Hours after Norfolk City Hall visit, gun advocate is detained
By Debbie Messina
© October 9, 2008
Hours after guns-rights activists marched on City Hall to demand police leave them alone, they said one was charged after refusing an order to leave Waterside because he was openly carrying a weapon.
Danladi Moore – whom the city paid $10,000 in July to avoid litigation after being stopped by police for suspected weapons violations – was charged with trespassing at the downtown entertainment complex Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old Hampton resident said police told him to leave because he had a gun. Moore said he refused because the law allows him to display a weapon in public places. He said he was handcuffed, charged and led out of the building.
Norfolk police spokesman Officer Chris Amos confirmed that a summons was issued but declined to comment further.
Waterside receives city funding but is officially owned by a private entity, Waterside Associates, whose partners include the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said NRHA assistant executive director John Kownack. Its policy prohibits weapons, yet weapons are not included on a list of prohibitions posted at Waterside’s entrances, he added.
The incident happened after about a dozen members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League finished dinner at the Hooters restaurant at Waterside. Earlier, they had joined about 50 others at a City Council meeting to complain that their rights had been violated by police.
Most of them were openly carrying guns, but only Moore and his two friends were approached, members of the group said.
Philip Van Cleave, who leads the guns-rights group and was with Moore at Waterside but did not witness the exchange, said it was unbelievable.
“I don’t see a conspiracy here – I see more ineptness,” he said. “And there may well be prejudice too.”
Moore is black. Van Cleave and most of the others are white.
Moore said a friend who was with him at Waterside also was carrying a gun and also had challenged police when asked to leave. He said his friend, who is white, was not charged.
John Pierce, co-founder of the national group OpenCarry.org, said, “Even if this was a perfectly innocent mistake, the timing could not have been worse.”