An encounter between a gun-carrying civilian and a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 3, 2013 has culminated in a federal lawsuit.
Johann Deffert, 28, was walking along Michigan Street NE with a gun holstered and visible on his hip. In Michigan, it is legal to carry a weapon, provided that it is clearly displayed and is carried with lawful intent.
Reacting to a woman’s call about a “suspicious person with a holstered firearm” who had been “talking to himself near a church service,” officers were dispatched to investigate the man.
In an interaction that was caught on the in-car video, Officer William Moe pulled his car up behind Deffert, and, with his weapon drawn, ordered Deffert to the ground.
Instructing him not to move, Moe asked Deffert, “Why do you have a handgun on you?”
“It is my constitutional right to defend myself,” responded Deffert. “It’s illegal for you to stop me for it in the state of Michigan,” he continued.
Deffert repeatedly emphasized that he wasn’t a felon, and that he wasn’t breaking any laws. Later, he added that he was simply walking home from a restaurant.
“Is that what you want to do on a Sunday, you want to stroll down the road?” the officer retorted.
“You’re talking to yourself. You’re going down the road here with a loaded handgun. Could I just think, maybe, you might be some kind of a nut?” Moe continued.
After telling Deffert that he has to check Deffert’s police history and mental record, the police officer eventually released Deffert. He was not charged with a crime.
City Attorney Catherine Mish has described the police response as “very reasonable.”
However, Deffert’s attorney, Steven Dulan, has said that the police violated Deffert’s constitutional rights, and stopped Deffert unlawfully.
Deffert is suing Police Chief Kevin Belk, Office William Moe, and two other officers.
Sources: The Blaze, mlive.com
Photo Source: http://wmuk.org