had a responsibility to post as well, but I'll defer to the gurus of real property rights on that.

    As a final comment, please remember that Virginia has a generally excellent response to OC, but that private property owners are free to establish whatever rules they want to. As much as we may disalke the rules they establish, we remember that we are supposed to respect both their rules and their right to make them.
    I'm not disputing their right to regulate firearms and have any rules they want, just expressing how no one could have known they had these rules, and even when I complied with the rules I was still assaulted and searched against my will with no option to leave the private property. The goal here is to encourage them to make their policy (if it exists) known so other people don't have such a negative experience for doing nothing wrong...

  7. #7
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Sorry for the short questions.
    We're having a storm which means my internet is on and off. Mostly off The price of off grid.

    There isn't any right or wrong way to handle these situations but the more information you have, he more hell you can raise.

    You're doing fine so far!

  8. #8
    Campaign Veteran Dutch Uncle's Avatar
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    Having all this recorded is a real plus for you, I suspect. Just the same, it might have been better to have withheld that fact from the deputy, just to see if he would resort to lying or seriously back-peddaling in an attempt to rewrite history.

    In any event, the outcome will be interesting.

  9. #9
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Those more knowledgeable than I may want to correct this but I think what you stated here,

    "He gave me no option to leave the premise or opportunity to state that I did not consent to the search; he immediately reached into my rain coat and assaulted me by performing an illegal search of my person and property without my consent."

    may be an assault and battery case. Since it appears that they detained you by force, I would think that would be an illegal act on their part. Also do I see something that looks like, as far as your letter suggests, impersonating an officer?

    As has been pointed out, private property rights trump the right of a citizen to carry onto that property... even police for that matter I believe. But I'm pretty sure that if the "invitee" has not committed a criminal act, such as theft while on said property, then the owner or his agent(s) cannot physically detain the invitee (no RAS, no detain). Again, I am not an attorney so I welcome the comments of others on this.

    Very interesting. I wonder what they might have tried to do had you had pulled his hand free of your rain coat pocket then the both of had left... or had attempted to leave. I wonder if they would have really turned physical.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 09-06-2011 at 06:40 PM.
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    Regular Member DontTreadOnMeVa's Avatar
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    Great Meadow itself is not the problem. I corresponded with the president of great meadows and this is one of the emails I got from him. They follow state law as far as their own policies.


    -------------------------

    We are landlord to many events and The Scottish Games is one. They represent their own policies, procedures and security. Since the incident happened during their event, you should refer to them regarding this specific incident. Great Meadow policy is to support the laws in place for our jurisdiction.

    Robert L. Banner, Jr.
    President, Great Meadow Foundation
    (540) 729-1335 cell
    robertbanner2@gmail.com

  11. #11
    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    They were afraid someone might get kilt!

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    Regular Member hgreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontTreadOnMeVa View Post
    Great Meadow itself is not the problem. I corresponded with the president of great meadows and this is one of the emails I got from him. They follow state law as far as their own policies.


    -------------------------

    We are landlord to many events and The Scottish Games is one. They represent their own policies, procedures and security. Since the incident happened during their event, you should refer to them regarding this specific incident. Great Meadow policy is to support the laws in place for our jurisdiction.

    Robert L. Banner, Jr.
    President, Great Meadow Foundation
    (540) 729-1335 cell
    robertbanner2@gmail.com
    Is that a recent response?

    I've received ZERO responses from anyone to which I sent the letter. I guess its time for plan B.... I'll let you know how that goes.

  13. #13
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoom6zoom View Post
    They were afraid someone might get kilt!
    Now that was funny!

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    I've been in contact with the OP regarding this incident. He and his wife (a witness) are deciding whether or not they want to proceed with a civil case against the deputies and the event organizer. Obviously, a significant factor is being able to finance such an endeavor. I wonder whether we could generate the same kind of support for these folks as we did for Skidmark? I think the case is something that affects all of us, and their dedication to protecting our interest in being "secure in our persons and effects" is a primary motivation for their willingness to invest their time, effort and money into filing a civil suit.

    What do you think?
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    I would be willing to support such a case, especially if you are the attorney.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    I would be willing to support such a case, especially if you are the attorney.
    +1

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    I could pitch in.

    If it's possible do you have any estimate to the associated cost of such legal action?

  18. #18
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_shadow View Post
    +1
    + another one

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    Regular Member DontTreadOnMeVa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hgreen View Post
    Is that a recent response?

    I've received ZERO responses from anyone to which I sent the letter. I guess its time for plan B.... I'll let you know how that goes.

    9/06/11

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    I'd be furious if this happened to me.

    I can pitch in for legal defense, not much, but I'll throw in what money I can.

  21. #21
    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    I've been in contact with the OP regarding this incident. He and his wife (a witness) are deciding whether or not they want to proceed with a civil case against the deputies and the event organizer. Obviously, a significant factor is being able to finance such an endeavor. I wonder whether we could generate the same kind of support for these folks as we did for Skidmark? I think the case is something that affects all of us, and their dedication to protecting our interest in being "secure in our persons and effects" is a primary motivation for their willingness to invest their time, effort and money into filing a civil suit.

    What do you think?
    We shall talk more on this I think.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmelvin View Post
    I could pitch in.

    If it's possible do you have any estimate to the associated cost of such legal action?
    It's not really possible. I generally charge a fixed-fee for criminal defense, but this is civil and a plaintiff's case. It's safe to say that it's going to be at least six or eight thousand if the other side shows up and puts on any kind of defense at all, but could go to over twenty. It mainly depends on how hard the defendants want to fight about it. You've seen how I do defense; I make people work really hard to prove their case - the plaintiff has to win, the defendant has only to "not lose". There are people, especially those working for insurance companies, who have a similar, or if anything more aggressive approach. In addition, there are costs associated with a civil action that you don't have in criminal cases, such as discovery and depositions. Court reporter's fees alone can eat you alive. So part of the problem is that you really can't tell, going in on the case, what's going to happen or what it'll cost.

    HGreen and his wife are both young professional people and not indigent. They have expressed a willingness to undertake this litigation, not just to be compensated for the harm done, but to help all of us live in a safer, more secure world by teaching those who would be petty tyrants to mind their manners. They're going to be on the hook for whatever it costs, and they are willing to pay for protecting the principle they believe in. I think they're admirable people and deserve all the help they can get. They're not indigent, and probably better off than a lot of folks. But I'm hoping to be able to accomplish what they want without making them indigent.

    Besides, they came here from California in order to get away from this kind of thing. They were hoping that they were emigrating to the birthplace of American civilization. And, if I can add my view on it, in MY Virginia, things like this don't happen, because civilized people do not allow their public servants to behave this way. I see this as a deviation that requires correction. Petty tyrants who want to be able to exercise their feelings of self-importance at the expense of the citizenry should go to Newark or Chicago, but get out of Virginia.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

  23. #23
    Regular Member fjpro2a's Avatar
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    Legal Defense

    I, too, would be willing to give what I can. We must fight situations like this whenever possible. My contribution may be small, but a lot of small contributions add up. Keep us informed, hgreen.

  24. #24
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Well said Dan!

  25. #25
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    Thanks for the reply user it was certainly informative. The purpose of my question was partially to determine whether the case could go forward with or without donation and to get some perspective on the possible overall costs (were we talking $500 or $5,000,000?). Personally I'm happy to donate either way because the cause of liberty and the reduction of petty tyrants is in the best interest of me and the remainder of this representative republic. However, had the cost been estimated closer to the $5,000,000 side we all would gain an understanding that we'd have to work extra hard to raise the funds necessary to support the endeavor.

    By the way, welcome to Virginia hgreen and family! I too am a transplant, but have roots back to the western counties and those now called by a different name going back a fair piece. Regardless of our time here I'm sure you see that brothers and sisters in liberty can be found anywhere.
    Last edited by jmelvin; 09-22-2011 at 09:16 AM.

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