Ordered to ground at gunpoint for open carrying by cleveland heights ohio police


July 10, 2009, 10:28 PM
Video of Gestapo Cleveland Heights Police Terrorizing their Citizens. In the end they let me go with no charges filed and returned my gun.


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July 10, 2009, 10:35 PM
It seems like you were out looking for to cause a scene...why?

July 10, 2009, 10:43 PM
Well I dunno. I would say it looks like you're just trying to make a point. I try to avoid hassles, but more power to ya.

Honestly more people should start "undemonizing" guns.

July 10, 2009, 10:54 PM
Hell yeah, it's your right, there are more armed citizens than police, so be proud that you stood up instead of being job scared, fear of being arrested, etc........ Always fight for your rights.and know your laws to the letter. Police only enforce, not make laws. It was kool you had the camera there though, cause they might have fabricated a story.

July 10, 2009, 11:00 PM
It's generally been my experience that if you go looking for trouble, you will usually find it.


July 10, 2009, 11:10 PM
i usually dont even have to look i'm one of the lucky ones

July 10, 2009, 11:20 PM
It's funny how following the law 100% suddenly becomes "looking for trouble" when it's something you wouldn't do yourself.

This reminds me of those who said that certain rape victims had it coming because they "dressed too sexy" or other idiotic arguments like that. The law is the law period..end of story. It is black and white...cut and dry..however else you want to describe it. Your opinion is worth exactly nothing. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

July 10, 2009, 11:24 PM
your video doesn't work. Only sound and black. No video.

Why did you stop it at 8:12 and not let us hear the whole thing?

July 10, 2009, 11:45 PM
Mr. Ponikvar--next time take a couple friends and have them film otherwise your video probably wouldn't be alot of help in your defense because the argument could always be made something was going on that couldn't be heard.

Just be careful and don't be stupid. I know OC is legal and am all for it. It certainly looks like you were expecting a confrontation and you got it. The big question here is did they really get a concerned citizen call?

Are you taking this to court?

Jorg Nysgerrig
July 10, 2009, 11:45 PM
While this doesn't strictly fall under the topics appropriate for the Activism section, I think it merits discussion as a RKBA advocacy technique.

I can appreciate the sentiment of the video and applaud someone actually going out and doing something rather than just grousing about it on the internet, however, the subject in the video pretty much undoes any potential positive actions by being beligerent and throwing around the "nazi Germany" nonsense. In the end, it was a net loss for the RKBA because perception is everything and the subject in the video failed in the regard.

July 10, 2009, 11:48 PM
being beligerent and throwing around the "nazi Germany" nonsense.

Glad you said it Jorg--I didn't want to start the thread into lockdown mode.

July 10, 2009, 11:56 PM
yes, go after the law enforcers, good idea. everyone knows how much control they have over the law and over societies hoplophobia. OC being legal or not, you know your going to run into some kind of trouble and you were clearly looking for it. going out and about your day lawfully carry open is different than going out looking for trouble.
in conclusion, thanks, but no thanks.

July 10, 2009, 11:58 PM
LOL, why would you go looking for trouble? I mean, don't get me wrong, you shouldn't have been stopped for the weapon if it is legal. You obviously knew that you "disturbed the peace" if the first thing you did was grab your camera. IDK...I don't buy this 100%

At least you just happened to be carrying all the documentation showing that you were at least partially right when the officer arrived.

IF all you were doing was open carrying, Thank You for exposing what really happened. But if you were just looking for a confrontation, as I think you were, sell your guns and move somewhere that you don't have to give the rest of us a bad name...we have enough issues to deal with trying to get others to accept the presence of firearms in their daily lives, let alone some know-it-all, negatively exploiting our rights.

July 10, 2009, 11:59 PM
I don't think there's any law against being belligerent or saying stupid things. I don't think there's a "win or lose" here...there's a right and wrong. The police were obviously WAY in the wrong. He could have been in a Nazi uniform waving a rebel flag while smoking a cigar and dancing a jig.....none of that matters one bit. He should have been treated the exact same way no matter what. The police aren't hired to tell us what is cool and what isn't or how nice we should be. They are hired to enforce laws.

While I wish he had worded some things differently, I don't think he had the chance to express much before a gun was pointed at him. Anything else is insignificant.

July 11, 2009, 12:04 AM
going out and about your day lawfully carry open is different than going out looking for trouble.

How exactly is walking down the street not going about one's day? How exactly is walking down the street "looking for trouble". Please explain.

Jorg Nysgerrig
July 11, 2009, 12:27 AM
I don't think there's any law against being belligerent or saying stupid things.
Yet it can be even more damaging than breaking the law.

He could have been in a Nazi uniform waving a rebel flag while smoking a cigar and dancing a jig.....none of that matters one bit.
Like I said, perception is everything. In the end, how he presents himself when pulling this little stunt is ALL that matters. Everything else will be forgotten.

July 11, 2009, 12:30 AM
Arguing with the police never goes well. No matter how well you present your argument the police will take it as an afront to their authority.

I'd ask if I was being detained,
I might ask why, and then I'd ask to speak to a lawyer and shut up.

The second or third time the city got sued they'd probably stop.

Lou McGopher
July 11, 2009, 12:31 AM
I think it was unnecessary for him to reference Nazi Germany in the video. The cops messing with you aren't going to care. They're not going to consider, "Hey, he's right. I am acting contrary to the principles of liberty. My treatment of this citizen is unjust and immoral." Anyone wanting to OC needs to remember that. Most cops aren't likely to care. They've got a job to do - a paycheck to collect. Be cordial and straightforward, and hope they act cordially and professionally. Save the analogies and philosophical grandstanding for later when you can be a little more articulate.

Now then, I'm thinking of OC'ing in this same area very soon, as it is very near me. The police need to get used to it. I've got video cameras and voice recorders. I would preferably like to enlist someone else to handle the videotaping. Awfully silly that such a thing would be necessary, but in Cleveland Hts, a confrontation with the police is pretty much a given. There are a lot of them, and they seem to have pretty fast response times, and people around here just aren't used to the idea of honest citizens being armed. Recording while OC'ing in this area may be necessary at first.

July 11, 2009, 12:42 AM
Not only are they not going to care, they're going to start thinking "this guy is out of control", which will give them all the more reason to detain you.

If you carry a gun, especially openly, you need to expect that at some point, you might get hassled because of it.

The real test is how well you keep your cool. I agree with Jorg and the rest - this particular incident ended up being 100% the opposite of how a proper open-carry awareness demonstration should have gone.

July 11, 2009, 12:57 AM
Good for you freedom fighter! Does anyone remember the Boston Tea Party? Our constitution was written by men who challenged the corrupt governments who persecuted our ancestors.

I can appreciate the sentiment of the video and applaud someone actually going out and doing something rather than just grousing about it on the internet

Me too.

The whole nazi thing is irrelevent in this case. Regardledss of the dialogue in the video, the point was made, and proven, simply by the actions of the police and the suspect.

actions speak louder than words.

July 11, 2009, 01:10 AM
actions speak louder than words.

Agreed. And as a second amendment supporter and gun enthusiast, if I was a witness to what happened on the video, I would have shaken my head and discounted the man on the ground as a fool, a loon, or both.

I can appreciate action - we should all be so bold and willing to stand up and make our position known. However, as others have mentioned earlier in this thread - we are at a disadvantage here in regards to public perception and opinion of gun owners and our rights. Resisting the police by becoming irate and hollering about Nazi's isn't going to make anyone feel better about your mental state.

And by the way, likening this gentleman's actions to those of the participants of the Boston Tea Party is ludicrous. The Tea Party protestors were doing so in response to a crushing inequity of power - the individual in the video essentially purposefully provoked a confrontation while engaged in a legal activity (OC'ing). hardly the same thing, IMHO.

July 11, 2009, 01:12 AM
I have really fast and reliable internet and this video wont load/takes forever. I don't understand! ha ah

July 11, 2009, 01:23 AM
we are at a disadvantage here in regards to public perception and opinion of gun owners and our rights

Agreed. Public perception is what we seem to be at war with. I stand corrected.

And by the way, likening this gentleman's actions to those of the participants of the Boston Tea Party is ludicrous

I believe you are correct here too. These are two COMPLETELY different scenarios. But the drivers of the actions in both cases have a common relativity, In my opinion.

July 11, 2009, 01:26 AM
On the upside, I'd love to hear what the chief of police in that area has to say about the fact that the female officer seems to be completely ignorant that OC is indeed legal.

I'd think that misinformation like that might end up netting them a lawsuit at some point if it's allowed to continue.

Of course, the OP is too busy bickering with the officers to get any of their names on tape. If we had names, we might be able to use this event to our advantage with a letter-writing campaign to request some officer re-education.

July 11, 2009, 01:29 AM
On the upside, I'd love to hear what the chief of police in that area has to say about the fact that the female officer seems to be completely ignorant that OC is indeed legal.

Great point! I never thought of that.

July 11, 2009, 02:12 AM
I'm not sure how I feel about this.

July 11, 2009, 02:24 AM
The whole nazi thing is irrelevent in this case. Regardledss of the dialogue in the video, the point was made, and proven, simply by the actions of the police and the suspect.

It is not irrelevant. What you say, what you do, and how you carry yourself matters very much.

Answering an Officer's legitimate, peaceful address to you with, "Am I living in Nazi Germany?" is not the right way to begin a conversation. Words most definitely do matter.

On some levels I can appreciate the movement. But I can't appreciate obnoxious behavior.

freedomfighter - If you're going to get yourself involved in the open carry movement as an activist, be better prepared. You are making the movement look bad.

July 11, 2009, 02:26 AM
I agree with Jorg on this one, and feel that the OP found the trouble that he was obviously looking for. I should also note that this video hardly tells the whole story, and cuts off while the contact with the police is still going on. I'm not sold on the merits of this action, and personally feel that the OP has done more to hurt the RKBA cause than he has helped it!

On another note, I'll add my $0.02 on the subject of police encounters, from the perspective of a street officer:

1) Rule #1 has always been, and will always be, that I go home safe at the end of my shift. If I think that a situation is going to go sideways on me, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that it doesn't. That might mean temporarily detaining someone, that might mean talking forcefully to someone, that might mean using force against someone, or perhaps just having a couple of cover cars added to the call. Regardless of what it takes, I'm going home in one piece, and so are my shift partners! How I do that depends on the actions of the subject I'm contacting.

2) Court isn't held on the side of the road, and I'm going to complete my investigation to whatever level a given call requires. I don't care if someone claims to be carrying the DA's handbook, a copy of the constitution, or stone tablets from God. Personally, I have a copy of every law I could ever need in my patrol car, as does every other officer I know.

3) Officers are fallable, as are all humans. The female officer was not accurate on her interpretation of the law in this instance, but that doesn't always mean that she is 100% inept. I'm not excusing her mistakes, but I've been on the street long enough to know that mistakes are made by everyone from time-to-time. I've had DAs give me incorrect information in the past, and I've even heard judges incorrectly interpret the law while on the bench. Our system of government is set up so that these mistakes can be mitigated... A cop does not serve as judge, jury, and executioner. Everyone gets a trial when they are arrested, and our court system is set up in such a way that appeals are allowed. The female officer may have been wrong, but the OP also wasn't arrested at the end of this contact.

4) The officers also stated that they were responding to a dispatched call in this instance. As such, proning the subject out on the ground may have been entirely appropriate depending on the information that they were given. If I receive a call that someone is behaving in a menacing manner with a gun, then show-up at the scene and immediately get approached by the reported suspect who is obviously armed, I'd probably be inclined to quickly take control of the situation (whether that means cuffing the subject, proning them out on the ground, or something else is entirely a factor of how the situation unfolds when I get there... tactics are a fluid sort of thing).

5) My first concern when I respond to a call is to make sure the situation is safe for everyone involved. I'll later determine whether or not a crime has been committed, and proceed accordingly from that point. Sometimes the wrong person gets detained when I arrive at a call, because I don't go into these situations knowing the whole story.

By way of example for point #5, I responded to a call the other day where a woman was allegedly being beaten by her boyfriend. When I arrived at the scene I heard a woman screaming and crying, and saw a guy trying to hold her to the ground. The woman yelled to me that the man was beating her. I quickly gave the male subject orders, and placed this party in handcuffs. Further investigation revealed that the male subject was the older brother of the female subject, and was trying to hold the female down because she was suicidal, had just taken a bunch of pills, and was trying to run away from the home. He was holding her down in an attempt to contain the situation until an ambulance could arrive. He was obviously released at the scene, and thanked for his cooperation. The female ended up going to the hospital on a mental health hold. But, who could have seen that coming based on the information I "knew" going into the call?

So, to apply this logic to the OP's situation, consider being the officer who gets this call from their dispatcher:

"661, check a report of a male party causing a disturbance with a gun along Mayfield road. Subject is a WM, 6'0" tall, wearing blue jeans, a white shirt, and approximately 30 years old. We've received two calls regarding this person so far; unknown if any shots have been fired in the area."

You respond to the area and see a party who exactly matches that description (obviously I don't know what the OP was wearing, or what he looks like, so I was just using the above description as an example). This party immediately approaches the side of your car with a video camera pointing at you, and is obviously armed with a gun (open carry). How would you react?

I'm not saying there is a right or wrong answer on this one, as every situation is slightly different, but I'm just reminding everyone to look at the other side of the coin before passing judgement on the officers every time! Again, if you go looking for trouble, as I imagine the OP was, you will probably find it eventually!

July 11, 2009, 02:43 AM
He is quite confrontational and seems to be bent on inflaming the situation by giving the police officers a harder time than would be necessary with his attitude fluctuating between smart@ss and @ssh0le. Actually, aside from pointing a gun at him(which was the worst part, seemed too aggressive), I believe the officers were reasonably cautious.

Right idea, poorly executed.

July 11, 2009, 02:48 AM
He has several vids of him doing this on different ocassions.

Wouldn't take a bet that he was the one to place the concerned citizen call just to get some reaction.

July 11, 2009, 02:49 AM
Sounds like he wanted to test the Police, and the Police tested him. Seems foolish to walk up to a police car w/a gun. The Op wanted an confrontation , WHY??? Does he want the state to revoke open carry? :confused:

July 11, 2009, 03:39 AM
The guy could have kept his mouth closed a bit more but honestly those cops were being a little rambunctious about this.

My local police station asks questions to determine if there is activity going on that warrants and officer responding. In other words, they know OC is legal and don't mind it happening. In this case it appears that even the dispatchers didn't know the law and the cops reacted very poorly.

I think the guy talks too much but what he did was show the world how ignorant our peace officers, the stations, the dispatchers, etc... really are. Apparently OC is a crime because the officer doesn't know if you have a felony and they need to stop you to figure that out. Or perhaps you are on medications and they need to stop you to figure out if you are... that's uhm, wrong.

OC is legal and the police have no right to stop anyone for doing it. Doesn't it seem like the officer was assuming guilt? Last I checked U.S. citizens were innocent until proven guilty. Honestly, I would take this court and sue for my attorney fees just to set the precedence.


July 11, 2009, 04:09 AM
I carry openly quite frequently. I would be outraged if the police treated me like this. IF IT IS LEGAL IT IS LEGAL. Why have so many of you forgotten that? If it's not illegal, the cops have no justification to do anything at all. They need to move along and do something else. Most officers in the free states understand this. Those who think they write the laws in the squad car ARE jackboot scum and DO need to be disciplined. If nobody refuses to step to the back of the bus this will just continue.

Rule #1 has always been, and will always be, that I go home safe at the end of my shift.

I thought Rule #1 was to enforce the laws and uphold the Constitution. Didn't you swear an oath to that effect? I doubt "doing whatever I personally feel I should to be safe" was in that oath. LEO's need to leave people alone unless they're actually breaking a law. Cops are not out there to enforce mores, customs, or to slap people around who don't look like they belong. Going down that road has gotten them and the cities and counties they represent into loads of trouble down the decades.

I'm also not at all sure what "looking for trouble" means. He's either breaking a law or he isn't. THERE IS NO MIDDLE WAY HERE. It's a black or white question--one that LEO's where I come from don't seem to have the same problem dealing with. I've walked right past them with openly carried cannons that would destroy a cruiser's engine, right in the middle of downtown. Nobody bats an eye. Nobody cares. Then I go and do my trade or whatever and come back with the new iron in hand. That doesn't even get into the times I've ridden around town with a bear gun sticking out of a scabbard on my backpack. Am I "looking for trouble"? The OP seemed to realize trouble was headed his way, but that doesn't mean he wanted it to happen. He broke no law, and for me that's the beginning and end of the question.

July 11, 2009, 04:29 AM
+1 (That's all I had to say, but I needed more characters).

July 11, 2009, 05:57 AM
Saying "you're on camera right now" a million times is stupid.
Arguing with an officer about the law is stupid.

The female officer gives him good advice. exercise your right to.... "close your mouth."

"Everybody can't have a weapon, do you understand that?"

Those officers sound less than educated. I'm not just talking about the law but on English grammar.

July 11, 2009, 06:05 AM
Ok so the way I heard it, the female officer at the end said a complaint was phoned in and they detained freedom fighter for the investigation. The way I see it they were investigating a nonexistent problem. It would be the same as if someone called in a complaint because someone being of a certain race was walking down the sidewalk. There's no crime against being [insert race here].

The part about not knowing if someone is legally allowed to own a gun is absurd. Do those LEOs pull people to make sure every driver has a license.

Double Naught Spy
July 11, 2009, 06:48 AM
Joseph Ponikvar certainly knows the law inside and out with his big AG handbook in his pocket. He does not understand the difference between being detained and being arrested. Of course, telling the officers their business isn't going to fly just like Ponikvar didn't appreciate being told the law. In listening, I heard him tell the officers things that were wrong and they told him things that were wrong. There seems to be a lot of ignorance going on there, but stupidity on behalf of Ponikvar.

As near as I can tell, the point of the video is to show that there is ignorance about the law. Great! HOWEVER, Ponikvar could have been completely cooperative, non-combative and accomplished the same task without looking like an idiot looking for a fight. He could have been ordered to the ground, engaged in non-criticizing discussion with the cops, had the same outcome, and then had a positive RKBA video that he could have taken to the chief of police to show that there are officers ignorant of appropriate laws, but that isn't what he did. Instead, he couched the whole affair in making it sound like the officers, who were apparently ignorant, were some sort of power hungry state police who wanted nothing better to do than to hassle him.

I would contend that had the officers not been ignorant of this aspect of the law, they would not have hassled him in that manner. Should they have been ignorant? No. Ignorance does not mean that they are emulating the Gestapo or acting like Ohio is Germany, however.

I have yet to meet an officer who knew every law inside and out. In fact, I have yet to meet a lawyer or judge who does either. Lawyers and judges have libraries of law books for reference. I don't know how many tomes that police car could carry, but I am willing to bet that the officer doesn't have a library in the car.

Until which time the officers determined everything was okay, in compliance with the law, they operated as best they could given the situation and attitude of Ponikvar. Funny how that isn't part of the video.

July 11, 2009, 06:59 AM
In the "My 2% of a Buck" category...

Open carry is legal in most states...but in the last 25 years or so, it's not really acceptable in and around the general population. A sad sign of the times. With the relatively recent rampage shootings, a report of "Man with a Gun" gets the attention of the local cops on the beat like right now. They understandably don't want to take any chances.

They also don't want to get shot. When they bark orders and prone you out, it's not for the purpose of showing their authority or coming across like the Gestapo. It's called threat management. I know that there are a few who are a little overly enthusiastic about this phase of the encounter...but try to understand that they don't want any gunplay on a public street.

And yes...There are law enforcement people at all levels who don't know the laws governing carry and transport of a loaded firearm. There's also a small percentage who don't want you to have a gun, regardless of the laws, and will use anything that they can to relieve you of yours.

You'll find that the attitudes in rural areas are a little more agreeable when it comes to open carry. Country folk are more accustomed to encountering shotguns and rifles in pickup truck racks and revolvers on belts. City folk...not so much so. Couple that with the TV/film industry's indoctrination that "Only cops should have guns" and if you walk down a city street with one on your hip...you are going to draw some negative attention, and you're going to have to talk to a few cops before you get home.

Not so many years ago, I sometimes open carried into the Forsyth County Sheriff's office in downtown Winston-Salem to go get a pistol permit, and I wasn't trying to make a statement. In those days, it wasn't such a big deal, and it wasn't at all uncommon to see citizens carrying sidearms in the open. Not many people gave it a second glance, unless it was to admire and/or discuss the gun. Today, I wouldn't carry a gun on my belt openly in that same town if you paid me. Things have changed in the last 20 years or so...radically. Before the change, openly carrying most often rated no more than a curious glance from a police officer or deputy...and very often opened a dialogue about gun stuff. Since the change, it would very likely get you handcuffed.

While I absoultely support the right to carry...openly or concealed...there are times that it's just not a good idea to rattle the dog's cage. Why invite a hassle?

July 11, 2009, 07:32 AM
Please read the guidelines for the Activism and Discussion and Planning sub-forum.

Heck, just read the name of the forum. Video links for the sake of views don't cut it.

This thread is closed.

I also snapped your link.

Please follow the rules of the forum.

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