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A number of RKBA & constitutional issues to watch here

Roanoke police actions spark lawsuit - Roanoke.com

Roanoke police actions spark lawsuit
A Roanoke man says officers violated his rights during a dispute about his gun license.
By Mike Gangloff
981-3336

A Roanoke man is suing city police over an altercation with officers that he said began as an argument about his permit to carry a concealed firearm.

Aaron A. Stevenson filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke alleging that his constitutional rights were violated during a May 6 traffic stop. He named two officers, Chief Joe Gaskins and the city as defendants.

On Wednesday, police spokeswoman Aisha Johnson referred questions to City Attorney Bill Hackworth, who was out of town and could not be contacted. Stevenson also could not be immediately contacted Wednesday.

The lawsuit gives this account of Stevenson's encounter with police:

Stevenson was driving along Williamson Road to pick up his daughter from church when Roanoke police Officer Jamie A. Kwiecinski stopped him. Stevenson was given a summons because his registration had expired.

Kwiecinski learned that Stevenson had a concealed carry permit and asked if he had a gun. Stevenson declined to answer.

Kwiecinski called for backup, and Officer Dwight W. Ayers arrived on the scene. Stevenson said the officers ignored his repeated invocation of his right to remain silent, and to have an attorney present during questioning.

The officers pulled Stevenson from his vehicle, the lawsuit said, took the .45-caliber handgun he wore in a belt holster, and put him in handcuffs in the back of a police car. Stevenson said he was threatened with loss of his permit, confiscation of his gun and indefinite detention while police investigated whether he was involved in anything criminal.

Officers never read Stevenson his Miranda rights, the lawsuit said, and Ayers told Stevenson the questioning would stop if he would admit to some criminal action.

As the incident continued, some of Stevenson's co-workers drove past and his employer stopped to see what was happening. The officers asked the employer if Stevenson had mental problems.

Stevenson said the tight handcuffs injured his wrists.

Eventually, Sgt. Sandy Duffey, a police supervisor, said to release Stevenson.

In the lawsuit, Stevenson asked for unspecified monetary damages, injunctions to prevent future incidents and a declaration that his civil rights had been violated.

Online court records indicated that the expired registration charge against Stevenson was dismissed in June.
 

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I'll be interested in the outcome.

Part of me is thinking that the individual in question was looking for the response he got, but I don't know for sure. Right now we only have one side to the story, so it'll be interesting what comes out in the wash.

Biker
 

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I'll be interested in the outcome.

Part of me is thinking that the individual in question was looking for the response he got, but I don't know for sure. Right now we only have one side to the story, so it'll be interesting what comes out in the wash.

Biker
Maybe he was fishing, maybe he wasn't but the response was wrong all the same. Officers should know if there has been a law broken BEFORE they take action, not take action then search for a charge.

He is well within his rights not to speak unless he had a duty to inform in that state.
 

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In VA, you don't have to notify.
 

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I know in some states you dont have to inform LEO, but I just dont see what it would hurt if the man just gave a simple responce. Maybe all this could have been avoided or maybe he would have had a little more ammo for his case. Thats just me, I think I would have simply gave a yes or no answer and then seen what the LEO had to say
 

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In VA, you don't have to notify.
:yup:

In addition, Virginia case law holds, “Absent some disqualifying status (being a felon, juvenile, or drug possessor) or situs (being in a place where weapons are forbidden), it is not a crime to possess a weapon.” Jackson v. Commonwealth, 41 Va. App. 211, 231, 583 S.E.2d 780

So, neither having a CHP or even having a gun justifies a Terry Stop. I would love to know what the articulable suspicion to detain appellant is reported to be in the official report. What we have is a newspaper's coverage of one side of the story -- and we know how misleading that can be.

BTW, I question being automatically under arrest for registration expiration, also. INAL but if he was arrested, that was unusual, if not unlawful, as officers are to issue summons to persons for most misdemeanors and other minor offenses, including unlawful concealed carry, expired registration, etc.

However, when all is said and done, what concerns me the most is that he's filing Pro Se. As such, I could see the Federal case reversing some well established Pro-RKBA State case law. I predict a defeat, if he goes all the way to the "law and order" 4th circuit. The police will win the day as they do in a huge majority of cases in the 4th, if the articulable suspicion for a Terry Stop has the appropriate key words that such as "nervous", "agitated", etc.

...but I just dont see what it would hurt if the man just gave a simple responce. Maybe all this could have been avoided or maybe he would have had a little more ammo for his case. Thats just me, I think I would have simply gave a yes or no answer and then seen what the LEO had to say
IMHO, that's what should have happened.
 

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They probably found out about the CHP through their computers and got peeved because he didn't give them a complementary notification, thus committing the offense of "contempt of cop" so they went on a fishing expedition way down the money hole. I hope he gets an attorney and the anti-gun City of Roanoke gets a $$$ lesson.
 

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A most interesting case. I think he has a pretty good shot. In fact, I think all states with laws requiring you to inform the officer of your carry status might be suspect...
 

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From the news story: "Kwiecinski learned that Stevenson had a concealed carry permit and asked if he had a gun. Stevenson declined to answer."

Does VA allow peace officers to disarm CCP holders for their own safety during a stop? If so, the question asked was not at all unreasonable given that the officer knew he had a permit. A reasonable person acting reasonably, knowing he was doing nothing wrong and that the officer had a right to take the gun temporarily during the stop, would have acknowledged being armed and cooperated.

My guess is that had this man acknowledged being lawfully armed instead of acting "unwise," the incident would have ended right there.

Sounds like a case of either fishing for dollars or very poor judgment. Likely the poor judgment was the reason, "The officers asked the employer if Stevenson had mental problems."

Very poor judgment on both sides as well, but I think he'll get no where in court.
He may have committed no articulable crime but he behaved in a way that reasonably raised enough suspicion to investigate further and inquire.

It should be interesting to hear whatever voice recordings there may be and see whatever video there may be. Both will shed a lot of light on who is and who isn't in the right here.
 

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It should be interesting to hear whatever voice recordings there may be and see whatever video there may be. Both will shed a lot of light on who is and who isn't in the right here.
THIS
 

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Sounds like some definite LEO harrassment. They already knew he had a conceal carry permit, so why the questions as to whether he had a gun on him or not, he's legal to be carrying it and their safety was not in question. This was all about him carrying a gun LEGALLY. All the rest, was purely harrassment and a violation of his rights, in my mind.

Hope he wins handsomely.
 

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I don't know the law where this happened, but is it possible that due to his DL/registration expiring his CCW had as well? If so, then carrying the pistol concealed would have been against the law, and answering the question affirmatively would have been a confession. Just thinking out loud.
 

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I consider that I am a great supporter of LE, and have little sympathy for those who are obnoxious because they resent LE when stopped.

However, I deplore an abuse of authority by some, and in this case I would like to see the cops fired, and a large monetary settlement.

Regards,
Jerry
 

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I consider that I am a great supporter of LE, and have little sympathy for those who are obnoxious because they resent LE when stopped.

However, I deplore an abuse of authority by some, and in this case I would like to see the cops fired, and a large monetary settlement.

Regards,
Jerry
Well said. I think that during a routine traffic stop there is no reason for the officers here to do what they did. The article stated that they had already issued a citation for expired registration.
 

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I will agree that simple compliance on his part could have prevented any problems and made the policemen's jobs easier. But maybe he doesn't want to, he does have that right. I have refused to allow my person or my car to be searched before. I know how agitated the officers got when I did it. I had nothing to hide, but I had everything to protect. My Rights!

Michael
 

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In Va you might not have to notify, but when asked directly, I would tend to believe you would have to answer truthfully. I'm not all that familiar with Va law, but that's just an educated guess.
 

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Same here, if 'asked' then you have to answer the question truthfully and should. I think they have a right to know. However, I think the threats, initimidation, etc. expressed in the OP is out of line.
 

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This could potentially be a very important case if he does win...
 

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I don't know the law where this happened, but is it possible that due to his DL/registration expiring his CCW had as well? If so, then carrying the pistol concealed would have been against the law, and answering the question affirmatively would have been a confession. Just thinking out loud.
"Stevenson was given a summons because his registration had expired."

They mentioned nothing about his DL, just his car registration. Cop could not have stopped him due to an expired DL because he had no way of knowing that. He can see an expired car registration. No way an expired car registration would expire his CHP. :22a:
 

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In Va you might not have to notify, but when asked directly, I would tend to believe you would have to answer truthfully. I'm not all that familiar with Va law, but that's just an educated guess.
Remember, INAL.

That said, my understanding is that you are not required to answer. You can lawyer-up -- at any point.

See the Va Law Professor @: YouTube - Don't Talk to Cops, Part 1

OTOH, if you answer you have to answer truthfully.

Again, for the record I personally always notify. And I agree that had he notified things might have gone differently.

Again, that said, I think he was within his rights.

As to the actual events, we only have his story as filtered through a newspaper and I don't trust newspapers or make judgments on one side of the story.

This could potentially be a very important case if he does win...
True. It could be significant at the Federal level.

OTOH, it could reverse some very good Pro-RKBA State Case Law.
 
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