Cleveland resident Derrick Washington sued his hometown because the city took his weapon, a .38-caliber Taurus, after he reported the existence of the gun when a shooting occurred near his car earlier this year. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Washington called the police to report a shooting that occurred late at night in February, explaining to the arriving officers that he had the .38-caliber weapon and a concealed carry license in his car.
Washington’s gun was quickly confiscated and the man was arrested for illegally carrying a concealed weapon. After three days in jail, he was released due to a lack of evidence. He did not receive his weapon back from the city.
Washington’s attorney J. Gary Seewald explained that the subsequent lawsuit against the city of Cleveland had nothing to do with re-obtaining the specific weapon that was taken from him, but demonstrating how his 2nd amendment rights were violated.
“This was a matter of principle. He could have bought a new gun for $500. But he wanted to go through with this. He wanted his gun,” Seewald said.
The city initially contested the suit, claiming that Washington was arrested because he was carrying a weapon and admitted to having two drinks of vodka, a claim that Washington denies.
According to the Ohio Attorney General’s pamphlet explaining the state’s conceal carry laws, “consuming beer or intoxicating liquor” while carrying a gun is illegal. More specifically, Section 627.11 of the city’s ordinances states “in any situation where a deadly weapon is present and a person has been drinking or disturbing the peace, threatening bodily harm or causing or threatening a disturbance or violence and there is reasonable cause for the investigating police officer to believe that such deadly weapon may be used to cause bodily harm, such deadly weapon may be seized by the police and kept in the custody of the chief of police until released by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.''
The city reached a settlement with Washington, but refused to comment until the case is finalized.