Wheeling, WV Agrees to Pay $55K to Settle 2nd Amendment Suit


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Bubbles
February 4, 2013, 04:37 PM
Backstory:
Suit seeks to halt harassment of citizens carrying firearms in Wheeling (http://wvrecord.com/news/236624-suit-seeks-to-halt-harassment-of-citizens-carrying-firearms-in-wheeling)
Keith says he contacted WPD Chief Robert G. Matheny about the encounter he had with Kotson, Jewell and the other officers. According to his suit, Keith says Matheny parroted Kotson and Jewell’s statements that the open carrying of a handgun was so “unnatural and uncommon” that constitutes “suspicious activity” for which WPD officers have grounds to stop and detain someone.

In the course of the conservation, Keith alleges Matheny added that “‘until a court directs me otherwise, [it] will be the policy of the Wheeling Police Department’ to stop, detain, disarm and question any individual who openly carries a handgun.”

Outcome:
Wheeling, WV Agrees to Pay $55K to Settle 2nd Amendment Suit (http://wvrecord.com/news/257544-wheeling-agrees-to-pay-55k-to-settle-2nd-amendment-suit)
City officials have agreed to a monetary settlement, but not to implement policy changes in a civil rights suit accusing police of harassing citizens who exercise their rights to openly carry a firearm.

My opinion: OC is going to become very popular in Wheeling.

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PGT
February 4, 2013, 05:06 PM
WOW. I understand why the police might randomly stop someone open carrying but to make it dept policy...they deserve to be sued.

Also....conservation/conversation. So much for good copy editors at that publication. :P

TRX
February 4, 2013, 05:09 PM
Apparently Wheeling's PD has so many officers they have nothing better to do... looks like a personnel reduction is in order.

steveracer
February 4, 2013, 05:17 PM
If open carrying netted me $55k each time, I would literally be a billionaire.

MagnumDweeb
February 4, 2013, 05:28 PM
Looks like a mix of public sentiment being on the side of open carriers mixed with a desire to have to stop paying their attorneys to defend against the action. If the plaintiff could get the matter before a jury, and the policy was forced to be changed or some large settlement occured, there'd be quite a risk of opening pandora's box.

This was the cheap and easy way to deal with this.

k_dawg
February 4, 2013, 08:04 PM
Lawful open carry is no different than being seen reading the New York Post instead of the New York Times.

It's repugnant for anyone especially LEO sworn to uphold the law to engage in a systematic conspiracy to create a hostile and chilling enviroment for the free excercise of one's rights.

OldMac
February 5, 2013, 03:59 AM
The victim should have a obscenely large shiny revolver engraved with "purchased with the proceeds of the last time i was harrassed by Wheeling PD" and begin walking the streets with an obvious video camera an a tail with a concealed video camera. The public will demand a policy change if they keep taking $55k hits.

REPOMAN
February 5, 2013, 09:52 AM
Thanks for sharing Bubbles......

Yo Mama
February 5, 2013, 09:56 AM
I understand why the police might randomly stop someone open carrying

Why? They broke no law and should not have been stopped. This isn't NY. They don't have a stop and frisk law on the books.

Bubbles
February 5, 2013, 10:35 AM
If open carrying netted me $55k each time, I would literally be a billionaire.
Road trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

splithoof
February 7, 2013, 03:05 AM
Hopefully, more suits of this nature will occur. If we can constantly pepper all these agencies to the point of financial insolvency, we will be rid of a whole bunch of uniformed kings who constantly relish the chance to violate the civil rights of citizens.

md2lgyk
February 7, 2013, 06:06 PM
Wow. I live in WV (Harpers Ferry area) and that certainly hasn't happened here. But that said, I don't OC and have never seen anybody else doing it either. Maybe I'll give it a try - I could use the money LOL.

Mainsail
February 7, 2013, 08:47 PM
I'm surprised they survived, you know, being the first one shot or targeted for their guns and all. :rolleyes:

The police MUST have reasonable articulable suspicion of illegal activity to detain a citizen. If open carry is legal, there is no justification for seizure, period. If civil rights frighten you, you're living in the wrong country.

Warrior1256
February 8, 2013, 06:28 PM
Great!!! I am not anti-cop but police officers have to realize that they have to have good cause to stop and question a citizen. They can't do it just because the citizen is doing something that an officer dosen't agree with.

jon_in_wv
February 8, 2013, 11:49 PM
I agree. Open carry is a legal activity. Stopping you for open carrying is like stopping you in a car because they want to see if it is stolen for no other reason than you are driving a car so its possible it is stolen. I've worked in some type of LE for the past 20 years. There is a difference between acting on reasonable suspicion or just being suspicious because of your own personal prejudice. But I guess I'm from the school of thought that citizens actually SHOULD be better armed than the police.

DavidMS
February 10, 2013, 09:50 PM
The department just got prescient set. Its unlikely they will be attempting to repeat that mistake again soon.

rdhood
February 12, 2013, 06:30 PM
They need to have a WV carry day in Wheeling... starting right in front of the PD. A thousand people open carrying in Wheeling.

Seriously, if they pay out a few more $55k settlements, I suspect WPD Chief Robert G. Matheny will be advised to find himself another job.

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