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 opencarry.com:
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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