Tuesday, October 28, 2014

VA Open Carrier SWATted

Author with Bike and Gun

Moms Demand Action (MDA) disarmenters have threatened to make false 911 calls to police,and encouraged others to do so.   In at least one case, perhaps more, an innocent man was killed by police as a direct response to false allegations in 911 calls.  Last week, in Virginia, an open carrier was falsely accused of robbing a 7-11, in a 911 call.   Fortunately, he was not harmed.

Here is his account, from Robert Dickens, as related to the Virginia Citizens Defense League, recounted at opencarry.org:  (PVC stands for  Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League)
On 10/15/14 at about 5:30 pm, I stopped at a 7-11 for some coffee in the skyline area of Fairfax.

Like every other day when I'm off work, I had hopped on my motorcycle for a short ride . Being an open carry proponent, I didn't think twice about putting on my every-day-carry pistol.

After leaving the 7-11, I went to the Verizon store for some quick shopping. Both stores are within five miles of my home. Chores done, I decided to go for a nice ride around the block.

What's that Fairfax County officer looking at me like that for? Damn he's going to pull me over! Yep… Lights, boop boop. Sigh.

Now I'm thinking that I've got my pistol on me and I’m asking myself how I would feel if I were an officer pulling over someone who was armed? [PVC: That is called “empathy,” something that normal, law-abiding people have, but violent criminals lack.]

Ok, turn the bike off, straddle the bike, interlock your hands on your head, and be calm. [PVC: Doing these steps calmly and slowly probably helped send a clear signal to the SIX responding officers in FOUR patrol cars that Robert was not a threat.]

As the officer gets out of his car, three other cars show up.

Wow, what did I do?

I let the first officer know that I have a firearm on my side. He says, "I know.” I did not move an inch!

To my surprise not one of the at least six police officers have a weapon pointed at me. [PVC: Hats off to FCPD for their professional handling of this situation! Robert’s life was not unnecessarily endangered during the stop by the police pointing their guns at him.]

The officer walks up behind me and asks if he can take the weapon from my holster. “Yes, sir,” I replied.

"Do you have any other weapons on you, sir?”

“Yes, sir, a knife in my pocket.”   

“Yes, sir. Why did you stop me?”

"I will get to that in a minute.” [PVC: Robert wisely decides to temporarily let the issue drop at this point.]

As I’m being frisked, I’m still not moving and am keeping my hands on my head.

"Sir, can I put my hands down now?,” I asked when the frisking was concluded.

“Yes, you can stand at ease.”

At this point I ask the officer what is going on.

“Well, we had a person call from 7-11 and they stated that a white guy on a motorcycle robbed the place.”

I laughed nervously and told the officer that I left a 7-11 30 minutes ago, but that I didn't rob the place! [PVC: This is where an attorney might advise the client to stop talking to the police for fear of saying something innocent that ends up getting misinterpreted. To do so properly, you must verbally indicate you are invoking the Fifth Amendment and stop talking. In this case it’s hard to argue with success, but one should be very, very cautious.]

I'm getting kind of angry now. I've heard of anti-gun people saying that they will call the police if they see an open carrier and make up some story to get the police to respond in a forceful manner.

Wow, I could have been killed!

Ten minutes later I'm on my way. With the police "checking the sanity of the caller.”

I put a call into the police station the following Monday and sent a email thanking FCPD for being very professional.

VCDL became involved and quickly put in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into Fairfax County.   They expeditiously received a recording of the 911 call, with the callers name and phone number blanked out.  Here is a link to the audio.

Link to audio of 911 call.   The audio file is 5:36 long and is well worth listening to.   It appears that the caller is of diminished mental capacity.  The 911 dispatcher tries to get details to substantiate what the caller is saying.   The dangerous part is that the caller does get most things correct.   He has a good description of Robert Dickens and his motorcycle.   He has the correct location of the 7-11.   It is just that the robbery that he describes never happened.

Just as clearly, the police seem to know this caller, and know that his calls are suspect.   The problem is, of course, that he gets most things right, so there might be something substantive to the call.   The fact that the officers did not draw their weapons on Robert shows that they were treading a middle road.

It also shows that MDA supporters that threaten and encourage false 911 calls are treading a very dangerous line.    John Crawford III is dead, arguably because of false statements made on a 911 call.    Another woman died in the panic induced by the call.   Eric Scott, a West Point Grad, was killed by police in an incident in Las Vegas that may have resulted from bad information on a 911 call.  Video tapes of the events of that shooting were never recovered.    Other incidents of SWATting have occurred involving open carriers.

This is a bit personal, as supporters of MDA wrote that they would call 911 on me when no crime was committed; urged others to make false 911 calls, and even threatened me with death if they saw me openly carrying. 

I will not allow this type of intimidation prevent me from exercising my rights.   make no mistake, that is the purpose of the MDA supporters.   They do not like people exercising their constitutional rights, so they resort to threats and bullying to stop them.   They are generally too cowardly to make the threats in person, so they use their favorite means of oppression, the police power of the state.

The way to make this ineffective is to make it known.   As more and more police become aware of these SWATting efforts, more and more false 911 calls will be prosecuted.

 Definition of a disarmenter

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


Anonymous said...

Glad Dickens was not shot/killed. Not only should these swatters be prosecuted for filing a false report, but should be also be prosecuted if their actions result in injury or death. It is no different than someone robbing a store and in the process someone gets killed. They are still charged with murder even if they did not directly cause their death.

Anonymous said...

Invitation to join my 2ndA Warriors. www.secondamendmentwarrior.com
Thank you

Anonymous said...

I have three observations regarding this article. First, I have no problem with open carry from either a public safety perspective or political perspective. In fact, it's sometimes good to tweak the PC Nazis. Second, filing a false police report is a crime and those who fall victim to the SWATters should file charges against them if the police fail to do so, as was apparently the case here. Third and last, my personal philosophy about open carry is that it isn't a good idea. The reason for carrying is self defense. If a perp knows that you are carrying, he will take you out in a "sneak attack" before he gets serious about getting on with his crime. I will not allow the bad guy to know I am armed until it is too late for him; when my first round hits him. I'm not looking for public recognition, positive or negative. Just want to protect myself and my family from the barbarians.