Saturday, November 07, 2015

Chief James Craig needs to Protect Detroit Open Carry

Another case has surfaced where Detroit police officers are charged with falsely arresting a legally armed black man for carrying a concealed weapon, when in fact, the citizen was legally openly carrying his firearm.   The charge is a five year felony in Michigan, so this is no laughing matter.

Having worked with a number of police agencies in the early 1970's and later, and having talked with people inside the police culture of the time in large urban areas, I can report that racism and discrimination against black people in the 70's was rampant.  A lot has changed in the last 40 years.  The idea that black people should not be allowed to have or carry guns is a bad old idea that has hung on, aided by the disarmist culture in large city governments.   New York Mayor Bloomberg summed it up in a speech in Boulder, Colorado, where he is reported to have stated the following on February 6th, 2015.   From
Bloomberg claimed that 95 percent of murders fall into a specific category: male, minority and between the ages of 15 and 25. Cities need to get guns out of this group's hands and keep them alive, he said.
Historically, it has been easy for Detroit Police to simply assume that any armed black man is a dangerous criminal, but this logic is both racist and opposite a free society.  In 2014, I began to be familiar with cases of the Detroit PD framing legally armed black men.  The most obvious case was that of Elijah Woody, who refused to plea bargain, when to a jury trial, and was found not guilty five minutes after the Jury saw the 13-second cell phone video he was able to capture before the police slapped the phone from his hands.

Jeromy Stanford, Woody's brother, had been arrested for the same charge only two months earlier while open carrying a pistol in plain view.   From
He was told by arresting officer “Juice” Holloway that, “You have to have a [CPL] (Michigan Concealed Pistol License)” to carry a firearm. This is completely false, of course, since carrying a firearm on foot, in public, in plain view is a constitutional right in the state of Michigan. Furthermore, Officer Holloway’s own written report of the arrest, amazingly, admits that Stanford’s weapon was in full view. After Stanford spent three days in jail, he was released without receiving his pistol back. A year and a half later, he still has a pending CCW charge; this means that, while he is a free man, he will not pass a background check for a new pistol. As well, he remains unemployed, since the background check indicates he is still being charged. Even though he calls Detroit Police regularly, they refuse to charge him with CCW or return his property.
Neither Woody or Stanford have any criminal record.  Officer Holloway was one of the three officers that arrested Elijah Woody. 

Anthony Murray is reported to have been arrested in September 2014 as well, under very similar conditions.

Now another black man is facing the same ordeal.  From

The latest CCW victim is “George Smith”, as he is publicly known at the moment. Only certain information is available at the time, except that Smith was on his own property while open carrying. This creates a double impossibly of CCW; Michigan law allows one to carry a concealed weapon on one’s own property. While other victims certainly exist and are created all the time, this example of complete gross incompetence by DPD to arrest any armed black man is absolutely unacceptable.
One of the primary reasons for high crime rates in black urban areas is a lack of trust in the police.  Police Chief Craig has helped foster that trust by championing the rights of Detroit residents to be armed for self defense.  That reputation is eroding with the continuing arrest of black open carry activists.

Over a dozen protest events have been carried out in Detroit, aimed at making Police Chief Craig live up to his word to support legally armed people of all colors.  The activists report that police have attempted to intimidate them at gunpoint.  From
The police in Detroit have often responded with intimidation at gunpoint, but upset protesters have not abated. If Chief Craig is supposedly the pro-freedom, pro-gun politician that he claims to be, why does he allow citizens of his city to be illegally hassled and maliciously prosecuted by his own subordinates? Call him and ask: (313) 596-2200. Public outcry is the only way to make Chief James Craig live up to his flimsy “pro-gun” reputation.

John Lott has noted that minorities in high crime areas benefit the most from having access to defensive firearms.  Chief Craig has made a good start by saying that he supports armed citizens.  He needs to crack down on officers who do not live up to his words.

If we are going to bring poor urban black neighborhoods into the mainstream of American life, we have to insure that their rights are protected, just as much as any other Americans.  When black men and women realize that they are protected under the Constitution, just as other citizens are, crime in these areas will drop, businesses will come back, and everyone will be better off.

 Definition of  disarmist

 ©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like a writ of Mandamus is required. An order to demand the police do what the law requires them to do, charge him or return his weapon immediately. Violation of that court order, a writ of mandamus, could result in an arrest of the police refusing to comply. If a court refuses to issue the writ then it becomes a civil rights issue and he can go directly to federal court. With a complaint demanding the judge that refused to issue the writ be removed from the bench for malfeasance and the police for theft of a fire arm, a felony and loss of employments as a police officer for ever. plus money for life endangerment for everyday he has not had his personal protection and his rights were denied. the cap on civil rights violations is 15 million dollars. Not too many complaints like that and the police just might find it cheaper to retrain their staff.

Dan Griffin said...

Good luck talking to Chief Craig. I tried to arrange an interview with him through his office a year ago and was unsuccessful. They didn't outright refuse, but they had difficulty working it in to our schedules.

Dan Griffin said...

Having worked with a number of police agencies in the early 1970's and later, and having talked with people inside the police culture of the time in large urban areas, I can report that racism and discrimination against black people in the 70's was rampant.

The same people who chose to be police then and swore an oath to uphold the constitution are the same people today who chose to be police and swore to uphold the constitution.

Dean Weingarten said...

You are, I suspect, saying that the same type of personalities chose to be police officers then and now. That may be correct, but it has little to do with racism.

In the 1970's police professionalism was just getting off the ground. Now, it is hard to become a police officer without some college, often 2 years minimum, and a full time academy of 3-6 months. Performing police duties without racism is beat into officers today so hard that black offenders are actually arrested and convicted at slightly lower levels than white offenders. Police are more reluctant to arrest black offenders than white offenders.

Notice that I say offenders, not a percentage of the total population.

A greater percentage of black people are in jail because there are more black criminals, not because of racism. As an aside, I know many police today, and racism against white males is rampant in police selection and promotion, according to the police that I talk to. As a result, there are many, many more black police officers and police management than there were in the 1970's.

There are still pockets of racism against black people, mostly in the large urban centers where the stereotypes are reinforced by the large numbers of black criminals, but now it is often black police officers that treat black suspects so much differently than white suspects. Is it racism when a black police officer does it?