Illegal Arrest of VCDL Member!

Discussion in 'LEO Encounters' started by Malum Prohibitum, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    The following is from the VCDL Alert:

    VA-ALERT: Norfolk illegally arrests VCDL member!

    And a lawsuit is being prepared.

    Norfolk passed an ILLEGAL 'no guns' ordinance a few months ago (no, I am NOT kidding) and ENFORCED that illegal ordinance against a VCDL member!

    Bad, bad, bad mistake.

    New firearms ordinances, other than those to control discharge or hunting, have been illegal in the Commonwealth since 1987! But Norfolk appears to have been passing a series of gun banning ordinances pertaining to various festivals that the City has put on over the years!

    Unbelievable. And Norfolk, of all places, KNOWS better than to do that. (VCDL has had TWO large turnouts at City Council meetings a few years ago to make sure that City Council was aware of Virginia's preemption laws.)

    But, Norfolk did it anyway and now it's time to pay the piper.

    Worse, within the last month, Norfolk police have also harassed two other gun owners who were lawfully carrying openly, one black and one white - each was accosted on TWO separate occasions! More on those incidents later in the alert.

    Here's the story of the false arrest under an illegal ordinance (if you take blood pressure medicine, now is the time to take it for this is going to be very unsettling). Sorry for the length, but it will read quickly:

    Chet Szymecki arrived at Sail Virginia 2007, a tall ship festival in Norfolk, with his family (wife, their three children, and two other children from other families [all 13 and under]) around 2:30 PM on Sunday, June 10th, 2007.

    As luck would have it, Dennis O'Connor and I were also at that same festival about the same time - but Chet didn't know that we were there and vice versa! Damn, I wish I had known what was about to transpire!

    Chet, who was open carrying on that beautiful day, crossed paths with dozens of officers, with many being cognizant of the fact that he was openly carrying.

    At 4:30 Chet and family had just ordered some waffle cakes and returned to a music area for an upcoming show. Chet was approached by a black female Norfolk Sheriff's officer and was asked if he was a police officer.

    Chet responded, "No."

    The officer then stated that Chet must leave the festival area immediately since he was not permitted to carry a firearm there. At the same time another Sheriff's deputy closed in, and one more hung back a few feet. The officer began communicating on her radio and Chet was expecting the situation to totally dissolve within minutes and he could then continue to enjoy the rest of the show with no further interruption.

    Within a few seconds two groups of officers from the Norfolk Police Department approached from two different directions.

    The primary group had 5-6 officers, and from the look on a Lieutenant's face Chet could tell that things were quickly becoming exponentially worse.

    The Lieutenant came within inches of Chet and in a very condescending tone of voice stated that Chet had two choices: leave the park or go to jail.

    While appearing to be as non-confrontational as possible (one hand holding his waffle cake and the other feeding his mouth) Chet began to reply that this must be a simple misunderstanding since he is permitted to carry.

    Chet was cut off and, as the Lieutenant leaned in to intimidate him, the Lieutenant raised his voice and just about shouted that Chet had only two choices: leave immediately or be arrested.

    Chet was still in shock and once again began to speak. Not waiting to hear what Chet had to say, the Lieutenant immediately told the other officers to arrest Chet!

    In the following seconds Chet had hands all over him. One officer was tugging at Chet's pistol, having much difficulty removing it. Chet was worried about an accidental discharge with his family being literally feet away.

    Other officers were pulling Chet's arms around his back and cuffing him. Chet offered no resistance.

    Chet's wife began to speak and she was immediately pushed back by a black female Sheriff's deputy!

    Chet's children were just about panicking watching their law-abiding father being stripped of his dignity while their mother was being forced back and being told that she may be arrested if she failed to comply.

    Chet's wife attempted to record the scene on her cellular phone and was told she would be arrested if she did not secure her phone immediately!!!

    The police then forcibly escorted Ms. Szymecki and her children off the property and left them standing on a street corner in Norfolk, all alone and without car keys (Chet had them and the police would not retrieve them). How very shameful.

    A totally unnecessary use of force by the police on someone who was not threatening anyone, leaving a wife and young children on a street corner, totally unprotected.

    Congratulations, Norfolk, those police-state tactics would have made Stalin smile warmly at you.

    While being whisked away, Chet stated that he was aware that he was being unlawfully disarmed and detained and he demanded to be released immediately.

    That didn't draw any response.
  2. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    After a few minutes when Chet and the police were in a clear area where an Explosive Ordinance Disposal van was parked, along with many other police vehicles, Chet was instructed to face a wall.

    Chet informed the officers that the handcuffs were agonizingly tight and repeated that he was not a threat to any of them and asked that the handcuffs be loosened.

    Two officers were behind Chet holding him - one officer replied while squeezing the cuffs tighter that "they were not meant to feel comfortable." Nothing like having a sadist on the police payroll. I knew a couple of officers like this who worked the jail in San Antonio.

    Chet was just sickened by the lack of professionalism and, as an ex-law enforcement officer and law abiding citizen, SO AM I!

    After a half hour or so, and asking a few more times to have his cuffs be loosened, Chet was placed in the rear of a squad car. At that time Chet's left hand was totally numb and his right shoulder was aching.

    Chet informed the officer in the police car that Chet was a veteran retired from active service and had sustained injuries in the line of duty - Chet's right arm being one of the injured areas.

    Chet informed him that his right Brachial Plexus nerve group was torn from his spine and he had limited use and mobility of his right arm.
    Chet stated again that he simply wanted the cuffs behind his back to be readjusted.

    The most the officer could offer was a suggestion on how to sit back in the squad car in a comfortable way. Needless to say - Chet, who had done nothing wrong, was very uncomfortable.

    Several times one officer approached Chet and stated that "in a town of 200,000 or more like ours you cannot carry around a gun like you can in other places."

    Chet told the officer that that law did not apply since: (1) the gun Chet was carrying was not classified as a "firearm" in that code section and (2) Chet had a concealed carry permit which rendered the entire section inapplicable to him.

    Chet was told he did not know what he was talking about and Chet had no business carrying a gun while in Norfolk.

    Speaking of being ignorant of Virginia gun laws, that officer needs remedial training. What a disgrace.

    While in the cruiser an officer approached Chet and once again Chet was offered a choice: sign a summons or go visit the magistrate.

    Being unfamiliar with the entire process and not understanding the gravity of the decision, Chet asked for additional clarification. The officer was polite and informed Chet that signing a summons was not an admission of guilt and he was simply promising to show up at a future court date. By not signing the summons Chet would go in front of a magistrate and this, along with the associated processing, would take many hours. Signing the summons would only take a few minutes and then Chet could be released.

    DOES EVERYONE NOW UNDERSTAND WHY VCDL FOUGHT A BILL EARLIER THIS YEAR THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED OFFICERS TO THROW SOMEONE IN JAIL FOR ANY CLASS 1 OR CLASS 2 MISDEAMEANOR AT WILL? Any doubts in your mind that these officers would have done so to further humiliate and intimidate Chet if they were given the option?

    Chet asked what would happen if the magistrate realized that this was all a simple mistake. The officer informed Chet that even if the magistrate released him, the police could issue a bench warrant and keep Chet in jail until his court date!!! Any doubt that these officers would have done so?

    It seemed that signing the summons was the proper choice and Chet signed it. I agree.

    Chet asked for his pistol to be returned and one of the officers stated that it was being held as evidence. Chet asked him for a receipt for his confiscated property. The officer stated that he had a pistol, one magazine, nine rounds of ammunition, and a holster.
    The officer said his verbal receipt was sufficient!

    Like hell!

    Chet was also forced to provide his Social Security Number - Chet asked if this were voluntary or mandatory - Chet was told it was mandatory. WRONG again, Norfolk Police! Chet was also forced to fingerprint his summons papers in four areas.

    Arriving home almost two hours later, Chet was forced to skip a previously planned dinner engagement with another family and seek treatment at a local medical facility. Chet said he has a high tolerance for pain and discomfort but his right arm/shoulder and the back of his neck was just killing him.

    Chet was examined by the doctor and prescribed medications. The doctor stated that since his arm has limited movement and the officers forced it into this unnatural position for over an hour, muscles and ligaments were probably strained.

    Chet contacted me that evening and related the above story. The next morning I was on the phone to Norfolk City Attorney, Bernard Pishko.

    Mr. Pishko proceeded to tell me that the public streets for the event were considered private property and thus guns could be banned. I told him that the "Festevents" organization that was running the festival was nothing but an arm of the City and could NOT ban guns.
    I also said that if the private property part were true, why had Chet not been arrested for trespass, but was instead charged under a City ordinance?

    Mr. Pishko said I wasn't a lawyer and didn't know what I was talking about. He suggested that he could drop the charges against Chet, but said that perhaps this issue should be settled in court. Mr. Pishko said he was comfortable that the City would win.

    Dream on, sir.

    However, Mr. Pishko said the charges would be dropped and he kept his word. The charges were "Nollo Prossed" at Chet's court hearing on June 22nd and Chet is now in the process of getting his record expunged.

    Chet was charged under City Code 42660 Section 3c (weapon/firearm in festival area).

    In order to gather information the City may have on this incident, VCDL has already sent Freedom of Information Act requests to the

    * Norfolk Sheriff, to find out which officer started this whole thing, along with any supporting information

    * Norfolk Police, to get a copy of ALL radio traffic and other documents relating to Chet's arrest.

    * Norfolk City Attorney, on the City's relationship with "Festevents"
    and to get a copy of the offending ordinance

    The dollar amount of the lawsuit has not as yet been set, but I hope it is enough to get the City's attention.


    Two other law-abiding gun owners, one black and one white, were each harassed TWICE by the Norfolk Police recently. Both were simply open carrying.

    The black gun owner, an articulate, polite, 23 year-old who has helped at VCDL tables at various gun shows in the Tidewater area, had guns drawn and pointed at him by the police on the first occasion.

    On the second occasion, he was handcuffed, even after complying with police demands to keep both hands on a nearby wall.

    Both times the gun owner was released at the scene. But not after being unnecessarily humiliated and manhandled.

    On the second occasion, the police officers told him that if they saw him open carrying again, they would handcuff him, run his gun for stolen, and then release him again!!!

    Forget looking for real criminals, just harass the good guys, Norfolk. Unbelievable.

    The white gun owner (Norfolk seems to be an equal opportunity
    harasser) was also detained and then released.

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    VCDL has been sitting quietly on this until Chet's charges were dropped. But these events cannot go unchallenged.

    In addition to the lawsuit, VCDL will be attending a future Norfolk City Council meeting to denounce the oppressive harassment of Virginia's gun owners and demand an end to it.

    The City of Norfolk and their police agents have a pattern of abusing the law and law abiding gun owners. If you or I violate the law, we risk fines and/or jail time. Why should local government officials be immune from punishment for passing and enforcing an ordinance in violation of state law? How long will the General Assembly let these rogue officials get away with this abuse of the law?


    I will advise when we have picked a date.

    Tidewater - time to step up to the plate again.
  4. ptsmith24

    ptsmith24 New Member

    I hope those officers lose their badges.
  5. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    I do not think you understand.

    The city of Norfolk seems to be encouraging this.
  6. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

    When I read stuff like that, I start to lose confidence in Officer Friendly. Some people really should not be allowed badges!

    I hope Chet walks away from this with a pocketful of cash and some of the worst of the cops are looking for new jobs! Fortunately, the VCDL is fighting this for him. An individual can quickly run out of money attempting to take on city hall...
  7. mzmtg

    mzmtg Active Member

    They'll probably get medals for protecting and serving the city.
  8. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    Chet openly carries an HK USP 45 pistol, and he has even been pictured in the newspaper with it.
  9. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member


  10. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    Look on page 2 of this link under Virginia to see an example of his activism.
  11. ctdonath

    ctdonath Member

    Remember: police can always arrest you for something, even if you haven't actually broken any laws. He can release you later; you have the arrest record forever.
  12. mzmtg

    mzmtg Active Member

    Ohhhhhh, that explains a lot.

    Clearly, this whole incident is a result of jealousy on the part of the poor officers who are mandated to carry glocks.

    Poor bastards.
  13. pro2am

    pro2am New Member

    What a sarcastic a$$!
  14. ber950

    ber950 Active Member

    Arresting you for nothing has serious potential consequences for the officer. Its called false imprisonment and violating civil rights under color of authority.

    The arrest record is not forever if you have it expunged. A relatively easy procedure in a case like this where the charges were dropped.
  15. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    IIRC, he even has the stainless slide. :wink:
  16. Sharky

    Sharky New Member

    simply unreal...........

    I believe the city will have alot of explaining and paying to do.
  17. mzmtg

    mzmtg Active Member

    IIRC, he even has the stainless slide. :wink:[/quote:256zmxor]

    Think you can dig up the pic you mentioned?
  18. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

    I looked - could not find it. It was a newspaper story showing him standing there with the Hk on his belt.
  19. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    Page 3 :)