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From the VCDL Alert sent out last night:

VCDL's Gun Dealer Legal Defense Fund -- help fight Mayor Bloomberg's
scheme to cripple Virginia firearms dealers. See: http://www.vcdl.org/index.html#DefenseFund
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It's 3:45 AM, I'm still wired, there could be 'type-os' in this
(sorry). I simply don't know what better sums it up than "!!WOW!!"
There were way over 100 VCDL members and supporters at the Manassas
City Council meeting tonight.

The Manassas City Council members were clearly shocked by the numbers.

The Mayor led off by saying that he could not remember ever seeing
such a large crowd for **anything** they had done before!

I brought 40 'Guns Save Lives' badges that were distributed in
minutes, leaving over half of the people without a badge. :-(

We not only filled up all the seating (100 seats - about 95% of them
VCDL members), we lined BOTH walls and ran out into the hall!

A good portion of the members were open carrying during the meeting.
No uniformed officers in sight (but there were some plain clothes
officers in the audience).

I led off, taking 10 minutes to describe the situation, describing
the problem with officers who would abuse their power to coerce the
restaurant owner to kick the 7 innocent gun owners out, and calling
for the SEVERE reprimand or FIRING of Officers Chad Hyland, Rickey
Clodfelter, and Tina Pannell. Hyland and Clodfelter for their total
disdain for law-abiding gun owners and coercing the restaurant owner
into kicking out the gun owners, and Pannell because as a SUPERVISOR
she should have known better and put a stop to the 'kicking out the
good guys' situation. I did say that a demotion would be acceptable
for her, but that she clearly was not an acceptable supervisor.

When I was finished, the Mayor read a letter from Chief Skinner,
saying, fairly enough, that he couldn't comment as there was an
active investigation into the matter.

I was followed one speaker after the other for over 1.5 hours - each
person getting three minutes!

The speakers were all superb, showing City Council, in no uncertain
terms, that none of us are 'assclowns.'

Also THREE of the 7 gun owners at Tony's that fateful night spoke.

The Mayor was very congenial and several speakers made a point of
thanking City Council for making the audience feel 'at home' (but
still asking Council to fix the problem at hand). We had speakers
come from over 200 miles away and a good share were Manassas
residents, too!

After the meeting, 30 of us headed over to a local IHOP for a meal.

Everyone was jubilant - as we all had felt the power and comradery in
the City Council Room that night. For many this was their first
experience going from a gun-rights supporter to a gun-rights
activist. Caution! I don't think there is anyway to go back,
either. ;-)

Member Matt Gottshalk was there making a professional quality video
which will be online in a day or two for those of you who would like
to see and hear key parts of the meeting. He will cut it down to 6
speakers - myself, Jim Snyder, Dennis O'Connor, and three of the
seven people at Tony's Pizza that fateful night in January. I will
send an alert when the video is ready to view.

Channel 4 (NBC) in NoVA already ran a story on the meeting at 11 PM.

The Potomac News story covering the meeting is below. It is very
well done and includes a picture to put things in perspective.
Reporter Elisa Glushefski explains the Virginia open carry laws in
the article, too - an additional bonus!

In case you are wondering about my elaborate hand gesture - I was
turning to ask all gun owners who were in support of VCDL's position
to raise their hand.

They did and, boy, was that a lot of hands in the air!

BTW, this was the single biggest turnout for a VCDL action at any
city, town, or county government meeting ever! We can turn out 60
members under good conditions, but over 100 is way beyond the norm!
Tidewater held the record when we attended a Norfolk City Council
meeting some years ago, but Northern Virginia has just thrown down
the gauntlet big time! ;-)

As long as we can turn out lots of gun owners for things such as this
and, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, do what we did so very well
tonight, we will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in
Virginia.

GOOD WORK, VCDL! I'M PROUD OF YOU!

http://tinyurl.com/ywueut

Gun rights group takes case to council
By ELISA A. GLUSHEFSKI
[email protected]
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More than 50 gun rights advocates protested police conduct during an
incident at a city restaurant with some calling for the firing of
several of the officers involved at Monday night's Manassas City
Council meeting. [It was more than 50, but it was also well over 100,
too. - PVC]

The public outcry comes two weeks after Springfield-resident Russ
Troxel filed a complaint against the police department about an
incident involving him and six friends who were openly carrying their
weapons while dining at Tony's New York Pizza on Mathis Avenue on the
evening of Jan. 13.

A second complaint was filed Friday by Fairfax resident Mark Anderson
who states that among other things the officers overstepped their
authority by "coercing" the owner of Tony's to kick them out after
they had already been there for nearly an hour.

Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League
Inc., asked at the meeting that three of the seven responding
officers - Tina Pannell, Chad Hyland and Rickey Clodfelter - be
reprimanded or fired.

Van Cleave said that as the supervisor at the scene, Pannell should
have taken control of the situation and told the other officers that
they were legally allowed to openly carry their weapons there.

"If the police can't do this right then we've got a big problem," he said.

The incident started with a 911 call from an unnamed man who reported
that the men's guns were making him uncomfortable.

It was the initial antagonistic attitude of Hyland, who demanded IDs
from the men even though they weren't committing a crime, and the
officer's ignorance of the law that Troxel's and others said is
unacceptable.

Troxel, who was among those who attended the meeting, said the
officers also refused to accept paperwork documenting the state's
open-carry law.

Police Chief John J. Skinner said he would like to comment publicly
but can't because the complaints are part of an internal
investigation.

The timeline for the investigation could be extended if new
information or witnesses is revealed, he said, adding that he plans
to discuss the new complaint with the investigator today.

The men say they were within their rights because Virginia law
requires that weapons be carried in the open in places that serve
alcohol.

And while carrying a concealed weapon requires a court-issued permit,
no permit is required to carry a gun in the open.

The manager of Tony's has said that the men were asked to leave
because of several complaints the restaurant received from regular
customers.

In Anderson's complaint, he also says that one of the officers cursed
at him "repeatedly" throughout the incident.

At least two of the officers refer to the men "assclowns" and
"retards" in intradepartmental messages and e-mails that were
obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Mike
Stollenwerk, one of the founders of Open carry.org.

In an e-mail Clodfelter sent five of the other officers the day after
the incident, he copied the state code that prohibits patrons from
carrying concealed weapons in any place that serves alcohol and
concludes that they were legally allowed to carry their guns openly
that night.

In the same e-mail, Clodfelter also wrote: "My guess is the
over-compensating assclowns at Tony's were hyper-aware of all this,
and that's why they started crying like little babies when their
event got spoiled by the whole 'let's get the owner to tell them to
get the f-- out' thing."

Troxel and the six other men are members of a forum on Open carry.org.

Skinner said he would release the findings of the internal
investigation when it is completed.

***************************************************************************
VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL).
VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to
defending the human rights of all Virginians. The membership considers the
Right to Keep and Bear Arms to be an essential human right.

VCDL web page: http://www.vcdl.org
***************************************************************************
Good for them!
 

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I am impressed that this group is standing up for their rights. I wonder how this one will end up? I wonder what kind of retribution the police department will have back towards citizens exercising their rights, if any. Now that this issue is public how will this either help or hurt people carrying openly.

Should be interesting to follow.
 

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WOW

Thanks for posting that mzmtg. Would you mind posting a link to the video when it goes live please? I very much want to see that.
 

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Out-freaking-standing!!

Numbers talk when the written law is behind them. The officers SHOULD be fired and never allowed to work in a LEO capacity again...not even as a school crossing guard.

And before I get flamed with the comments like "officers are people too, and can make mistakes", I refer you to government's favorite response:

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse."
 

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Newest VCDL Alert
*****Emails*****

The Manassas event on Monday has really a hot topic in the gun cyberspace. I believe that Gun Week is going to do a story on it as well.

Lots of positive and grateful emails flowing in.

Mark Anderson sent this:

"Philip,

As one of the 'hyper-aware, overcompensating ass-clowns' who was ejected from Tony's and run out of town on the night of January 13, WOW can hardly begin to explain how I feel about the turnout last night. I wish there were some way I could express my thanks personally to all of the VCDL members who came and stayed late to make their comments known, and to those who have filed formal complaints, and to others who have expressed support in other ways. This is truly a humbling experience for me and I know for others of the Tony's 7.

...I don't think the behavior of the Manassas police will be swept under the rug after this kind of showing.

Well done VCDL!

Mark Anderson"

There was one not so nice phone call from a drunk in NoVA that screamed at the top of his lungs that I didn't understand the Constitution. Lots of flowery language. He hung up before I could even ask him to explain the Constitution to me so I would be better versed in the future. :-(

Dennis O'Connor couldn't help but quip at the press when they go a little crazy in their prose whenever gun owners are involved:

"And in a scene reminiscent of the OK Corral, several reporters swaggered in packing cameras. You expect to hear "Need a tintype, pardner?" as they assumed an aggressive stance at the edge of the crowded room. These first amendment zealots never miss an opportunity to flaunt their so-called "rights," just like the in-your-face camera-toting newspapermen of the old west."

One of our EMs did say that he thought I was going to easy on the Chief of Police, Skinner. He said that even with an on going investigation, the police can still tell you who is being investigated and their current status (on paid/unpaid leave, working behind a desk, etc.)

*****Stories*****

Here is the link to NBC, Channel 4's coverage with video:

http://www.nbc4.com/news/11122593/detai ... dlineclick

Gun Rights Activists Fight City Of Manassas Police Conduct Internal Investigation

CITY OF MANASSAS, Va. -- A group in Virginia had a run-in with police when they went to a pizza parlor in the City of Manassas with guns on their sides.

The incident happened Jan. 18 at Tony's New York Pizza. Seven members of a group called opencarry.org met at the restaurant for dinner and to talk about their support for gun rights. Each man was armed, and although they had permits to carry a concealed weapon, they displayed their guns openly on their hips.

Virginia law requires them to do that in a place that serves alcohol.

Co-owner Joe D'Agostino, who was working that night told NBC4 some officers walked in and said some customers had complained.

"The officers came in and they told us they had received a call saying there were these armed men," D'Agostino said. "I'm not exactly sure from whom. They told us at that point we were the business owners and it was our choice whether we wanted the men to stay or if we wanted them to leave."

More than 100 gun-rights supporters packed the Manassas City Council chambers Monday night. They complained that the Manassas City police harassed the seven Tony's Pizza diners.

Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League said, "And the problem we have here is, we have police who went up to a restaurant owner, knowing they had nothing on the people sitting there and coerced them into getting them to leave."

D'Agostino said he supports everyone's rights until it interferes with his right to run a business.

"Do you need a gun to come here to Tony's, I don't think so," he said.

An internal police investigation is under way, NBC4 reported. It includes text message type e-mails that the officers allegedly sent between themselves that night, referring to the gun owners in some very derogatory terms.

--

More Potomac News coverage:

http://tinyurl.com/2842m2

Complaint filed against city police officers
By ELISA A. GLUSHEFSKI
[email protected]
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Springfield man filed a complaint Friday against the Manassas
Police Department, saying that an officer's ignorance of Virginia's
open-carry weapons laws created an unnecessary and tense situation
for him and six friends at a city pizza restaurant.

On Jan. 13, Russ Troxel said he and six other members of a Second
Amendment rights Web site forum Opencarry.org met at Tony's New York
Pizza for dinner.

According to Troxel, they walked in with their guns holstered at
their sides and ordered their food.

Virginia is known as an open-carry state. While carrying a concealed
weapon requires a court-issued permit, no permit is required to carry
a gun in the open.

Around 8:11 p.m., a police officer responded to a call at the
restaurant from an unnamed diner who reported that the men were not
causing any trouble but their weapons made him uncomfortable.

Troxel said the man had approached two of his friends while they were
ordering their food and called them "yahoos" and "dorks."

About 30 minutes later a Manassas police officer arrived and, Troxel
said, "loudly and antagonistically" asked if the men were police
officers and, after learning that none were, demanded to see their
IDs.

Within nine minutes, six other officers came to the Mathis Avenue
restaurant, according to the Manassas police department's call
information log.

The men tried to explain that because Tony's serves alcohol they were
required by law to openly carry their firearms, Troxel said, but the
first responding officer refused to listen and eventually became
hostile.

One of the officers helped to defuse the situation, Troxel said in a
telephone interview Tuesday, but several others overstepped their
authority and were unnecessarily rude in doing so.

"The actions and attitudes [of the officers] is intolerable in a free
nation," Russ Troxel said in the complaint.

Police Chief John J. Skinner said he would like to comment publicly
but can't because the complaint is part of an internal investigation.
He would not release the names of the officers.

According to the department's call information log, obtained through
a Freedom of Information Act request, Officer Chad Hyland was the
first to respond, followed by Officers Joshua Thompson, Rickey
Clodfelter, Sean Ellis, Marc Hittle, Tina Pannell and Carrie Sutton.

Troxel also accuses police of "suggesting or implying" something to
the owner of Tony's to get him to ask Troxel and his friends to
leave. The men hadn't been confronted about the weapons by any of the
restaurant staff in the 45 minutes that they had been sitting there
until after police arrived, he said.

Joe D'Agostino, manager of Tony's, said that the restaurant does not
have a policy on openly carrying weapons.

But because they had received several complaints from regular
customers, he and the owner told the men they would have to put their
guns in their vehicles or leave, D'Agostino said.

Officers used derogatory terms to describe the men and their group in
several e-mails and messages sent within the department following the
incident, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of
Information Act request by Mike Stollenwerk, one of the founders of
Open carry.org.

Stollenwerk was not at the restaurant at the time of the incident.

In an e-mail Clodfelter sent five of the other officers the day after
the incident, he copied the state code that prohibits patrons from
carrying concealed weapons in any place that serves alcohol and
concludes that they were legally allowed to carry their guns openly
that night.

In the same e-mail, Clodfelter also wrote: "My guess is the
over-compensating ass clowns at Tony's were hyper-aware of all this,
and that's why they started crying like little babies when their
event got spoiled by the whole 'lets get the owner to tell them to
get the f-- out' thing."

A lieutenant in the department e-mailed other police departments in
the state on Jan. 17 asking if similar incidents had happened in
their jurisdictions, adding that his opinion "is that the group is
probing local [police departments] in order to see how they will
react" to those type of calls.

An hour later a captain of the Fredericksburg Police Department
replied that a group of men had "attempted the same type of act" in
the Fredericksburg area and that they were "lawsuit shopping."

Troxel said the group chose Tony's restaurant for its central location.

"We weren't lawsuit shopping," he said, adding that he also denies
that the group was testing the department's knowledge of open-carry
laws.

Use of vulgar or profane language is a violation of the department's
computer and electronic messaging policy, Skinner said.

He began a supervisory review of the incident in early February after
receiving the Freedom of Information Act request two weeks earlier.
He said it could take up to 30 days to get the findings of the
department's internal investigation.

***** Videos and pictures *****

As promised, here are some video of 6 of the many speakers. The
first video has me, Dennis O'Connor, and Jim Snyder. On the second
video there are three of the people who were harassed at Tony's -
Andrew Amarine, Michael Landstreet (listen to this guy's resume!),
and Mark Anderson:

http://www.vcdl.org/Tonys/VCDL_Manassas.wmv
http://www.vcdl.org/Tonys/tonys3of7.wmv

Ian Branson posted pictures of all the speakers that night. He has a
superb picture of all the gun owners raising their hand to show
support for VCDL's position:

http://tinyurl.com/2gmqy5

There will more photos posted to the VCDL site soon.

***************************************************************************
VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL).
VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to
defending the human rights of all Virginians. The membership considers the
Right to Keep and Bear Arms to be an essential human right.

VCDL web page: http://www.vcdl.org
 
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