Wisconsin Carry, Inc fast-tracking Open Carrry lawsuit against Madison Police Dept
Posted from : http://www.usacarry.com/forums/open-...epartment.html
On Saturday September 18th, Wisconsin Carry received a call to our hotline about an incident in progress at a Culvers Restaurant in Madison, WI.
5 of our members who had met at previous WCI events and on the opencarry.org discussion forum planned to get together for dinner at Culvers Restaurant near East Towne in Madison, WI. They were, of course, open-carrying as they do every day.
Based on information gathered over the past several days here are the facts of the case:
Our members had finished dinner and were outside preparing to leave when 8 Madison Police officers arrived and began to demand ID. Officers told the members that if they did not produce ID they would be arrested.
2 of the 5 declined to provide ID. Wisconsin law does NOT allow officers to demand ID from individuals who have done nothing wrong. Wisconsin law also specifically does not allow officers to arrest an individual who has done nothing wrong for merely refusing to show ID.
2 of our members were subsequently arrested and charged with obstructing.
It was later learned that a 62 year old woman in the restaurant had called 911 and inquired as to whether it was legal for people to openly carry firearms. The caller indicated there was no disturbance but she was "worried". Madison Police responded, not by informing the caller that open-carry is legal, but rather sending 8 officers to respond to a peaceful situation.
It is a person's choice whether or not they wish to provide the police their ID when they have done nothing wrong. Without knowing the motivation of officers who are aggressively demanding ID and threatening arrest, its understandable why a person who has done nothing wrong would want to maintain their privacy. Its IMPERATIVE that police follow the law. Police are not allowed to arrest you for merely failing to provide ID. If the police can operate outside of the law, it does us NO good to vote and elect legislators to represent us and pass laws if the police will make-up and enforce whatever they feel like enforcing.
Wisconsin Carry fully expected that on Monday morning, those with an education in the law would return to their office from the weekend and promptly recognize the error made by the officers on the scene.
Madison Police DID recognize their error and rescinded the tickets for obstruction that were issued to 2 of our members. Madison Police admit in a press release those tickets were given in error. Madison Police then issued Disorderly Conduct citations to ALL 5 of our members. According to Madison Police, if ONE person is 'worried', even though there is no disturbance, your constitutional rights mean nothing. Wisconsin's Attorney General CLEARLY stated in a memo in April of 2009 that open-carry IS NOT disorderly conduct.
Madison Police then continued their disregard for Wisconsin residents constitutional rights by issuing a statement indicating that Madison police will: Approach anyone who is open-carrying using "the proper tactical response. The individual should be contacted, controlled, and frisked for weapons if appropriate. Officers should separate the suspect from any weapons in his/her possession during the encounter."
Read the press release here:
City of Madison News Release
As such, Wisconsin Carry will be fast-tracking a federal lawsuit against the Madison Police Department for this policy which is a blatant and defenseless violation of the rights of law-abiding citizens who are doing nothing wrong.
Wisconsin Carry will also, if needed, retain an attorney to challenge the Disorderly Conduct citations issued to 5 of our members.
Wisconsin Carry feels this is a fundamental issue, and a situation that has implications for every resident in the state of Wisconsin. Police Departments all across the state have received the AG memo and responded accordingly training officers in the appropriate and lawful response to a law-abiding citizen open-carrying. Madison MUST be held to the same standard. Wisconsin law apply's to everyone in the state, not just those outside of Madison. Its imperative that the Madison Police Department follow the law. Very soon, we expect Wisconsinites to have the ability to legally conceal carry. If police do not respect the legal right to open-carry we already have, how can we expect them to respect the right to conceal carry that we all seek as well?
WE NEED YOUR HELP.
In order to get this lawsuit filed quickly, we need donations to fund the legal fee's.
If you can donate specifically for the "Madison 5" lawsuit please visit our homepage:
Welcome to Wisconsin Carry, Inc.
On the main page you will see a "Donate" button where you can make a donation that will go specifically to this "Madison 5" lawsuit.
You may also mail a donation to:
Wisconsin Carry, Inc.
P.O. Box 270403
Milwaukee, WI 53227
This incident has received a huge amount of attention from the media. Its possible it may even garner national attention in the near future.
Many discussions regarding the incident, and links to media coverage of the incident are taking place on the discussion forums at opencarry.org:
You may also follow this and other Wisconsin Carry activities by joining Wisconsin Carry's facebook group: Search "Wisconsin Carry, Inc" or "Wisconsin Carry" on facebook.
If you haven't already done so, we also invite you to officially join Wisconsin Carry from out website as well. Membership is $15 for the first year.
Please spread this information to other online gun forums etc as we seek to protect and expand the rights of Wisconsin residents to carry.
Wisconsin Carry, Inc is a non-profit all volunteer organization. We are dedicated to the protection and expansion of the rights of law-abiding Wisconsinites to carry in the manner of their choosing. We believe that "open carry" or "conceal carry" are choices to be made by YOU the law abiding citizen based on what suits your needs. As open-carry is (with a few exceptions where conceal carry is already found legal) the only way to currently carry in Wisconsin, we advocate that all who wish to carry follow state law while we pursue an expansive conceal carry right for all law-abiding Wisconsinites during the next legislative session.
Wisconsin Carry, Inc filed a Federal lawsuit against the City of Madison
A copy of this lawsuit is available here
The City of Madison may not deny individuals the right to carry handguns in nonsensitive places, deprive individuals of the right to carry handguns in an arbitrary and capricious manner, or enforce its laws, customs and practices through its police department or impose regulations on the right to carry handguns that are inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, § 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution.
On Saturday, September 18, 2010, five (5) members of WCI met for dinner at a Culvers Restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. Each of these individuals was openly carrying a handgun when they arrived at the restaurant, entered the restaurant and ordered and ate their meals. At or about the time that the WCI members finished their meal and left the restaurant, a woman in her car observed them openly carrying handguns and called 911 to report it to the City of Madison Police Department. The 911 caller informed the dispatcher that she didn't know if it was an emergency, the men were doing nothing wrong and appeared totally relaxed, weren't threatening anyone and the restaurant was full of people but they each had sidearms and she didn't know if that was legal.
Upon being informed by the 911 dispatcher that open-carry is legal the woman stated "then there is no problem and its not an emergency". The dispatcher then suggests that if the woman is concerned or disturbed then it becomes a problem and the woman says "no they weren't threatening anybody or acting threatening". When the dispatcher informs the caller they are sending officers she says "well I feel bad then because they weren't doing anything wrong"
Listen to the 911 call here:
As these WCI members left the restaurant, they were accosted by eight(8) City of Madison police officers, who demanded that they produce identification, and threatened that if they did not do so, they would be arrested. From the time that these WCI members arrived at the restaurant up to and including the time that the police officers confronted them and demanded that they produce identification or face arrest, none of the WCI members violated any law, nor were they involved in any violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct, nor did they through their conduct cause or provoke any disturbance.
Wisconsin law does not allow officers to arrest for merely refusing to provide ID. 2 days later, Madison Police admitted the error in arresting and charging our members with obstruction, rescinded those tickets and instead, despite there being no disturbance, and no laws broken, issued disorderly conduct charges to all 5 of our members.
The Madison Police Department also issued a press release which relayed a department procedure which would violate the rights of law-abiding open-carriers who would choose to go legally armed for self-defense in Madison. The press release can be read here:
By arresting our members without cause and issuing a press release detailing a policy of violating the rights of other law-abiding open-carriers who should choose to carry in Madison, Wisconsin Carry immediately took action to file a lawsuit to prevent this chilling effect on the right to Carry in Madison. We look forward to the precedent this lawsuit will set.
Those who work, live, or travel to Madison are entitled to the same rights as the rest of the state. Wisconsin has a state and federal constitutionally guaranteed right to carry. Open-carry is the only legal way to carry in this state. Wisconsin's attorney general verified the legality of open-carry in a memo to all police chiefs and district attorney's in 2009. The City of Madison may not deny individuals the right to carry handguns in nonsensitive places, deprive individuals of the right to carry handguns in an arbitrary and capricious manner, or enforce its laws, customs and practices through its police department or impose regulations on the right to carry handguns that are inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, § 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution.
The financial support from across the country extended to Wisconsin Carry which allows us the resources to file this lawsuit has been exceptional. On behalf of WCI, our members, and freedom minded Wisconsinites who embrace the right to carry we wish to offer a special thank-you to Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
BFF is a tax-exempt foundation which collected and matched donations from people across the country totaling over $7,500 through their website:
Wisconsin Carry is a non-profit 100% volunteer organization dedicated to the protection and expansion of the right of law-abiding Wisconsinites to carry in the manner of their choosing; open carry or concealed carry.