Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Illegal Immigration Counter Protesters Detained

The topic of discussion on the Bryan Suits radio show on 570 KVI earlier this evening was a call by a Seattle area citizen, Eric, who called to say that while thousands of illegal immigrants marched a couple of feet away, 5 United States citizens, he being one of the 5, who should be covered by all of the constitutional amendments, including the 1st and 2nd, were detained by the Seattle Police Department for over 2 hours because... well hard to say really. The reason for Caller Eric's call into the show was, surprise, surprise, the medias total lack of coverage of what should be a fairly big story. U.S. Citizens constitutional rights infringed in order to protect illegal aliens non existent right to hold a protest march.

Now I am a regular listener of the Bryan Suits show, as you should be, especially if you, like me, are in the male 35-64 year old demographic, and as Bryan can testify, I am also a regular emailer, but did not catch every single minute of the show since the 5pm to 8pm time slot is right in that end of the work day - drive home - eat dinner time window so I may have missed out on some of the conversation but here is a recap as best as I can recall. Full disclosure on my part requires that I state my Father is a 25 year retired Seattle Police Officer and I may or may not own a gun, try breaking into my house and you may or may not get an answer right then and there.

It all started with a 911 call from someone the police say was not part of the march claiming that there was a group of people with signs opposed to the marchers who were armed. The caller said he saw a gun holster sticking out from a partly open jacket. The police responded to the call and found the counter protesters and asked if any of them had weapons and sure enough, 3 of the 5 had guns and one had a switchblade or some sort of knife. Caller Eric said he was the one counter protester that did not have a weapon. At that point they were cuffed and taken to the West precinct where they spent the next 2 plus hours being detained until the march was over. The problem is they had not violated the law as the 3 with guns had valid concealed carry permits and as best as I can tell while switchblades appear to be illegal, there was no mention of the person carrying the knife being arrested or charged with a crime.

A Seattle Police officer, who called himself Steve, called into the show to give his version of the events. While for the most part, the stories matched, Office Steve's main point was they felt they were doing the appropriate thing in order to potentially avoid a violent situation and needed to take the people to the station in order to do a proper investigation. As Bryan Suits said, it was kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation for the police but he, along with myself, kept asking under what authority were these people detained and why did it take over 2 hours to finish the investigation and let them leave? Bryan's conclusion, as was mine was it seems fairly obvious that the message from the police hierarchy was to hold these people until the march was over. One thing that bothered me about the conversation with Officer Steve was how Suits had to explain to him it is legal to openly carry a firearm. In the State of Washington you must have a concealed carry permit to have a concealed weapon but not to openly carry. Officer Steve made a comment that implied he thought since the holster was partly visible, that was in some way a violation of the law since the weapon was no longer concealed, which is not the case.

Later a female caller gave Bryan a ring and said she was one of the counter protesters who was packing heat. The first question from Bryan was in effect, what were you thinking bringing a gun into a situation like that even though you are totally within your rights to do so? Her response was she always has her gun with her, expect in bars and other "gun free zones" or as I like to call them, "potential sitting duck shooting galleries". She mentioned that the gun was in her purse and they told the officers when they first asked about the weapons that they had valid permits for them. She said once at the station they were told they would be released once the march was over which contradicted what Office Steve said about it just taking that long to finish the investigation and there was no intent to simply hold them until the march was over.

Now last I checked, United States Citizens have a 1st amendment right to free speech and even in Seattle we have a 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms and it sure seems to me like those and potentially others were violated. I do know one thing, if I were one of the Seattle 5, I would "lawyer up" and have filed a lawsuit against the City yesterday, because as I emailed Bryan, until the city gets hit with a lawsuit and pays a big judgment, expect this kind of thing to keep on happening. My one question of any city official is when did POTENTIALLY preventing a violent situation supersede our constitutional rights?

Thursday on the Bryan Suits show, where you can listen to live over the internet by going here, the hope is someone from the City will be on to discuss this topic in further detail. Also, its Led Zeppelin Thursday, so get your request in early.

If anyone has any additional information, clarification or corrections, please post them in the comments and I will update accordingly.


Anonymous said...

cross posed to my blog at

Anonymous said...

Oh come on... In a county which *proudly* elects creatures like Ron Sims and Jim McDermott, why on earth would you be surprised at this?

Now had you been armed and carrying anti-Bush signs, you'd probably not have to worry about a thing... ;)

Instructor said...

And your point is? If you are really a son of a cop you should know well the fuzz can, according to the Supreme Court, detain anyone at any time without reason or charges for a limited time - and the limit is more than two hours.


Whether or not you think the protesters - many of whom were doubtless legal citizens, despite your assertion they were all "illegal aliens" - have a right to protest, what possible purpose can the counter protest serve except to be the flashpoint of trouble?

That's the cops' business. And you should know that, too.

AndrewsDad said...

So in your world, it is OK for a police officer to walk up to you, for no reason what so ever and take you to the station for 2 or more hours without cause or explanation. So if "the fuzz" came up to you and said come with me and detained you for 2 hours, you are fine with that. For some reason I doubt you would be OK with that.

I never said they were "all illegal aliens".

The purpose of the counter protest? To voice an opinion as is the right of all U.S. Citizens.

The cops business is to enforce the laws and none were broken, at least by the counter protesters. That fact could have been established within 10 minutes and the counter protesters could have and should have been allowed to continue expressing an opinion, as is thier right.

Anonymous said...

Dear possum,
My sons do not know the guts of windows NT, which is my job. Why should the poster know all the ins and outs of what the "fuzz", his father, does (or did in this case)? As for illegal immigrants if you actually read what he said, he said that thousands of illegal immigrants were marching nearby. He didn't say all the people marching were illegal immigrants.
As for the point of protesting, it’s always the same: to be heard. The counter protestors have an equal right (and more so actually since they are all likely valid US citizens) to protest regardless of whether their presence constituted a risk of being a flashpoint. Protest and counter-protest groups protest near each other around the nation every year on a frequent basis. Why is this occasion any different? They all can be a "flashpoint" but being a flashpoint is nowhere near enough a reason to deprive people of constitutional rights.
In regards to the role of cops, they are here to maintain law and order. That is: enforce the laws when broken and prevent law breaking. No laws were broken by this group and being a potential flashpoint is not grounds for a preventive action. The only likely law breaking would have been by the protestors doing something in response to the presence of the counter protestors, which would not be the fault of the counter protestors but the fault of those committing the offense. You have a twisted sense of constitutional rights, responsibilities of citizens, and the role of law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

This is one of those situations where a lawsuit would serve an excellent purpose. A suit for unlawful arrest should already be down at Circuit Court.

BUT: They can also file a Civil Rights lawsuit in Federal Court. Simply put, their arrest was based on NOTHING BUT THEIR RACE. Had they been Mexican, they would NOT have been arrested or even questioned. Ergo, racially motivated arrest, constituting a violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In that case, they can go after the individual officers personally, as well as the city agency employing them. The City, of course, is prohibited from requiring officers as part of their duty to violate either the State or Federal Constitution. Thus, sovereign immunity doesn't flow to their conduct.

It is this principle which got a whole bunch of Los Angeles cops some years in prison -- and a few New Orleans cops have now become immates, too.

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