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Police apologize to Knoxville gun owner for stopping him

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Drizzt, Sep 23, 2007.

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  1. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    If one does not sue the officer, department and city, then what incentive would the city, department, officer have to modify their behavior? This man should have the keys to City Hall and should be screaming bloody murder to the Prosecuting Attorney about Battery, Fraud and Criminal Confinement.

    Sue them all, ask for ___ million dollars, a court ordered gun rights sensitivity training for the department and city, construction and maintenence of several public shooting ranges by the city, free ammunition to gun owners at ranges, public service announcements by the city announcing their apology and defending the right to arms, and a bunch of other stuff I can come up with. Remedies like these have been used in past civil rights suits. It's past time that gun owners use them.

    A judgment like this against Knoxville will not just benefit our friend at Coal Creek Armory. It will benefits hundreds of thousands of gun owners across the country when the city attorneys and police departments hear about this lawsuit.
     
  2. Blackfork

    Blackfork Member

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    as Jeff White says

    As Jeff White, the THR moderator and officer says: Being stupid should HURT. I don't think this officer has had anything more than a laugh and some jokes at his expense.
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Trevor is a member here and may eventually post to fill in the blanks and provide the details.

    http://knoxnews.com/news/2007/sep/22/gun-owner-receives-apology/

    Trevor Putnam knew the gun laws. The officer who stopped him didn’t.

    “When I told him that I hadn’t done anything, he said he’d find a reason to put me in jail,” said Putnam, 24, who works with guns every day as vice president of Coal Creek Armory in West Knoxville.

    “It’s not that I have a problem with police officers. I deal with police officers nationwide from Arizona to Maine every day. But I lost my confidence in a legal right that I knew I had.”

    Knoxville police officers will get a refresher course on the state’s gun permit laws after an officer who didn’t know the law stopped, frisked and threatened to arrest Putnam for legally carrying a gun inside a Wal-Mart this summer.

    Officer Glenn Todd Greene’s actions June 21 at the store on Walbrook Drive in West Knoxville earned him a written reprimand and remedial training for rudeness and not knowing the law, Internal Affairs records show. He’s worked for the Knoxville Police Department for about seven years.

    Putnam got a written apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.

    “The officer was wrong I want to personally apologize to you for any embarrassment or inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of this incident,” the chief wrote.

    “The Knoxville Police Department takes pride in the training offered to its officers, and the training provided far exceeds state requirements. Unfortunately, officers aren’t perfect, and sometimes mistakes are made. As you can see from the remedial measures taken, we want to learn from our mistakes so they won’t be repeated in the future.”

    The trouble started when Putnam and his girlfriend, Samantha Williams, stopped at the store to buy groceries around 10 p.m. Putnam, who holds a gun permit, carried his Colt handgun inside with him, holstered on his right hip.

    “It’s like a seat belt or a fire extinguisher,” he said. “It goes everywhere with me. It was warm that night, so I left my jacket in the car.”

    State law allows gun permit holders to carry their guns openly or concealed. Putnam said he usually tucks his shirt over the gun but forgot to that night.

    As they walked out, Greene, who’d gone to the store to investigate a shoplifting call, told Putnam to stop. Greene asked for Putnam’s identification, grabbed his arm when he reached for his wallet and then asked why he carried a gun in public, records show.

    Putnam ended up against a concrete wall being frisked as Greene took his gun.

    “It’s called a concealed carry permit. State law says you carry it concealed, not in plain view (with the) hammer back,” Greene said. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I can put you in jail for something. It’s called inducing a panic.”

    Greene ultimately let Putnam go after talking with another officer but told him to pull his shirt over the gun. He told Internal Affairs investigators he thought Tennessee and Ohio, where he previously served as a police officer, prohibited open carrying. Neither state does.

    “There’s an issue there where there could be panic,” he said in a recorded statement. “I’m thinking the law is a concealed law. I’m not going to deal with a guy that has a loaded gun until I secure a weapon.”

    Greene said he asked other officers about the law and that they didn’t know, either.

    Investigators reviewed video from Greene’s in-car camera and found him in violation of KPD policy. They sustained part of Putnam’s complaint but ruled Greene hadn’t used excessive force in putting him against the wall.

    Putnam questions that decision.

    “On the one hand, I’m glad they didn’t ignore it,” he said. “On the other, I don’t feel it was a wholly appropriate response to everything the officer threatened to do.”

    The department trains all recruits on the state’s gun permit laws, said KPD Lt. Jeff Stiles, who oversees training for the department. All officers will get another dose of training during the next annual session, he said.

    “We don’t get that many questions about it over here,” Stiles said. “But we cover that aspect. We go straight to the experts to teach the law. We don’t guess, and we don’t speculate.”
     
  4. MASTEROFMALICE

    MASTEROFMALICE member

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    Fear not. I'm putting together a lynch mob as we speak. We'll hang him from a tree! That'll show those fools who try to save our lives!
     
  5. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    It costs money to sue somebody, takes several years for it to come to trial, and meanwhile all the cops in town hate you.

    OTOH, it doesn't cost anything to file *criminal* charges and let the state pursue the legal action. The DA or the grand jury may eventually drop the charges, but at least the guy will sweat for a while, and it increases the chance that the dept fires him. (if the bad cop does end up doing jail time or loses his RKBA I wouldn't lose any sleep over it)

    Bob
     
  6. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    I don't think anyone has taken it to that extreme, Master. A false arrest does not protect anyone, it is the essence of tyranny.

    People have called for the equal application of the civil and criminal law, giving the officer full due process. Afterall the police are not/should not be above the law.
     
  7. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    I'd like to see something done about the threat of bogus charges. The department needs to make an example of the officer for that alone.
     
  8. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    Whose life was that cop "saving" when he committed his various crimes and civil torts?

    Are you saying that police should be able to commit crimes and civil torts with impunity?
     
  9. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    zxcv, what you say is true as to the civil side (it is up to the DA to pursue the criminal case), civil litigation takes time and money, but a case like this builds excellent precedent for other gun owners (e.g. the Schubert or Kellog cases in Indiana). Further, expenses of litigation could be offset by potential donations or fundraisers.
     
  10. MASTEROFMALICE

    MASTEROFMALICE member

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    Tejon, I know no one has taken it to that extreme but I've generally learned that the easiest way to show the idiocy of someone's argument is to take it a step further.

    Two things bother me about this whole situation.

    First and foremost is that the guy has been punished. A written reprimand for a cop is, indeed, a serious thing. On top of that the department admitted fault and is moving to recitfy the problem. But that's not enough, right? There are a bunch of blood-thirsty cop-haters on this board calling for all-out war on the cop, his department, and his city.

    The problem is solved, he's been punished and I highly doubt he'll do it again.

    Second (and therefore NOT foremost) is the veracity of the initial story. I'm not saying I do or don't believe the events as the OP presented them. I am saying that I wasn't there, and neither were most, if any, of the other posters.

    Everyone loves to be a victim, and no matter how much of a hand they had to play in the events they will always portray themselves as an angel.

    Don't EVER believe a one-sided argument. It reminds me of the people who call the cops to report that they've been mugged, but forget to mention that it was $1000.00 worth of crack that was stolen.
     
  11. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Master, I understand your position, however please consider that:

    1. The officer's punishment was administrative only. I do beleive that there should be an administrative punishment but being punished on the admin side does not absolve him, the department or the city from their obligation under civil and criminal law. As I said earlier, no one is above the law.

    2. A civil suit, coupled with criminal charges, will teach this officer, this department and this city FAR more than a letter in the file. It will be a massive boost to the RKBA.

    3. Civil and criminal action will provide a needed lesson to other police departments across the nation. As well it will teach gun owners not to be the doormats that we have been so often in the past in looking the other way during civil rights violations.
     
  12. MASTEROFMALICE

    MASTEROFMALICE member

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    True, but you're still assuming the "victim" is telling the truth.

    He may be. Who knows? If he goes to court and it's shown that he's exaggerating or outright lying, then what? Will everyone here suddenly back the cop and recommend a counter-suit?

    It's no great secret that I'm a cop but I wasn't born one. I've seen this from both sides and the same things I was railing against as a kid I find myself doing out of necessity now.

    People complain about our "us vs. them" mentality and complain about how we stick together and back each other but then I look around and find myself surrounded by people who have absolutely no idea what we have to put up with to put a criminal in jail telling me how I could do my job better. Some people make it obvious they don't want cops on the street at all.

    People use the argument that a cop may not be there when they need them as an argument to abandon the entire criminal justice system. So that's the grand plan, is it? Things don't always work perfectly so why even bother trying?

    It's not like people are being unreasonable. All they want are perfect god-like machines for police officers.

    I'm only human, you how I know? Because this job has become almost unbearable.
     
  13. Tim Burke

    Tim Burke Member

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    We may have only heard one side of the story, but Internal Affairs has heard both, and the department saw fit to punish him. That leads me to believe that the one side of the story we've heard is pretty much true.
    My biggest gripe with the officer is his expressed willingness to make up charges. The victim is not the sole witness to the officer's utterances; he identifies two witnesses that were standing right there when the officer made them. That leads me to believe that portion of the story is true, too. This is easily investigated, and if confirmed, he should be fired.
    Unfortunately, we don't have a video tape of this episode.
     
  14. Blackfork

    Blackfork Member

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    Police-bashing.

    If I was a police chief, before I let this knothead ruin the reputation of my dept, threaten previous cases and generally drag policing through the mud, I'd can him, cuff him and ask everyone else if there was anything they wanted.

    Make no mistake- THIS policeman- and the other LEOs who mug old ladies for their revolvers in New Orleans, turn off their cruiser cams and threaten young folks in parking lots, taze drunk sobbing women in parking lots, send or participate in SWAT teams going after traffic warrants that end up burning down a house with tear gas cannisters and blaming it on a candle, while letting the tactical vehicle roll down the hill- THOSE are the guys who are bashing police and LEO reputation.

    Mike Nifong and the Durham PD and courts aside, of course.....

    The folks in here seem like pretty solid pro-police people generally, but they are being PUSHED hard in another direction.....by the police themselves.
     
  15. pax

    pax Member

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    Given that there were multiple eyewitnesses who collaborated his story, and that the officer in question admitted the essence of it, and that the department's investigation came to the same conclusion, that really seems a perfectly valid assumption.

    The facts are not really in dispute here.

    pax
     
  16. MASTEROFMALICE

    MASTEROFMALICE member

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    IA serves only to protect they city, NOT the cop or the citizen. By finding him at fault all they've done is shield the city from a lawsuit by claiming the cop was violating their policy. By not firing him, they protect the city from a wrongful termination lawsuit from the cop.

    Don't take what IA does as honest. If anyone thinks beat cops are corrupt they should see an Internal Affairs detective spin a story.
     
  17. RoadkingLarry

    RoadkingLarry Member

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    Those cops that defend, excuse or "look the other way" when they know about a "bad" cop are no better than that bad cop.

    So MOM what part of threatening to falsify charges comes under the heading of saving lives?

    Of course cops are human and capable of making a mistake, but is threatening to falsify charges a mistake or a choice?
     
  18. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

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    Masterofmalice,

    See reductio ad absurdum; using logical fallacies is fun, but it's no way to win debates.

    I worked with Mr. Putnam every day for almost two and a half years. I have no reason to believe he is falsifying his account. (Which was apparently corroborated by the audio from the officer's in-cruiser camera.)
     
  19. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Master, if there were any dispute to the facts, there would have been no apology and no administrative action taken. The apology by the department is an admission against interest.

    You may never know for certain until you get into the litigation further, but seems to me that the facts are solid enough to initiate action against the officer, department and city.
     
  20. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    Crab fishermen put their lives on the line everyday and I don't hear them complaining. AFAIK police work isn't even in the top five most dangerous jobs.

    Also, I'll never understand why some cops reflexively rush to defend every freakin' numbskull in their ranks.

    BTW in seconds I will get called a cop-basher.
     
  21. pax

    pax Member

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    SuperNaut,

    You'll get called a cop-basher because that was bashing.

    Some cops do indeed rush to the defense of numbskulls within the ranks. But not all do, nor even most. Most just keep their heads down and do their jobs. Some defend such idiocy, some critique such idiocy. Almost as if ... as if ... as if the whole group was comprised of ordinary human beings who make ordinary human choices.

    Painting with that broad brush is easy, but it's a bit too sloppy.

    Follow the link to LawDog's blog in my first post back on page 1 of this thread, and see if you can repeat what you said with a straight face.

    pax
     
  22. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Member

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    I'll modify it to read "some."

    Okay, will do.
     
  23. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    Officer Greene needs to be unemployed ... if nothing else because when Officer Greene drags an actual, guilty scumbag in front of the judge, any defense attorney worth his weight in stale marshmallows can destroy Officer Greene's credibility in 10-15 seconds flat.

    As for the civil liberties issues here, thats just another reason to can Greene.
     
  24. Deanimator

    Deanimator Member

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    I want the police to perform their duties in a professional manner and to obey the law. When they violate the law, I want them to be punished in the same way as anyone else.

    Do you consider that unreasonable? If so, do you believe that police should not be subject to the law which they themselves enforce?

    If I were to batter a police officer on the basis of an INCORRECT belief regarding the law in ANOTHER state, what do you think should happen to me?

    When someone claims [as I've seen police and their supporters do] that police should be held to a LOWER standard than citizens, it puts police in a bad light.

    For the results of this vicious cycle of police criminality, excuse making and public mistrust, I invite your attention to the Chicago PD.
     
  25. MASTEROFMALICE

    MASTEROFMALICE member

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    Where do you see that in the story? Everyone has blown this so far out of proportion that they're starting to BELIEVE the exaggerations. The cop said he'd get him for inciting unrest. How is that falsifying charges?

    Did the cop stand before a magistrate or judge and swear that the guy was breaking the law? No.

    Alright, here it is. I'm calling BS on the entire series of events as portrayed in the first link.

    Notice how ColtCCO always speaks with the utmost in reverence and respect and does so with perfect grammar? Notice how the cop is outlandishly violent from the get go and makes threats while using slang and poor grammar? (I gotta carry concealed...)

    Notice how Colt always remains calm and collected (he ends all his own quotes with a period) while the mean old cop is a screaming lunatic (multiple uses of exclamation points for the cops quotes.)

    He starts the whole story off thanking an unknown entity that the psychopathic cop didn't gun him down on the spot (thankfully, or I might have a hole in me right now).

    Timekeeper, mark it. I'm officially calling BS on this spin job.
     
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