I was harassed by Captian Wilson of the Seattle Police Dept. on Saturday Jan. 28, 2012, while attending the Race and Socail Justice class.
See Video from King 5 news. http://www.king5.com/video?id=138270789&sec=548902
Half way thru you will see me sitting at table with back to camera in grey t-shirt and tan pants.
This meeting was held at the Garfield community center at 23rd and Cherry. It started at 9am to 3pm.
I arrived at 9am checked in. I had my rain jacket over my gun because it was rainning out and I was cold. As I was entering the building I noticed the rule sign that said among otherthings "no weapons". Their are three community centers that I know of that have signs up saying no firearm, guns or weapons. They are Miller, Queen Anne, and Garfield. I have been to Miller and talked to the staff there, and they said they kept the sign up to deter the kids but it was no problem for the adults. I attended a community meeting at Miller with city council members and a packed one with no problems about a year ago. I've also attended meeting at the Northgate community center with lots of city council members and public, no problems. The last one was with the mayor about traffic and bikes, I sat in the middle of the room, at the center table and was the spokesman for my table. No problems, afew people asked me questions after the meeting, but all positive.
So I was surprised when I was harassed by Cpt. Wilson. It went like this. I had been sitting at my table for about 45 minutes with my jacket on, I got hot and took it off. Mind you there were 3 SPD officers, 1 ex judge and 2 civilains sitting at my table. No one said anything when I took my jacket off. The officer, female , sitting on my gun side saw it, looked for a second and then went back to talking. The officers at the table behind me saw it and didn't react. No problems. Mind you there were about 18-20 officers in the room, in uniform with guns. No one freaked.
So another 45 minutes go by, we break for bathrooms and coffee, and thats when Cpt. Wilson calls me over to the back window to talk to me.
And it went like this. Cpt. Wilson," Hey this is school property..." pointing out the window. I interject, "Yes sir but this is a community center on Parks Dept. property. Cpt. Wilson, "Hey is there anyway you could but your gun in the car?" Me," So you want me to go put my gun in the car in this nieghborhood? Cpt. Wilson "could you put it in your backpack?" Me, "Lets see, it safe and secure on my hip, where I can controll it and protect it and you want me to put it in my backpack where if I focus my attention away from it for a second it might get stolen? Cpt. Wilson, "We had a lady that wanted to make a 15 minute speech and we didn't allow here so we can't allow you to carry in here. Me," But I'm not making a speech". Cpt. Wilson, "Look you were invited to this just like you were invited to the Citizens Academy and no guns were allowed there." Me, "Yes Captian, but the Citizen Academy was held at a police trainning building not a public community center and you made no mention in the invite that no guns were allowed. Look I don't want to get arrested or lose my conceal carry permit. I leave before that happens. Are you going to arrest me or kick me out? Cpt. Wilson, "No, but I'm going to give you some time to think about it and then we will see." Me,"I think we need to talk about this more because you seem to have a prejudice against me and open carry. Cpt. Wilson" Break is over, I have to go, but think about what I've said to you. Me, " Can't we work this out." He leaves to the front of the room. I go and sit back down at my table.
Cpt Wilson demenor was very intimidating and I was scared of what my happen next, so much so that my left hand was shaking. I thought about leaving. But then I relized this is just fear of what could happen. I seriously thought about leaving, but I cowboyed up and stayed the rest of the day. Cpt Wilson was watching me occasionly as well as some of the other officers.
I stayed the rest of the day, and there were no other problems. I spoke with a few people and other officers and no one seem to have a problem with my open carry. I was afraid to leave the room, thinking they wouldn't let me back in, but after some pizza and orange juice I had to pee really bad. So I put my jacket on left to use the bathroom. I ran into Cpt Wilson as I was going into the bathroom but I got back in the adatorium so that was great.
So what should I do about this, let it go, file complaint with OPA, any thoughts?
Last edited by jsanchez; 01-30-2012 at 10:18 PM.
"Ever notice once in a while you come across somebody you shouldn't have f***ed with......That's me." -Clint Eastwood "Gran Torino"
"Am I being detained?"
For some reason no matter how many time we repeat this, nobody listens.
I think the only thing you could complaint about would the the captain's misunderstanding about the law, and even that would be a stretch. We have to assume he is operating under the known-to-be-flawed Seattle Police Open Carry Training bulletin.
What!?! You expect police to respect civil rights at a community relations propoganda conference? Hahaha. /sarcasm
Just a couple questions about the meeting. Bear with me; I am going somewhere with this.
1. After showing you the training, did they explain the discipline that would be used against cops who violate?
2. Did they explain whether the cops were being trained to do nothing without being absolutely certain they had legal authority to act?
You see, I suspect you all were scammed.
The first reason I suspect that is because this is the US and race is such a hot-button political correctness point that no cop can possibly need training on the subject. Its a little like training people to be respectful of others. This is something that only a few people actually need training on. Most people just do it naturally. Those few who don't are really questionable, and have no business in policing. There is no reason whatsoever that cops, of all people, need training on race sensitivity. Not in this day and age.
The underlying problem is not a need for "training", or refreshers on law, or anything like that. This is painfully simple. In this here republic government only has the authority it is given, not whatever authority it makes up for itself as it goes along. For police, this translates into no non-consensual action without lawful authority. Meaning, unless the cop is certain he has legal authority, he has no business taking action until he finds out for sure he has authority. One of my all-time favorite quotes touches on this. From Terry vs Ohio, quoting Union Pacific Rail Co. vs Botsford:
No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.
Take a moment to look at each word and build the meaning word by word. No right. More sacred. Every individual. Free from all restraint. And, even all interference. Unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.
Cops don't need training to avoid violating rights. All they need to know is that they have no business acting unless and until they are certain they have lawful authority.
Now, back to Captain Wilson. Right in the middle of a community relations event, he attempts to intimidate someone for exercising an enumerated right that is not prohibited in that specific location. See what I mean by attendees being scammed? The training isn't really going to fix anything, because the real reason wasn't even addressed (or so I'm guessing). The real reason seems to be alive and well.
I think you did great very glad you stuck it out and stood up the the Sargent. Everyone will be quick to try and criticize what you should have done but its hard to remember the rights words to say when you are in front of a cop being harassed. Call it a learning experience you will do better each and every time
Last edited by fire suppressor; 01-31-2012 at 02:01 AM.
"Fight like you train, train like you fight"
Thanks for sharing, glad the officer didn't try to do more than bluster at you. I would however comment in hind sight that ending the conversation with the fellow would have been better. I am not from Seattle, but over here on the Kitsap Peninsula a visit to the Chief or Sherrif would be on my calender if I had that interaction with an officer. I have stood and chatted open carry with the Port Orchard Chief of Police at public events, they know the law and respect it.
Since this was one of those public meetings where the Seattle Police Department is trying to convince the public that they aren't as bad as the DOJ report says they are, and this occurred during on the meeting you attended, you should have asked to speak and then just relate your experience right there in that room.
FWIW, Police officers are expected to "intimidate". It's the only way they can "run the show" when they don't have the law on their side. If what you were doing was illegal he wouldn't have bothered to have the conversation. You'd be ejected and/or arrested.
"If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"
"If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"
Interesting that a department with a captain Ron who wears dreadlocks and is gay is having a problem with Race and Social Justice.
I agree with others that you chose to engage and you should have asked to speak and say 'I was just unduly harassed by -him- (point to the guy) and told he wanted me to think about exercising my 2A rights, under color of authority, of which he has none and he used his 'false authority' to try and intimidate me. THIS is why we have a problem. Police trying to make up laws and lie and use intimidation. Tell me, why in a room full of people packing firearms am I singled out?'
A firearm is a tool of convenience, not effectiveness - Clint Smith, Thunder Ranch
Can't imagine any circumstance where I would call a cop 'sir.'
"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
Should have seen how bent out of shape Bellingham PD got when I refused to use their pseudo military titles. That still makes me smile thinking about that, they are so silly.
Last edited by sudden valley gunner; 02-01-2012 at 09:47 AM.
I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.
U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
"Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)
I spit on monarchs and petty tyrants. And I never offer respect to a titled individual, until and unless he has shown himself to be worthy of such through actions. Frankly, even accepting a knighthood is a black mark on one's character, as far as I am concerned, until proven otherwise.
And, yes, it's also hilarious when cops insist they have "rank". They're civilians; they have pay grades. End of discussion.
Last edited by marshaul; 02-01-2012 at 09:57 AM.