Norfolk VA unlawfully arrests gun owners!!

Norfolk VA unlawfully arrests gun owners!!

This is a discussion on Norfolk VA unlawfully arrests gun owners!! within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; From VCDL... Norfolk illegally arrests VCDL member!... And a lawsuit is being prepared. Norfolk passed an ILLEGAL 'no guns' ordinance a few months ago (no, ...

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Thread: Norfolk VA unlawfully arrests gun owners!!

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Norfolk PD & City Council = ginormous morons

    From VCDL...

    Norfolk illegally arrests VCDL member!...And a lawsuit is being prepared.

    Norfolk passed an ILLEGAL 'no guns' ordinance a few months ago (no, I am NOT kidding) and ENFORCED that illegal ordinance against a VCDL member!

    Bad, bad, bad mistake.

    New firearms ordinances, other than those to control discharge or hunting, have been illegal in the Commonwealth since 1987! But Norfolk appears to have been passing a series of gun banning ordinances pertaining to various festivals that the City has put on over the years!

    Unbelievable. And Norfolk, of all places, KNOWS better than to do that. (VCDL has had TWO large turnouts at City Council meetings a few years ago to make sure that City Council was aware of Virginia's preemption laws.)

    But, Norfolk did it anyway and now it's time to pay the piper.

    Worse, within the last month, Norfolk police have also harassed two other gun owners who were lawfully carrying openly, one black and one white - each was accosted on TWO separate occasions! More on those incidents later in the alert.

    Here's the story of the false arrest under an illegal ordinance (if you take blood pressure medicine, now is the time to take it for this is going to be very unsettling). Sorry for the length, but it will read quickly:

    Chet Szymecki arrived at Sail Virginia 2007, a tall ship festival in Norfolk, with his family (wife, their three children, and two other children from other families [all 13 and under]) around 2:30 PM on Sunday, June 10th, 2007.

    As luck would have it, Dennis O'Connor and I were also at that same festival about the same time - but Chet didn't know that we were there and vice versa! Damn, I wish I had known what was about to transpire!

    Chet, who was open carrying on that beautiful day, crossed paths with dozens of officers, with many being cognizant of the fact that he was openly carrying.

    At 4:30 Chet and family had just ordered some waffle cakes and returned to a music area for an upcoming show. Chet was approached by a black female Norfolk Sheriff's officer and was asked if he was a police officer.

    Chet responded, "No."

    The officer then stated that Chet must leave the festival area immediately since he was not permitted to carry a firearm there. At the same time another Sheriff's deputy closed in, and one more hung back a few feet. The officer began communicating on her radio and Chet was expecting the situation to totally dissolve within minutes and he could then continue to enjoy the rest of the show with no further interruption.

    Within a few seconds two groups of officers from the Norfolk Police Department approached from two different directions.

    The primary group had 5-6 officers, and from the look on a Lieutenant's face Chet could tell that things were quickly becoming exponentially worse.

    The Lieutenant came within inches of Chet and in a very condescending tone of voice stated that Chet had two choices: leave the park or go to jail.

    While appearing to be as non-confrontational as possible (one hand holding his waffle cake and the other feeding his mouth) Chet began to reply that this must be a simple misunderstanding since he is permitted to carry.

    Chet was cut off and, as the Lieutenant leaned in to intimidate him, the Lieutenant raised his voice and just about shouted that Chet had only two choices: leave immediately or be arrested.

    Chet was still in shock and once again began to speak. Not waiting to hear what Chet had to say, the Lieutenant immediately told the other officers to arrest Chet!

    In the following seconds Chet had hands all over him. One officer was tugging at Chet's pistol, having much difficulty removing it. Chet was worried about an accidental discharge with his family being literally feet away.

    Other officers were pulling Chet's arms around his back and cuffing him. Chet offered no resistance.

    Chet's wife began to speak and she was immediately pushed back by a black female Sheriff's deputy!

    Chet's children were just about panicking watching their law-abiding father being stripped of his dignity while their mother was being forced back and being told that she may be arrested if she failed to comply.

    Chet's wife attempted to record the scene on her cellular phone and was told she would be arrested if she did not secure her phone immediately!!!

    The police then forcibly escorted Ms. Szymecki and her children off the property and left them standing on a street corner in Norfolk, all alone and without car keys (Chet had them and the police would not retrieve them). How very shameful.

    A totally unnecessary use of force by the police on someone who was not threatening anyone, leaving a wife and young children on a street corner, totally unprotected.

    Congratulations, Norfolk, those police-state tactics would have made Stalin smile warmly at you.

    While being whisked away, Chet stated that he was aware that he was being unlawfully disarmed and detained and he demanded to be released immediately.

    That didn't draw any response.

    After a few minutes when Chet and the police were in a clear area where an Explosive Ordinance Disposal van was parked, along with many other police vehicles, Chet was instructed to face a wall.

    Chet informed the officers that the handcuffs were agonizingly tight and repeated that he was not a threat to any of them and asked that the handcuffs be loosened.

    Two officers were behind Chet holding him - one officer replied while squeezing the cuffs tighter that "they were not meant to feel comfortable." Nothing like having a sadist on the police payroll. I knew a couple of officers like this who worked the jail in San Antonio.

    Chet was just sickened by the lack of professionalism and, as an ex-law enforcement officer and law abiding citizen, SO AM I!

    After a half hour or so, and asking a few more times to have his cuffs be loosened, Chet was placed in the rear of a squad car. At that time Chet's left hand was totally numb and his right shoulder was aching.

    Chet informed the officer in the police car that Chet was a veteran retired from active service and had sustained injuries in the line of duty - Chet's right arm being one of the injured areas.

    Chet informed him that his right Brachial Plexus nerve group was torn from his spine and he had limited use and mobility of his right arm.
    Chet stated again that he simply wanted the cuffs behind his back to be readjusted.

    The most the officer could offer was a suggestion on how to sit back in the squad car in a comfortable way. Needless to say - Chet, who had done nothing wrong, was very uncomfortable.

    Several times one officer approached Chet and stated that "in a town of 200,000 or more like ours you cannot carry around a gun like you can in other places."

    Chet told the officer that that law did not apply since: (1) the gun Chet was carrying was not classified as a "firearm" in that code section and (2) Chet had a concealed carry permit which rendered the entire section inapplicable to him.

    Chet was told he did not know what he was talking about and Chet had no business carrying a gun while in Norfolk.

    Speaking of being ignorant of Virginia gun laws, that officer needs remedial training. What a disgrace.

    While in the cruiser an officer approached Chet and once again Chet was offered a choice: sign a summons or go visit the magistrate.

    Being unfamiliar with the entire process and not understanding the gravity of the decision, Chet asked for additional clarification. The officer was polite and informed Chet that signing a summons was not an admission of guilt and he was simply promising to show up at a future court date. By not signing the summons Chet would go in front of a magistrate and this, along with the associated processing, would take many hours. Signing the summons would only take a few minutes and then Chet could be released.

    DOES EVERYONE NOW UNDERSTAND WHY VCDL FOUGHT A BILL EARLIER THIS YEAR THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED OFFICERS TO THROW SOMEONE IN JAIL FOR ANY CLASS 1 OR CLASS 2 MISDEAMEANOR AT WILL? Any doubts in your mind that these officers would have done so to further humiliate and intimidate Chet if they were given the option?

    Chet asked what would happen if the magistrate realized that this was all a simple mistake. The officer informed Chet that even if the magistrate released him, the police could issue a bench warrant and keep Chet in jail until his court date!!! Any doubt that these officers would have done so?

    It seemed that signing the summons was the proper choice and Chet signed it. I agree.

    Chet asked for his pistol to be returned and one of the officers stated that it was being held as evidence. Chet asked him for a receipt for his confiscated property. The officer stated that he had a pistol, one magazine, nine rounds of ammunition, and a holster.
    The officer said his verbal receipt was sufficient!

    Like hell!

    Chet was also forced to provide his Social Security Number - Chet asked if this were voluntary or mandatory - Chet was told it was mandatory. WRONG again, Norfolk Police! Chet was also forced to fingerprint his summons papers in four areas.

    Arriving home almost two hours later, Chet was forced to skip a previously planned dinner engagement with another family and seek treatment at a local medical facility. Chet said he has a high tolerance for pain and discomfort but his right arm/shoulder and the back of his neck was just killing him.

    Chet was examined by the doctor and prescribed medications. The doctor stated that since his arm has limited movement and the officers forced it into this unnatural position for over an hour, muscles and ligaments were probably strained.

    Chet contacted me that evening and related the above story. The next morning I was on the phone to Norfolk City Attorney, Bernard Pishko.

    Mr. Pishko proceeded to tell me that the public streets for the event were considered private property and thus guns could be banned. I told him that the "Festevents" organization that was running the festival was nothing but an arm of the City and could NOT ban guns.
    I also said that if the private property part were true, why had Chet not been arrested for trespass, but was instead charged under a City ordinance?

    Mr. Pishko said I wasn't a lawyer and didn't know what I was talking about. He suggested that he could drop the charges against Chet, but said that perhaps this issue should be settled in court. Mr. Pishko said he was comfortable that the City would win.

    Dream on, sir.

    However, Mr. Pishko said the charges would be dropped and he kept his word. The charges were "Nollo Prossed" at Chet's court hearing on June 22nd and Chet is now in the process of getting his record expunged.

    Chet was charged under City Code 42660 Section 3c (weapon/firearm in festival area).

    In order to gather information the City may have on this incident, VCDL has already sent Freedom of Information Act requests to the

    * Norfolk Sheriff, to find out which officer started this whole thing, along with any supporting information

    * Norfolk Police, to get a copy of ALL radio traffic and other documents relating to Chet's arrest.

    * Norfolk City Attorney, on the City's relationship with "Festevents"
    and to get a copy of the offending ordinance

    The dollar amount of the lawsuit has not as yet been set, but I hope it is enough to get the City's attention.


    Two other law-abiding gun owners, one black and one white, were each harassed TWICE by the Norfolk Police recently. Both were simply open carrying.

    The black gun owner, an articulate, polite, 23 year-old who has helped at VCDL tables at various gun shows in the Tidewater area, had guns drawn and pointed at him by the police on the first occasion.

    On the second occasion, he was handcuffed, even after complying with police demands to keep both hands on a nearby wall.

    Both times the gun owner was released at the scene. But not after being unnecessarily humiliated and manhandled.

    On the second occasion, the police officers told him that if they saw him open carrying again, they would handcuff him, run his gun for stolen, and then release him again!!!

    Forget looking for real criminals, just harass the good guys, Norfolk. Unbelievable.

    The white gun owner (Norfolk seems to be an equal opportunity
    harasser) was also detained and then released.


    VCDL has been sitting quietly on this until Chet's charges were dropped. But these events cannot go unchallenged.

    In addition to the lawsuit, VCDL will be attending a future Norfolk City Council meeting to denounce the oppressive harassment of Virginia's gun owners and demand an end to it.

    The City of Norfolk and their police agents have a pattern of abusing the law and law abiding gun owners. If you or I violate the law, we risk fines and/or jail time. Why should local government officials be immune from punishment for passing and enforcing an ordinance in violation of state law? How long will the General Assembly let these rogue officials get away with this abuse of the law?


    I will advise when we have picked a date.

    Tidewater - time to step up to the plate again.

  2. #2
    Member Array RiptheJacker's Avatar
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    Norfolk VA unlawfully arrests gun owners!!

    I'm reposting a post from that I feel deserves our attention, and would like to help the poster stir up some support. Anyone in the Virginia area, pay close attention because this particularly concerns you.

    The original poster is Phillip Van Cleave, President of the VCDL (Virginia Citizens Defense League), named pvancleave on

    < Merged, same content as Post #1>

    I strongly urge anyone in the Virginia area to help the VCDL, Chet, and other law-abiding gun owners out! This is outrageous.
    Last edited by Bumper; July 19th, 2007 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Merged, posted twice
    "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
    --Thomas Jefferson

  3. #3
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    Array Echo_Four's Avatar
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    Land of the mostly free
    People of VA should be proud that the VCDL takes such an active role in protecting the rights of VA's citizens.

    That said, this is disgusting. All three individuals should sue the city and name each elected member of the government as a co-defendant. The legislature should step in and clarify that the city cannot pass these laws, and the police officers in question should be charged with kidnapping/false arrest.
    "The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
    - Lt. Col. Oliver North

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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Good heavens. I have always had fond memories of Norfolk since I was stationed there while in the Navy in the late 1980's. I was young and really enjoyed myself while I lived there. I had also always held a thought in the back of my mind that perhaps someday I might like to move back there.

    Not now. If the Norfolk P.D. is run and staffed by these types of thugs who have no care for the citizens rights to self defense and our 2nd Amendment rights, then I want no part of it.

    I will be interested to see how this turns out. I am planning on taking my family to Norfolk for a Crew member association reunion for my first ship, USS Wisconsin BB-64. It is now a museum downtown at the Naughticus Maritime Museum. I want to be able to carry while we are there as does my wife.

    I hope Mr. Van Cleave sets the Norfolk P.D. right before I take my wife and kids there.
    ,=====o00o _
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Why does it matter that the female sheriffs deputy was black, or for that matter female?
    Repeatedly this is noted but not the race of the "lieutenenant" on the scene nor the ethnicities and genders of the other officers involved (?).

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  7. #6
    Member Array luteai's Avatar
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    +1 with janq. While what happened in Norfolk is worthy of protest and legal action, what in the Hell does race or gender have to do with it? Was the lieutenant gay? my godness do they all support Hilary too?
    "Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be Happy" Ben Franklin

  8. #7
    Member Array Harold Fastwaker's Avatar
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    How come this has not been posted on OCDO? (

    I am surprised because it involves open carry and everyones run in with police pops up there.

    Thankfully, with all the crap we VA residents have been receiving from the police for open carrying I have not had any.

    On another note for the non VA state people. VA Beach has told their LEOs to arrest people carrying firearms because they have now made it illegal to do so. I do not know why, but apparently many of our counties feel that a pre-empted law doesnt mean anything to them.

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    So, who's surprised when someone like John Ross writes a book about how to ... creatively ... deal with monsters like those police in Norfolk?

    This is the kind of "intolerable act" that led to the original American Revolution.

  10. #9
    Member Array kd5nrh's Avatar
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    Why does it matter that the female sheriffs deputy was black, or for that matter female?
    Becuase she was openly displaying two traits that helped distinguish her from the others, maybe?

    Repeatedly this is noted but not the race of the "lieutenenant" on the scene nor the ethnicities and genders of the other officers involved (?).
    Count the lieutenants in the story; note how each one is distinguished from the others.

  11. #10
    Member Array merlin45k's Avatar
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    I will be heading to Roanoke at the end of Sept and I am a non resident. Just wondering if this is going to be a problem because Va honors Mn's permit.merlin45kout

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Ghettokracker71's Avatar
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    Under a rock.
    Man I am so shaken by this,its not even funny. What would end up happening to me in a situation like that!? I'm not a member of the VCDL. Ugh.

    "To blame a gun for a mans decision is to foolishly attribute free will to an inanimate object"- Colion Noir.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    7,586 become a member!...

    The best $25 you'll ever spend.

    I guess these Norfolk fools didn't get the memo--break the law, involve VCDL, and feel the wrath of citizens (you know, the people you are supposed to serve?)

    I would be just as embarassed if one of my uniformed (military) bretheren did anything boneheaded and it ended up in the press--I know these bullys with badges do not represent the majority of law enforcement. They represent the socialist government of Norfolk--who believe the Commonwealth law of Virginia does not apply to them, that they are above the law.

    So I'm thinking: ROAD TRIP!!

  14. #13
    Member Array Norton's Avatar
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    Good job Philip.

    I don't even live in VA and I think I will join.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Why does it matter that the female sheriffs deputy was black, or for that matter female?
    Repeatedly this is noted but not the race of the "lieutenenant" on the scene nor the ethnicities and genders of the other officers involved (?).

    - Janq
    I can't answer this for the original poster, but when I read it, it conjured up an image of her being "attitudiny". I took it to mean, "And we all know what they're like! *wink wink*"

    That'd depend on personal experience and observation. Some have had it. Some haven't. But again, I am not presuming to speak for the poster, but only telling what I thought was being conveyed. I don't think it's right or wrong.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luteai View Post
    my godness do they all support Hilary too?

    Well, given that she's a big supporter of the Police State too, my guess is, "Yeah."

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