Saturday, October 3, 2009

New Mexico city ponies up $21,000 to settle open carry lawsuit

From Mike Stollenwerk, on a recent settlement by the city of Alamogordo, New Mexico in a lawsuit initiated by a man detained for open carrying a handgun [links omitted]:
As reported in the Alamogordo Daily News today, the Alamogordo, NM Police have paid $21,000 to settle with Matthew A. St. John whom police detained for open carrying a holstered handgun at a movie theater. This settlement follows a host of settlements by police departments around the country with plaintiffs who were detained by police for openly carrying a holstered handgun, including Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Virginia (see another settlement here), and Georgia. More cases are still pending in Ohio, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

On September 8, 2009, Federal District Judge Bruce D. Black, issued an order previously examined here, that concluded as a matter of law that Alamogordo police officiers violated Matthew St. John's constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment because they seized and disarmed him even though there was not "any reason to believe that a crime was afoot." Judge Black's opinion is consistent with numerous high state and federal appellate court rulings, including the United States Supreme Court, holding that there is no firearms exception to the Fourth Amendment. ...

Rest here. Hopefully, the salutary effect of these lawsuits will be to force law enforcement agencies to properly train their officers on the legalities of open carry.

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