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Thread: Arrested at Salem Fair

  1. #1
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    Arrested at Salem Fair

    While attending the Salem Fair with my family, I was arrested by three members of the Salem Police Department. I recently sent a complaint to Jeff Dudley, Chief of Police. That missive appears below.




    Chief Dudley:

    I am writing to draw your attention to acts of misconduct recently committed by several of your officers. I have been unable to locate any guidelines for filing a formal complaint with your department. Please consider this letter to be such a complaint, and direct it to the appropriate parties.

    On July 9, 2011, I accompanied my wife and daughters to the Salem Fair, held on the grounds of the Salem Civic Center. I was lawfully in possession of an openly-displayed handgun, which was properly secured in a holster.

    Shortly after I arrived, I was confronted by Officers M.C. McAuley and D.M. Crouse. Officer McAuley claimed that citizens of Virginia are generally required to carry an identification document, and demanded that I produce one. When I disputed his claim, he stated that because the Salem Civic Center is owned by the City of Salem, it is private property, and that he is therefore authorized to eject any person at any time for no reason whatsoever. Officer McAuley then said that I would be banned from the Salem Fair and arrested for trespassing unless I produced an identification document.

    When I continued to dispute the validity of the officers' demands, they summoned a supervisor, Lieutenant M.H. Brightwell, whose ignorance managed to surpass that of his subordinates. He was immediately belligerent and hostile, refusing to consider the possibility that the officers had exceeded their lawful authority, and later unnecessarily escalated the situation by ordering his officers to be prepared to use deadly force against me.

    Lieutenant Brightwell claimed that under Virginia law, citizens carrying firearms are also required to carry an identification document in order to prove that they are not convicted felons who are carrying illegally. Lieutenant Brightwell threatened to arrest me for interfering with a police officer and/or creating a disturbance if I could not supply an identification document. He subsequently ordered my arrest. Over my express objections, the officers seized my handgun and confined me in a holding area for a considerable period of time. I was eventually released, my property returned to me, and allowed to rejoin my family on the fairgrounds.

    I should not have to explain to you that your officers' application of the law is a travesty. In particular, Officer McAuley's gross ignorance of the concept of public property is completely inexcusable, and Lieutenant Brightwell's claim that I am required to prove myself innocent of a crime is completely outrageous. In addition, the report filed after the fact by Officer McAuley is deliberately misleading, with many material misstatements and omissions. I have attached a copy of this report for your convenience.

    At best, the officers' actions reflect a grievous misunderstanding of the laws they are sworn to enforce. At worst, they reveal a deliberate disregard for those laws so that they can act as a law unto themselves.

    According to your department's mission statement, the Salem Police Department is to protect the individual liberty of all people within the City of Salem. Your officers failed to fulfill this mission, and in fact actively violated my individual liberty. I ask that you reprimand these officers for their actions, and advise me of the corrective actions you will be taking.

    I look forward to your response.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Jay's Avatar
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    FOIA I would see if there are any written statements from the three upset citizens that contacted the police about you. I would also be concerned to see what the radio traffic was. Did you see a no weapons sign when you entered?? Not that it really matters if the fair and the grounds were Salem property. Good Luck let us know how it turns out.
    "Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again"

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    Regular Member ProShooter's Avatar
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    wow...I'm speechless.
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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Good, well-written letter! I hope you receive a swift and satisfactory response. Have you consulted an attorney about this incident?
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    This is becoming routine action in the Roanoke and Salem area it seems. Tosta Dojen have you retained legal counsel for this act? If not how can we help? I'm ready to pitch in if necessary.

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    Regular Member jimd_21's Avatar
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    Very impressed with you letter, can hardly wait for a response.
    Beware of the Beast Within..... Under God one Nation will be returned to its Foundation!

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    For the Children

    " ... in close proximity to MANY children ..."

    Well, there you go. Once again, cops using kids as an excuse. Plus, you were "nervous" a sibling to "furtive" -- seriously, how do you defeat or rebut THOSE accusations?

    Be sure and let VCDL know about this.

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    So when you asked if you where under arrest and he said no (according to ifficers report) what happened?

    Advice i recievd on here is to walk away and make them escalate by following you etc. But i dont know how that would work in practice. What did you do?

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Angry

    So they returned your firearm AND allowed you (with said firearm) to re-enter the fairgrounds?

    What kind of Mickey Mouse operation are they running out there in Salem?
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
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    I'm working on one such case, now. Gentleman and his wife accosted at Great Meadow, Fauquier Co., "Scottish Games" event. Thread at:http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...ttish-Festival

    This case is even more egregious, since the Civic Center is clearly public property (how can they even find a cop dumb enough to say, all in the same sentence, that it's owned by the city and is therefore private?). Va. Code section 15.2-915 clearly applies.

    Feel free to call me, 540 347 2430, to chat about it. (I don't charge money unless I actually start doing "work", and then I'll let you know before that happens.)
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    " ... in close proximity to MANY children ..."

    Well, there you go. Once again, cops using kids as an excuse. ....
    Say, did those cops have guns in close proximity to children? Sounds like a threat to national insecurity to me.
    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.

  12. #12
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Oh, dear sweet fluffy puppies! Please file your suit in state court instead of federal. Even though the amount of damages are more restricted there is not as much bias in favor of the cops.

    This looks like an absolute slam-dunk case. It ought to be a crime for attorneys to take as large a percentage as they commonly do for handling a case like this because almost all the work has already been done for them by the cops. But go ahead and hire an attorney and let him file the paperwork for you.

    I'm moving my philosophy away from generally starting off with complaints and discussions and more towards those activities are OK only when nothing has actually happened, and after something as egregious as this the only thing one can do to try and get the guilty parties to change their ways is make it as expensive as possible for them. Biuld a case history if for no other reason than to make it easier for the next person to be abused to show the courts the cops and their administration knew better but went ahead and ignored the laws and Constitution again.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

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    Regular Member snatale42's Avatar
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    Good luck man, reading this stuff scares the crap out of me. I moved to VA a couple years a go from MA and this crap is how it all started for us too.

  14. #14
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    If I'm not mistaken, this is the second time the OP was illegally detained because he appeared nervous.

    Tosta, please tell me you got a recording.
    Last edited by peter nap; 10-02-2011 at 11:53 AM.

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    The linked document makes the LEO sound almost reasonable. I would be nervous too if I thought I was about to be arrested.

    I hope you had witnesses to back up your allegation of falsifying that document.

    If they told you that you were under arrest, and I'm assuming you were not taken before a Magistrate or issued a Virginia Uniform Summons, I have a HUGE problem with that.

    Really hope there was a recording.

    you might want to have this post removed until you seek advice from an attorney. I hope this incident enriched your bank account.
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    are all their narratives in all caps?

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I seem to recall a recent opinion posted here where the judge said it was entirely reasonable to act a little nervous when a cop was strutting all their stuff in your face. I don't remember the thread or the case though.

    TFred

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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    The linked document makes the LEO sound almost reasonable. I would be nervous too if I thought I was about to be arrested.

    I hope you had witnesses to back up your allegation of falsifying that document.

    If they told you that you were under arrest, and I'm assuming you were not taken before a Magistrate or issued a Virginia Uniform Summons, I have a HUGE problem with that.

    Really hope there was a recording.

    you might want to have this post removed until you seek advice from an attorney. I hope this incident enriched your bank account.
    Why delete the post? All he stated was that he was arrested and he posted a copy of the letter he sent to the chief. It's not like he discussed or gave away any secrets to his strategy for his defense.

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    I know TD very well, although I have not seen him in person since the incident mentioned in the letter. He never goes anywhere open carrying without thoroughly knowing the legal situation beforehand, including all applicable rules and regulations. He is EXTREMELY good at dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's, doesn't leave things to chance, and knows the right things to say and what not to say, and what to do in order to be prepared. This was not his first, nor even his second rodeo. He is always prepared.

    The letter above is just a sample of the quality of work he does. Note the care and patience demonstrated, by noting the timing of the letter. The incident happened on July 9. Any attorney will tell you that what you don't say is as important as what you do say, as well as when you say it. Knowing him, I would be shocked to find that the letter showed his whole hand.

    I'm sure he's in good shape, legally speaking.

    But I'm also sure your encouragements are welcome.

  20. #20
    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t3a1s5 View Post
    I know TD very well, although I have not seen him in person since the incident mentioned in the letter. He never goes anywhere open carrying without thoroughly knowing the legal situation beforehand, including all applicable rules and regulations. He is EXTREMELY good at dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's, doesn't leave things to chance, and knows the right things to say and what not to say, and what to do in order to be prepared. This was not his first, nor even his second rodeo. He is always prepared.

    The letter above is just a sample of the quality of work he does. Note the care and patience demonstrated, by noting the timing of the letter. The incident happened on July 9. Any attorney will tell you that what you don't say is as important as what you do say, as well as when you say it. Knowing him, I would be shocked to find that the letter showed his whole hand.

    I'm sure he's in good shape, legally speaking.

    But I'm also sure your encouragements are welcome.
    No matter his i's dotted and his t's crossed there is inherent in the 'system' a need for a qualified attorney. In the minds of the judges and other gears of the system a 'person' without an attorney does not get listened to as well as someone inside the system. Hence, the qualified attorney.
    When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuc65 View Post
    No matter his i's dotted and his t's crossed there is inherent in the 'system' a need for a qualified attorney. In the minds of the judges and other gears of the system a 'person' without an attorney does not get listened to as well as someone inside the system. Hence, the qualified attorney.
    Unfortunately, that is often true. There is still plenty of time.

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    Say, did those cops have guns in close proximity to children? Sounds like a threat to national insecurity to me.
    Did you catch the language in the report: "PUTTING HIS HAND ON HIS GUN." (N.B., why do some cops feel the need to "SHOUT" in their reports?) Well, that a neat trick: relay the (unsubstantiated) allegation that he was "brandishing" without actually saying so in the report. Seems like plausible deniability.
    Last edited by Repeater; 10-04-2011 at 12:56 PM.

  23. #23
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Thompson v. Commonwealth, 04/28/2009

    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    I seem to recall a recent opinion posted here where the judge said it was entirely reasonable to act a little nervous when a cop was strutting all their stuff in your face. I don't remember the thread or the case though.

    TFred
    Not that recent, but clearly established:

    Thompson v. Commonwealth, 04/28/2009
    While waiting for the warrant check, Cofer asked appellant if he had any weapons or contraband. Appellant did not respond, and Cofer repeated the question. Appellant again was unresponsive and began acting nervously. Appellant's "hand started to tremble." Appellant was "shifting his body weight," and appeared to be "looking for different avenues of escape." The officer believed appellant's behavior far exceeded the "small degree of nervousness" typically observed during a routine police encounter.

    Cofer asked appellant a third time if he had any weapons. When appellant remained unresponsive, Cofer placed him on the wall near the front door of the store. Concerned that appellant had a concealed weapon, Cofer told appellant he was going to pat him down for weapons for the officer's safety. Cofer began the pat down.
    Sounding familiar?

    Appellant suggests that his nervousness, even with his refusal to answer Cofer's inquiry about weapons, without more, is insufficient to give the officer reason to believe he was armed and dangerous. Appellant further points out that prior to the pat down he exhibited no behavior that suggested he was armed and dangerous.
    No doubt we all would agree with the Appellant, but what does the court say? Here:
    Next, we consider appellant's conduct when the officer inquired whether appellant had any weapons. The officer described appellant as nervous, with his hands trembling. He appeared to be "looking for different avenues of escape."

    An officer's perception of a suspect's nervousness, without additional articulable facts reasonably suggesting the suspect is armed and presently dangerous, cannot justify a pat-down search. See Moore v. Commonwealth, 12 Va. App. 404, 406-07, 404 S.E.2d 77, 78 (1991) (holding that, where the pat-down search was based only on the officer's "subjective evaluation of the severity of [appellant's] nervousness," "the officer lacked sufficient justification to conduct the pat-down search"). "Nervousness . . . standing alone, is insufficient to justify a frisk for weapons, but 'nervous, evasive behavior is a pertinent factor' for consideration in assessing the totality of the circumstances." McCain, 275 Va. at 554, 659 S.E.2d at 517 (quoting Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 124 (2000)); see also Walker v. Commonwealth, 42 Va. App. 782, 792, 595 S.E.2d 30, 35 (2004) (holding appellant's strange behavior and "very nervous" appearance in area known for drug activity, and officer's concern when appellant refused to remove hand from his pocket, justified frisk); James, 22 Va. App. at 745-46, 473 S.E.2d at 92 (holding passenger's "jittery" behavior while officers arrested driver on felony warrant and passenger's unresponsiveness to requests to keep hands in view supported a frisk). In contrast to these examples, the record here does not show that appellant concealed or attempted to conceal his hands from Officer Cofer.
    When a Virginian is openly carrying a handgun or some other weapon, he is obviously armed, but unless he is also presently dangerous, there is no authority to frisk that person -- or disarm that person by "requesting" he surrender his handgun.

  24. #24
    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
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    I agree w/Repeater:

    Quote Originally Posted by Repeater View Post
    Not that recent, but clearly established:

    Thompson v. Commonwealth, 04/28/2009


    Sounding familiar?



    No doubt we all would agree with the Appellant, but what does the court say? Here:


    When a Virginian is openly carrying a handgun or some other weapon, he is obviously armed, but unless he is also presently dangerous, there is no authority to frisk that person -- or disarm that person by "requesting" he surrender his handgun.
    Take a look at Goodman v. Commonwealth, 07 VAp UNP 1971061 (2007); it's an unpublished opinion, so no good as "precedent", though useful as "persuasive authority" - good analysis, excellent cites.
    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.

  25. #25
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    Take a look at Goodman v. Commonwealth, 07 VAp UNP 1971061 (2007); it's an unpublished opinion, so no good as "precedent", though useful as "persuasive authority" - good analysis, excellent cites.
    I've read it. I do like the passage on page 6:
    Although the informant’s information provided Officer Ingram with reasonable suspicion to believe appellant possessed a firearm, nothing in the record provided reasonable suspicion for the belief that this possession was illegal. “Absent some disqualifying status (being a felon, juvenile, or drug possessor) or situs (being in a place where weapons are forbidden), it is not a crime to possess a weapon.” Jackson v. Commonwealth, 41 Va. App. 211, 231, 583 S.E.2d 780, 790 (2003) (en banc), rev’d on other grounds, 267 Va. 666, 594 S.E.2d 595 (2004). Further, nothing in the record indicated appellant was carrying the firearm in a legally proscribed manner, such as in a concealed fashion without a permit. See Code § 18.2-308. The Commonwealth also concedes that appellant’s attempts to sell the handgun were not illegal and, thus, that information about his sales efforts, standing alone, was insufficient to justify a Terry stop.
    Very nice.

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