Officers fear body cameras raise privacy concerns

“…some rank-and-file officers are worried the technology might ultimately be used to derail their careers if, for example, an errant comment about a superior is captured on tape.”

via Officers fear body cameras raise privacy concerns.

I find this funny as cops and cop administrators are usually the ones who would put a camera in your bedroom given the chance.  And they are most often quoted saying, “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide.” And yet these officers cannot see the hypocrisy of their position let alone understand that they have no legal leg on which to stand.

While you are on duty, you have NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY. You are a public servant and everything you do while doing that job is and should be subject to review.  If your agency wants to put a GPS tracker and camera in your agency owned vehicle or even on your person while you’re on duty, that’s the cost being a cop. Years ago, the same fears were raised and discussions had with the advent of dash cams.  The only guys who had anything to fear were the idiots violating department policy and the law. Again, if you’re not screwing up, you’ve got nothing to hide. Don’t like it? Turn in your badge and return to civilian life.

-GM

Cops do not react well to furtive or sudden movement in traffic stops…

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A police officer in South Carolina shot a 70-year-old motorist who was reaching for a cane during a traffic stop because he thought the man was grabbing a rifle from the bed of his pickup truck, investigators said. The man was expected to survive.

via SC officer shoots man reaching for cane – The Washington Post.

Folks, unless the cop tells you to get out of your vehicle, DO NOT GET OUT! Furthermore, DO NOT let him see you reaching for anything. He may or may not wait to see what you’re reaching for before deciding to light you up which is exactly what happened to the man the story above. The knee-jerk reaction is to fault the cop for shooting an old man reaching for his cane but, the reality is, everything the man did would and should set off red flags for any cop and he’s lucky to be alive.

-GM

And the new anti-gun push begins…

091613_otr_timeline_640Before all the facts are in and the details of what really happened are known, predictably, the spin machine is already running. News outlets were quick to seize on yet another opportunity to vilify guns, especially the AR-15 (whether one was actually used or not) and semi-automatic pistols. The anti-gun push has already begun.  Never mind the fact this happened in a city where gun ownership was nearly completely outlawed until 2008 and even since then has been largely impractical. So much so, Emily Miller developed an entire news column, blog, and book on the process of acquiring a firearm in the District. But the reality is, gun control failed here, miserably. It only served to create a target/victim rich environment that ultimately claimed the lives of twelve people and injured at least a dozen others.

mediaguidetofirearmsThis morning, it is clear that the media has no clue what happened. In the firearms community, we all know that few in the media know a shotgun from a rifle and fewer still know an M-16 from an AK-47.  let’s not get into the differences between an M-16 and Ar-15 but, that too is a well known point of confusion and ignorance.  Still, we’ve already seen reports that an AR-15 was involved as well as a Glock.  It’s hell to be black…typically any semi-automatic handgun that is black in color, is a Glock.  Actually, that’s racist and we know “journalists” aren’t racists. The reality is, if it’s a handgun or looks like a handgun…It’s a Glock to the average journalist. Of course, they were also quick to say the guns were legally acquired but, they’ve had to retract/bury that because later, the report was video indicating this all started with a shotgun and that all other firearms taken from dead/injured first-responders. The latest news is that an AR-15 may not have been involved at all. The reality is, we don’t know. None of us outside the actual investigation really knows what happened and it may be weeks or months before we have all the details.

The fact we don’t know will not stop the anti-gun crowd from throwing the first brick and predictably, those of us on the other side of the issue will have to bust open our own bag of rocks. But I submit that a renewed debate serves no purpose other than a political exercise for those interested in playing those games.  The harsh reality is, all it takes is a typical garbage bag to kill and disarm your average sentry or police officer if he’s not expecting it. From there, it would be easy enough to acquire new weapons at the scene.  A goal oriented person is going to do damage no matter what legislation we pass so it would seem then there is little to be accomplished by additional gun control measures unless we’re going to take to disarming everyone, especially, the government and its agents, solely for the purpose of eliminating their weapons as a potential hazard. After all, we certainly don’t want NYPD showing up to save the day…They’ve shot at least 15 innocent bystanders in the 12 months in efforts to subdue a grand total of 3 suspects. Given those odds, I’ll take my chances with the bad guys having guns.

And finally, in the days ahead, we’ll go from interviews with friends and family who are predictably “shocked” and “can’t believe he [the shooter] was capable of such violence…” to finding out the shooter had a wide range of mental health issues that may or may not have been treated but, were still somehow documented. Failing mental health is perhaps the single most common thread among all mass murders and has long been a major problem in this country. Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tuscon, Virginia Tech, the list goes on. Not to mention that fully half or more of all firearm related fatalities are suicides, another symptom of mental illness.  But like petulant children, liberals and the media outlets they control, will insist on vilifying the tool if ever there is a gun involved.

-Gary

Illegal Arrest? Or Dubious Understanding of the Law?…Open Carry

Over the last 36hrs, Open Carry Texas tweeted that three of their members were “illegally arrested” for openly carrying “pre-1899 black powder revolvers” at the Texas Capitol. News of the arrest has quickly gone “viral.” Infowars.com was also there to record it and has posted video on their website and YouTube channel.

 

There are several video segments on YouTube and other sites in which Open Carry Texas members and even a DPS trooper can be seen reading Chapter 46 (Weapons) of the Texas Penal Code. Specifically, they are reading the definition of a firearm. The text of that section reads as follows:

“Firearm” means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is:
(A) an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899; or
(B) a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim fire or center fire ammunition.

I hate to be the guy taking unpopular positions but, I honestly think the troopers on the scene made a reasonable call. My father (a retired, 32-year veteran cop), was well known in his department for saying that people often know just enough about their rights to go to jail. Experience has shown me the man knows what he’s talking about. I say that because as I read Chapter 46, the cap-and-ball revolvers may be replicas of pre-1899 firearms but, they are also handguns. Being that it is currently a Class A misdemeanor under Section 46.02 to carry a handgun openly in Texas, an arrest would seem reasonable to most police officers.

It should be noted that none of the people at the scene who were carrying long guns were arrested.  This would seem to indicate DPS troopers clearly recognized that openly carrying a long gun does not, in and of itself, constitute an offense under Texas law. Now having said this, the folks at Open Carry Texas can and should cite the definition of “Firearm” under Section 46.01 in their defense but, I am not a lawyer. There’s a good chance that because of what might be seen as the vaguarities of the law, charges may be dropped…Or not. Time will tell as this story is still in play.

-Gary

From the police “WTF are we supposed to do?” files…Open Carry rights versus reasonable police response.

http://lawenforcementtoday.com/2013/08/06/another-aurora-prevented-by-flint-michigan-police%E2%80%99s-adept-action/

“On Tuesday, July 30, 2013, police were called to the Trillium Theater in Grand Blanc Township (Michigan) on a report of a man wearing a bulletproof vest (BPV) and in possession of a gun was in the theatre. Cassidy Delavergne was found wearing a BPV and in possession of a gun as he sat among theatre goers. Delavergne was held for a mental examination after his arrest.

 

The police located Delavergne as he was watching a movie. Delavergne did not outwardly threaten any of the movie goers. The oddity of an armed individual wearing a BPV among a crowd of people required a quick and prudent police response to circumvent a potential. As the police approached Delavergne, he identified himself to be a federal agent and produced a fake CIA ID badge.

 

Delavergne was taken into custody without incident. He was in possession of a 9 mm semi-automatic firearm and 34 rounds of ammunition. This led to a search of Delavergne’s car, where an additional 111 rounds of ammunition was confiscated.

 

Of greatest concern is that Delavergne is licensed as a Michigan concealed carrier. His arrest is based solely on a federal offense of possessing fraudulent government identification. Charges were not filed against Delavergne for wearing a BPV when he was considered armed and dangerous. Once processed, Delavergne was released on a bond.”

Now, this can be viewed as either A) a tragedy prevented, or Nazi Thug Cops harassing a man who has committed no crime and is exercising his rights.

Well, what do you you folks think? Should cops have responded? Should they have left him alone until he acted out? No crime had been committed when they responded. So, should they have even responded at all? (Remember, the ONLY crime committed was providing false ID, which only occurred after the police response.)

This is the problem I have expressed on the air about folks who simply want to “prove their point” about gun rights. Every fool that walks around with his gun displayed for the SOLE PURPOSE of filming the inevitable police response is clouding the future police response to someone who may very well be an active shooter about to begin. I can only assume that the suspect in this story exposed his pistol for all to see, otherwise, how would they have know to call the police? Unless Michigan is open carry friendly, which I do not know off the top of my head…

In Texas, is it legal to own/wear body armor? In most instances, yes. Is it legal to carry your pistol? With a valid CHL, yes. Is it legal to carry your rifle around? In most cases, yes.

But know that the police will probably be called if someone sees a gun, and the police will respond, and the police will probably treat you as a potential threat because they can not read your mind. They only know there is a “man with a gun” call being dropped. If they say, “well, carrying a gun around IS perfectly legal” and slowly respond, and it turns out to be an active shooter, lives are lost. If they respond fast and treat you as a potential threat, the worst that usually happens is bruised egos and the gun owner sues the cops… You could either end up with another Aurora Theater tragedy or another Mark Worley / CJ Grisham type incident. I wish cops were perfect. I wish cops could predict who is harmless and who is harmful. But we can’t. Should cops be polite and professional when confronting armed folks? Depends on the situation.

I know everyone has rights. I am pro second amendment, pro CHL, pro standard capacity magazines, pro AR rifles, pro ordering ammo online, pro gun in general and pro self defense. I just ask folks to look at the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation you place the police into by walking around in some type of open carry. You have the right to do so, just be aware of what actions may result.

You tell us… Did the Michigan police handle this properly? Was a tragedy averted? Or, were this man’s rights violated?

-Jason