Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Iowa Deputy Violates Permit Holder's Rights (video)

On August 4th Plymouth County Sheriff's department Sgt. Rick Singer stopped a man legally openly carrying a holstered pistol while walking.  Sgt. Singer asked for the man's permit, which was presented.    Sergent Singer would not accept the legal permit.  He persistently demanded a "paper permit" which he said was the "legal permit".   He keeps saying that the permit is simply a "courtesy card"  He was wrong, but he illegally confiscated the open carriers permit.   The entire affair was recorded on video:

 Link to video

The Sergeant claims that the picture on the permit is not recognizable, but wants to see a "paper copy" that does not have a picture on it.

The permit holder filed a complaint with the Plymouth County Sheriff's office.  He says that he has been carrying openly for years.  From
I've been open carrying for years and never had this problem before. Where these cops got the idea that you need to produce a paper copy alongside your valid carry permit is beyond me.
The Iowa code lists form WP9(pdf) as a legal form for the Permit to Carry Weapons:
 9. Form WP9. Authorization for Wallet-Size Permit to Carry Weapons, to be generated by the issuing officer including the type of permit, and, at a minimum, the individual identifiers of name and date of birth.
I did not see a requirement for a photograph in the State code.

It appears that the permit holders Fourth Amendment rights were violated.  Sergeant Singer has qualified immunity, because he was ignorant of the law.   Fortunately his abuse was not extreme.  He did not arrest the permit holder, and while he argued with him, he did not shout or use obscenities.  Both parties were restrained and polite.  I suspect that Sergeant Singer is now educated about this part of the law. 

Three days later, the permit was returned to the permit holder.  No apology was given, and no charges were filed.  The permit holder suffered damages (he lost valuable time, he was wrongfully detained, and he had to visit the Sheriff's office several times).  I doubt that these damages are sufficient to make a lawsuit pay.  If I were an attorney, I would not take the case on contingency. 

Another poster noted that this was not the first time that an officer has claimed that a permit holder had to have a "paper copy" in Iowa.  The law was reformed in 2011, four years ago.

As officers become educated, these incidents will diminish. 

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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Anonymous said...

If as you say it is a valid 4th amendment violation a case like this needs to go forward, Just to draw attention to the issue if nothing else. this case could be worth thousands. the cap on civil rights violations is 15 million dollars. any recovery over a dollars would make it worth filing. Just to put the badge heavy cops in their place. They guy was not doing anything wrong this is a case of pure harassment by disarmist thugs. it makes no difference how nice the person is if they are violating your civil rights, they have violated the law. What if the person being detained had an actual emergency to attend to? He might have been shot if he had not allowed himself to be detained. Unless you are breaking the law the cop has no right to detain you. I think I would have to throw in there criminal intimidation theft of personal documents, violating the law under color of law. I would certainly demand a written letter of apology from the officer and demand it be posted in the local paper and an apology to the community for letting this cop on the street. It is traumatic for a law abiding citizen to be stopped for no legal reason. How many videos do we have to watch to understand the cops are out of control? I have seen my share of cops shooting at a car full of kids for a broken tail light or failure to use a turn signal. It is against the law in Arizona for a cop to stop you just to check for a permit. No permit required in Arizona.

Anonymous said...

Go into court and claim you did not know you were breaking the law and see how that helps you. Ignorance of the law has never been accepted as an excuse. There is no legal immunity for not knowing the law. it is an officers duty to know the law. He has the ability to call in and check the law.

Anonymous said...

The officer was attempting to intimidate because he kept telling the gun owner that he would discuss with the county attorney about arrest since he had not the mythical paper copy with him. The threat of future arrest can be concerning and would allow the officer the chance at an unfilmed arrest.

Anonymous said...

I think he was seriously trying to provoke an incident and had to remain calm to look good on camera. The carrier blew his attempt by remaining calm himself. Now he is stuck with what is on camera.