Saturday, January 11, 2014

MI:Video Released in Grand Rapids Open Carry Lawsuit

In a previous article, the issue of whether Grand Rapids police were harassing a person openly carrying a holstered handgun, or if the police were justified in their actions, was discussed.   Much depended on what was shown in the dashcam video, which at least one city supporter questioned the existence of.  From the article comments:

The city supporter wrote:
"Umm, no one is taking Tim's comments as to a secret video that only he has seen seriously."
From my reading of the comments, Tim Beahan, who used his real name, never said the video was secret or that he was the only one who had seen it.

From the December 24th mlive article, the city describes the situation thus:
“There was a man with a gun, observed immediately outside a church which was then in worship services. The man was talking loudly to himself and acting oddly.
Readers can watch the video now and see if the above description is supported by it.

Here is a brief synopsis from my viewing:

The officer has slowed down.  He is on the side of the street where the church is (seen later).   Johann Deffert is on the opposite side of the street a significant distance ahead, far enough so that he is difficult to make out in the video.  The patrol car gets a bit closer, and you clearly see him on the side walk on the left side.   He stops and stands facing the street.   As Officer Moe exits the car, he turns to look at the Officer.  The officer exits the car, draws his weapon and aims at Mr. Deffert (not seen in the video, but apparent from the following images), who, (estimated from car lengths) is about 75 feet away.  He orders Mr. Deffert on the ground, who immediately complies.

The officer advances on Mr. Deffert, muzzle seeming to cross a car that goes down the street between Officer Moe and Mr. Deffert.    When asked why he is stopped, Officer Moe says that it is because he is carrying a firearm, then later says he has to check to see if he is a felon or not.   Later, Officer Moe says that Mr. Deffert was talking to himself.   Mr. Deffert confirms that he was talking to himself, and that he was on the opposite side of the street from the church when he passed it.  Then a considerable conversation ensues where Mr. Deffert attempts to educate Officer Moe, and Officer Moe insinuates that there is no legitimate reason for Mr. Deffert to be carrying a gun.  During this time, Mr. Deffert is prone and handcuffed, with snow on either side of the sidewalk.  During this period at least one other officer shows up.

The video does not show that Mr. Deffert was loudly talking to himself immediately outside a church.  My estimate is that the church was perhaps 150 feet away, as it was on the opposite side of the road, set back some distance.   I could not hear Deffert talking to himself, but the video has been edited and it appears that the officer had seen Mr. Deffert earlier in part of the video that is edited out.

I had a retired State Patrol officer watch the video with me.  When he saw the officers responses, he simply said:  "The city is going to pay for this one."

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

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