UF student arrested because someone got scared at the sight of a gun


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Zen21Tao
May 8, 2007, 05:56 AM
http://www.examiner.com/a-684794~Man_with_pellet_gun_arrested_on_UF_campus.html

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Map, News) - University of Florida Police arrested a student after someone reported seeing a man armed with a gun on campus.

More than two dozen city and university police officers surrounded a residence hall after a student in the building contacted police early Thursday morning.

Officers learned that the person they were looking for was Travis Raymond Young, 19, whose girlfriend lives in the building. The girlfriend told police that Young had left her room and had a non-lethal pellet gun, police reported.

Officers later found Young at his residence hall, and he told officers that he had a pellet gun.

Young did not overtly display the pellet gun, according to police reports. But police charged him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, because the student who first reported the incident told officers she was afraid after witnessing an unknown man who appeared armed with a handgun.

"I think everything in everybody's mind was Virginia Tech when the call went out," University Police Capt. Jeff Holcomb told The Gainesville Sun.

On Monday, a gunman killed himself and 32 other people at Virginia Tech.

Young was released from jail Thursday on a $5,000 bond.


and

http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070420/LOCAL/704200356/1078/community

"Young was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill. The charge was made because the witness who saw Young said she was frightened by him upon seeing the weapon protruding from his pocket."



That's right, a female student saw what she thought was part of a gun protruding from this kid's pocket and because this scared her he was arrested for "aggravated assault." I know this happened right after the VT massacre but still, this is complete non-sense. "Assault" means someone made a direct threat to commit harm to another person NOT that some other person got scared at something they observed.

This is a case of charging someone based solely on what they "could" or "might" do not on what they have threatened to do. What's next, a woman sees a very large scary looking man walking down the street towards her so she runs off and has him charged with "attempted rape"?

Also, what if this was a case where a legal CCW permit holder accidentally and momentarily exposed a small part of his carry gun while brushing his coat aside to get his wallet from him back pocket and some anti-gun tree hugger saw a small part of the gun? :fire: :cuss:

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Nomad, 2nd
May 8, 2007, 06:00 AM
People who get scared and cause people like me to get charged with felonies scare me... CHARGE HER!

Trebor
May 8, 2007, 06:03 AM
If he had a CCW permit, and was carrying in an area where carry was legal, he wouldn't have had a problem.

(I suppose in some states you might be required to conceal to the point where you aren't allowed to let your gun "print" or accidently be exposed, but that would be a different set of circumstances.)

As it is, if he was carrying a pellet gun in a pocket with part of it sticking out where other people thought it was real, I'm not surprised he was arrested. If the situation was different and the police had arrived when he was still out and about with the pellet gun, he would have risked being shot.

A pellet gun *is* a gun in many circumstances. For instance, if you rob someone while armed with a pellet gun, it's "armed robbery" because the victim believes you are armed. The same sort of thing is happening here.

We could quibble over the exact charge. Why "aggravated assault" and not "carrying a concealed weapon," for instance? But, I can understand the general reasoning behind the arrest.

Zen21Tao
May 8, 2007, 06:43 AM
http://www.flsenate.gov/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0784/titl0784.htm
784.011 Assault.--

(1) An "assault" is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.

(2) Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.--s. 5, Feb. 10, 1832; RS 2400; GS 3226; RGS 5059; CGL 7161; s. 1, ch. 70-88; s. 729, ch 71-136; s. 17, ch. 74-383; s. 7, ch. 75-298; s. 171, ch. 91-224.

Note.--Former s. 784.02.


784.021 Aggravated assault.--

(1) An "aggravated assault" is an assault:
(a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or
(b) With an intent to commit a felony.

(2) Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.


From a strictly legal aspect, it doesn’t matter here if the person was legally carrying the gun or not. What is at stake here is whether or not a person’s response to mealy seeing a gun satisfies the necessary requirements to support a claim that an “intentional threat to commit harm” was conveyed.

Again, assault requires the conveyance of an "intentional" threat to commit harm. Even if you could say that the display of the (pellet) gun conveyed a threat of harm, there was no intent, on the part of the person having the gun, to harm to anyone. If the law is allowed to be interpreted such that someone’s fear of seeing a gun is enough to convey an “intentional threat to commit harm” this would apply equally to those legally licensed to carry a gun in the same way that someone legally license to carry a gun would be committing “aggravated assault” if they pull out the gun and threaten to shoot someone.

More disconcerting is that the very concept of "intent" is being shifted from interpreting the words and actions of the person being charged to the reaction of the victim. This poses a pronounced problem if we are to retain the "'innocent before proven guilty" component of law. Now a person being charged would have the burden to prove he didn't intend the harm a victim suggests he did rather the state having the burden to prove he did intend harm.

ingram
May 8, 2007, 06:48 AM
Ridiculous.

To some people, having a gun period is a proof of intent. There is probably not much we can do to change that.

Trebor
May 8, 2007, 06:58 AM
1) An "assault" is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.


From a strictly legal aspect, it doesn’t matter here if the person was legally carrying the gun or not.

I disagree with your assement based on the law you cited. If the student would have been a CCW permit holder, carrying legally in all aspects, I believe the accidental exposure of the gun would not have been "... an intentional, UNLAWFUL threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another."

To me, it looks like the illegal carrying of the pellet gun is what they are using to fufill the "intentional unlawfull act" part of the requirement for assault.

Now I'm not an attorney, so this is just my opinion. YMMV. Personally, I think a "carrying a concealed weapon" type charge would have been more appropriate than an assault charge, but I'm not up on the nuaces of Florida law.

I still maintain that a CCW holder, legally carrying, whose gun was accidently (not deliberately) exposed would probably not have been charged based on the bare facts as reported.

Robert Hairless
May 8, 2007, 07:15 AM
If you're near Gainesville I'd appreciate it if you would file a complaint for me because that news story scares hell out of me.

Aggravated assault seems all right for the moment, I guess, but I'd also like a restraining order issued against the police department so they don't scare me again.

In case you don't mind spending a few extra minutes, how about getting the charges and the restraining order to cover the newspaper also. Can't be too careful nowadays.

Caimlas
May 8, 2007, 07:45 AM
What?! This happened in Florida?!

How in the WORLD can someone be charged with aggravated assault when nobody was hurt and nobody was attacked, let alone alone aggravated assault with a deadly weapon when the weapon in question isn't really a weapon at all, because it isn't even capable of causing deadly harm?!

This is nothing more than political prosecution. This young man has committed Thoughtcrime and is therefore guilty of all possible charges associated with what could have happened were it a real gun. Had there been the political atmosphere for it, I have no doubt that this young man would be destined for an extended stay in a prison sell, and he'd have had the "without intent to kill" left off his charge.

Either way, doesn't this shackle this guy with a felony? As far as I know, "aggravated assault" is an automatic felony. He just had his life ruined by a vengeful, fearful bitch he'd never met before in his life.

Caimlas
May 8, 2007, 07:49 AM
To me, it looks like the illegal carrying of the pellet gun is what they are using to fufill the "intentional unlawfull act" part of the requirement for assault.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but a pellet gun isn't a firearm. It's not even a weapon in the strictest sense. Maybe it's a state law thing, but I can't see how a law regarding firearms would apply to a child's play thing. Would the same thing have applied if he had a squirt pistol in his pocket?

If the law can possibly interpreted in this fashion, it's too permissive and needs to be rewritten to be specific. This person having his life ruined for this asininity is unacceptable.

shc1
May 8, 2007, 08:03 AM
This isn’t the first time an innocent person has been charged.
The Salem witch trials come to mind.
Night of the long knives to name another.
History repeats, we’re on a roll…

1911Tuner
May 8, 2007, 08:12 AM
Another typical overreaction after the horror at Va Tech. Expect more of the same in shopping malls, grocery stores, parks, etc. It's a form of mass hysteria that often follows things like that, and any sighting of a gun...or even what is thought to be a gun...will result in the observer assuming that the presence of a gun means that another mass killing is about to transpire.

Sad. I remember an America in which the sight of a firearm openly displayed only drew passing attention...or even sparked gun/hunting-related conversations between strangers. I miss that.

.cheese.
May 8, 2007, 08:14 AM
duplicate. I posted about this when it happened. But that's ok.... it's probably best to have a separate thread about it anyways because I don't think many people noticed when I posted it.

Just so you guys know though - this happened a few weeks ago. The scariest part is "aggravated assault".

Can you even wrap your head around that?

wally
May 8, 2007, 09:17 AM
Maybe gun enthusiasts on campus need to start calling the cops everytime someone starts smoking dope.

--wally.

MilsurpShooter
May 8, 2007, 09:32 AM
So someone saw a gun and got scared... Later found out it's a pellet gun... But because she was scared he get's charged? Oh c'mon, I'm hoping this goes to court and I hope the defense rakes the prosecutor over the coals.

CWhitt
May 8, 2007, 10:45 AM
I just graduated from UF over the weekend, and I read of this story in the school's daily newspaper on campus the day after it occurred.

Surprisingly, "word of mouth" about this incident did not spread like I thought it would have....other incidents (non-crime or non-gun related) spread like wildfire.

As far as the location, and therefore, the attitude towards a gun sighting:
UF is not true Florida. UF is located in Alachua county, one of the bastions for Liberals in Florida (Alachua, Broward, Palm Beach, Leon, Gadsden counties are all "blue" counties).

Plus, the college atmosphere tends to draw hippies and activists that want to save the world, one canned good/gun/tree/animal/[insert cause of the day here] at a time.

It also seems to draw a ton of student wannabe-hippies and pseudo-activists that want to yell, protest, or sign petitions to save the world...until it's time get in their BMW or large SUV and go home to the condo their parents own in Gainesville.

So I'm (sadly) not surprised at the reaction that someone freaked over the sight of a gun-like object of any sort. However, I am surprised that anyone actually even NOTICED it in his pocket. I CCW in town and, sometimes, on campus. I sometimes carry a full-size M&P .40 and I don't think I've ever had anyone even notice that I'm carrying. Most students around here are oblivious to the world outside a 2-foot perimeter around their self...and that perimeter tightens as soon as they get their iPod earphones in.

Notch
May 8, 2007, 10:57 AM
Florida takes one more step to becoming what it is destined to become. The east coasts **********... With their attempt to expand the meaning of AWs and the recent "gun in car at the workplace" it is clear that the shift is steady and fairly swift. Too bad, I always thought I would nd up there some day.

FortyCalGlock
May 8, 2007, 11:11 AM
A: Mr. Young was 19. You cannot get a CWP in FL unless your 21.

B: A pellet gun is only a firearm in the country of New Jersey(that I know of)

C: This case will be dropped by the prosecutor. They would have to prove intent. They would also have to prove the pellet gun was a deadly weapon. A police officer can charge with whatever he wants. It's up to the prosecution to prove it. However, Mr. Young will still need to have the arrest expunged from his record.

D. I believe the UF police dept. should be sued for all court costs, legal fees, and a little anguish too. They admitted in their statement that the crime Mr. Young is charged with didn't happen and its very obvious they were overzelous in their arrest.

Old Fuff
May 8, 2007, 11:12 AM
Given the recent incident at V.T., I don't think the young lady overreacted. The possibility of a copycat attack is real. The ones who went overboard are the police, and other authorities that brought the charges after the facts were known.

The Old Fuff finds all of this to be an unfortunate statement about how things are in parts of our country, and like 1911 Tuner observes that things didn’t used to be this way. It seems the further away we get from the pre-World War Two era, and the years that followed the war, the more “sheep like” we have become.

That said, as a matter of recognizing reality, those that transport a firearm, especially a handgun of any form in a public place, would be well advised to carry it in some kind of case or cover – even a paper bag will do – to avoid the expense and trouble this sort of thing can cause. I suppose that in some places that could get one arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, but having one in a pocket is likely to bring even worse consequences than having one that’s cased. It is also advisable to pick something that doesn’t say, “Smith & Wesson,” “Glock,” or “Beretta” etc. on the outside.

mlandman
May 8, 2007, 11:20 AM
In Florida, "concealed" is defined as follows:

790.001 Definitions.--As used in this chapter, except where the context otherwise requires:

(2) "Concealed firearm" means any firearm, as defined in subsection (6), which is carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the firearm from the ordinary sight of another person.

and further more:

790.053 Open carrying of weapons.--

(1) Except as otherwise provided by law and in subsection (2), it is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device.

(2) A person may openly carry, for purposes of lawful self-defense:

(a) A self-defense chemical spray.

(b) A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.

(3) Any person violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.


...so therefore if it has been a side arm, and he had a CWL, he would have been in violation of Chapter 790

but it wasn't because the "weapon" did not qualify under :

790.001 Definitions.--As used in this chapter, except where the context otherwise requires:
3)(a) "Concealed weapon" means any dirk, metallic knuckles, slungshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon carried on or about a person in such a manner as to conceal the weapon from the ordinary sight of another person.
is excluded by
(4) "Destructive device" means any bomb, grenade, mine, rocket, missile, pipebomb, or similar device containing an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas and includes any frangible container filled with an explosive, incendiary, explosive gas, or expanding gas, which is designed or so constructed as to explode by such filler and is capable of causing bodily harm or property damage; any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled; any device declared a destructive device by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; any type of weapon which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of any explosive and which has a barrel with a bore of one-half inch or more in diameter; and ammunition for such destructive devices, but not including shotgun shells or any other ammunition designed for use in a firearm other than a destructive device. "Destructive device" does not include:

(a) A device which is not designed, redesigned, used, or intended for use as a weapon;

(b) Any device, although originally designed as a weapon, which is redesigned so that it may be used solely as a signaling, line-throwing, safety, or similar device;

(c) Any shotgun other than a short-barreled shotgun; or

(d) Any nonautomatic rifle (other than a short-barreled rifle) generally recognized or particularly suitable for use for the hunting of big game.

and is not a "firearm" as defined by

(6) "Firearm" means any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; any destructive device; or any machine gun. The term "firearm" does not include an antique firearm unless the antique firearm is used in the commission of a crime.

A sad state of affairs...

Seminole
May 8, 2007, 12:19 PM
This case will be dropped by the prosecutor. They would have to prove intent. They would also have to prove the pellet gun was a deadly weapon. A police officer can charge with whatever he wants. It's up to the prosecution to prove it. However, Mr. Young will still need to have the arrest expunged from his record.

Bingo.

I believe the UF police dept. should be sued for all court costs, legal fees, and a little anguish too. They admitted in their statement that the crime Mr. Young is charged with didn't happen and its very obvious they were overzelous in their arrest.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

scurtis_34471
May 8, 2007, 01:11 PM
Florida takes one more step to becoming what it is destined to become. The east coasts **********... With their attempt to expand the meaning of AWs and the recent "gun in car at the workplace" it is clear that the shift is steady and fairly swift. Too bad, I always thought I would nd up there some day.

Wow, you really don't pay attention to the details. The only thing Florida did was fail to pass a law that would have prevented employers from searching employee cars on employer property. There is no law in Florida against guns in cars or guns in the workplace, but if you violate company policy on company time or company property, the company can fire you. A lot of the people that voted against the law were pro-gun, but came down on the side of property rights. I happen to disagree with them, but I don't think that makes them anti-gun.

The "attempt to expand the definition of assault weapon" was a bill put forth by one liberal crackpot from Miami that gets proposed every year and has absolutely zero chance of passing. You can't paint the state anti-gun just because we have a few anti-gun politicians. Florida has some of the strongest self-defense statutes in the entire country and was one of the first states to move to "shall issue" concealed carry licenses. There are no high-cap mag limits or banned weapons in this state.

These police were acting on their own stupidity and there is no way those charges will stick.

mbt2001
May 8, 2007, 01:12 PM
Send them all to the ministry of love.

gripper
May 8, 2007, 01:17 PM
I swear ...they are breeding stupid LEO's in greater numbers than they used to.What happened to "mens rea"????Criminal intent????This is like the "hostile workplace environment" concept that started out with a good intent( to stop worklace @ssholes from being @ssholes) tand changed into "well,I FELT offended..".Next thing you know,it will be "officer ,there is a man with a dog in his fenced in yard and I FEEL like it may bite me someday..."

buzz_knox
May 8, 2007, 02:19 PM
But because she was scared he get's charged?

The reason he got charged could be 1) she filed a complaint and the police are letting the prosecutor catch the heat for dropping it or 2) the police decided to charge him with something in order to show they hadn't wasted time and effort just on a pellet gun.

I'm betting the latter. And from reviewing the Florida statute, I'm thinking that unless the female student is willing to testify he pointed the pellet gun at her, this will get tossed.

SkiLune
May 8, 2007, 02:36 PM
Maybe gun enthusiasts on campus need to start calling the cops everytime someone starts smoking dope.

They won't show up with 24 cops, thats for sure. College kids usually have no assets to seize.

JerryM
May 8, 2007, 02:44 PM
Is it legal to possess firearms at UF?

Jerry

Zen21Tao
May 8, 2007, 03:03 PM
Is it legal to possess firearms at UF?

No... UF is a "gun free" zone.

As for others comments about the state of FL and its LEOs turning liberal, the state itself is by far very conservative. However, UF is a bastion of liberals. In fact, Alachua county is referred to as the "little blue island in a sea of red." Again, this is due to the strong liberal presence at UF. many (if not most) of these liberal students and professors at UF are from other states and have never in their seen a real gun. There are also a great many liberal tree huggers here that would "exaggerate" their actual fear at seeing a gun just to express their views and to further the anti-gun agenda.

Also, keep in mind that the student was arrested by UF police not the local Gainesville police. With the exception of two egotistical ass-clowns too arrogant to be in the same room with, all the local officers I have encountered have been great. In fact, I worked closely with the president of the local Frat. Order of Police when he ran for county commissioner. I also worked on the campaigns of the former sheriff and the current local state attorney. The local police are far from the authoritative totalitarians you find in most liberal states.

With that said, I do believe that the UF police overreacted and that this case will be thrown out. I also believe the UF police should be sued over this to send a message that they are not free to throw around charges like this that they know won't stick.

** P.S. Congratulations CWhitt on your graduation. I just received my first Masters degree last Thursday.

Crunker1337
May 8, 2007, 04:35 PM
He OBVIOUSLY neither assaulted anyone nor had an intent to assault anyone. This is all due to paranoia from V Tech; notice that this student was Asian (I'm assuming he is since his last name is Young)

bclark1
May 8, 2007, 04:51 PM
That's cute. So could I put a local cop under citizen's arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill for wielding a gun then? I'm coming home from the gym one night on the phone, walking down the alley to the door closest to my unit. Out of the construction site next door comes a gun, then an arm, then a beefy guy in a flannel. "Call you right back" and I hang up my phone, opting to hang onto the Sig in my bag instead. "Everything okay?" "Yeah, have you seen a guy x tall wearing y?" Turns out the guy was a plainclothes, but all I saw was a gun, no badge, and his radio was under the flannel. I almost offered to join the posse, but I wasn't sure how carry would be viewed so close to a campus. Not ten minutes later two other uniformed officers run by my window guns drawn. Still, if the presentation of anything looking like a weapon without positive identification as being "the man" constitutes a valid assault arrest now, why aren't these guys paying bills for my emotional damage? Not really - to risk sounding bravado, I wasn't even phased, I was actually pretty glad that my heartrate didn't hiccup when we had Officer Flannel leading gun first and pointing his Glock in my vicinity. Finger was off the trigger at least but muzzle discretion left something to be desired.

buzz_knox
May 8, 2007, 05:09 PM
(I'm assuming he is since his last name is Young)

I don't think that's a valid assumption.

akodo
May 8, 2007, 05:12 PM
Trebor, the devil is in the details

"intentional, unlawful threat"

The location of the comma in that sentence structure makes unlawful a descriptor of the type of threat. A wide variety of words could be put in there, physical, verbal, realistic, whatever

Lets set the type of threat aside for a moment.

You then have the sentence reading "intentional threat"

Then it is clear that having a pelletgun in your pocket by itself is not enough to be an intentional threat, or at least that is what this reasonable juror would say.

buzz_knox
May 8, 2007, 05:14 PM
Then it is clear that having a pelletgun in your pocket by itself is not enough to be an intentional threat, or at least that is what this reasonable juror would say.

That would be the A answer if this were a law school exam as well. The word "intentional" effectively means having the intent to perform that particular act and carrying through on said act. It isn't something one does negligently or inadvertently.

feedthehogs
May 8, 2007, 05:16 PM
Welcome to insane world of the law.

Where a campaign contribution to a Judge will buy you perverted justice and where anyone with no proof of anything can have someone charged and arrested.

I would much rather have the justice system of a third world country.
Where money will buy you any kind of justice you desire.

obxned
May 8, 2007, 05:28 PM
It is certainly going to be an interesting water pistol season!!!

Outlaw Man
May 8, 2007, 06:08 PM
This will set an alarming precident if it is upheld.

I hope the jury laughs the prosecution out of the courtroom.

Gnarkill
May 9, 2007, 05:18 AM
I would sue the police since he didn't have a deadly weapon and he didn't assault anyone. You would win.

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