Derrick Washington of Cleveland, Ohio, is suing police for the return of his legally owned firearm. Washington alleges that the police seized the weapon from him illegally in a case for which he was never charged and have refused to return it since February.
Washington has filed a lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in order to get the gun returned along with tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
According to the lawsuit, Washington called the police in order to report a shooting. He later told police that he has a permit to carry a weapon. The police searched Washington’s car without his consent, seized his weapon because they believed he was a felon and threw him in jail for three days.
Washington was never formally charged and his attorney argues that Washington does not have a criminal record.
James W. Tekavec, an attorney and gun-rights advocate, argued, "Of course, it is wrong. This is personal property that belongs to a person who has never been charged. The city of Cleveland is holding it and causing this individual to spend money to pay an attorney to file something in court to get his legal property back.''
"This happens all the time,'' said Kevin Jamison, another attorney. "Police know that these cases are often more expensive to take to court than the guns are worth. Most people find out how much it is going to cost to sue, and they give up. It's a really annoying habit. It provides work for me, but it is really offensive.''
What are your thoughts on this case? Do you think that the police are abusing their power and violating Washington’s civil rights by illegally holding onto his gun?