Law Student Takes Cop To School After Being Illegally Stopped For Carrying Gun
Fourth Amendment rights in action
June 25, 2012
In a remarkable exchange that shows exactly why it pays to know your rights, a law student in Portland, Maine backed down a police officer who had stopped him for no reason other than he was carrying a gun.
After clearly stating that he did not consent to any searches or seizures, the student asked the officer what crime he had been suspected of committing.
The officer stated that he had received calls about a man carrying a gun.
“That is not illegal. Can I have my gun back and be on my way?” the student notes during the incident while filming it on his phone.
“In order to stop me you have to suspect me of a crime.” the man notes.
As Maine is a traditional open carry state, it is perfectly legal and acceptable to carry a firearm openly.
The officer, J McDonald, asks for ID, which the man declines to provide on the grounds that he has not been told he is suspected of any wrongdoing.
The student then notes that being detained without suspicion of any criminal activity violates Delaware v Prouse, and that stopping someone over a legally carried firearm violates US v DeBerry.
Seizure of the weapon with no reasonable suspicion is a violation of Terry v Ohio, and demanding ID without reasonable suspicion is a violation of Brown v Texas, the student also notes.
In a hilarious moment, a female police officer, off camera, asks the man what he has under his shirt, to which he replies “suspenders to keep my pants up”.
Eventually the officer concedes that the man is free to go and take his gun with him.
Although in this instance the stop was handled calmly by the officer, his assertion that it was “routine” highlights how the Fourth amenment to the Constitution is under constant attack every day.
Thankfully some Americans are still choosing to learn and defend their rights. [emphasis added by TWG2A]