Skip to comments.As for the Gun-Toting Birmingham Teen: Cops Were The Ones Violating the Law
Posted on 10/18/2012 2:13:49 AM PDT by marktwain
The city of Birmingham and three of the suburb's cops may be in trouble after being hit with a lawsuit by an 18-year-old Troy high school graduate who was arrested last spring as he walked through the Birmingham business district with a rifle slung across his back.
The Free Press reports:
Sean Combs, 18, of Troy said he filed the suit to get the city and three police officers to admit they were wrong for arresting him on Old Woodward Avenue in April while he said he was exercising his Second Amendment right to bear arms.
"I'm kind of sick of their dodging it that they did anything wrong," he said Tuesday.
The gun case was tried in the 48th District Court, and in July, Combs was acquitted by a jury of disturbing the peace and brandishing a firearm. The presiding judge threw out the charge of resisting arrest.
City attorney Tim Currier said that although the city hasn't been served the official suit, its insurance company has a draft. He said they would fight the complaint.
"The police department did nothing wrong," he said.
Despite Currier's willingness to squander more public resources to resist the suit, it's tough to see where the win is for the city in any of this. Combs was cleared. There was no crime, and there was no justification for an arrest.
By even the most objective reports, the charges slapped against Combs reflect the sort of sketchy tactics too many law enforcement officers pull and too often get away with when they want a reason to lock your ass up. The cops claim they demanded Combs' ID but he refused. Under Michigan law, though, he's an adult and doesn't have to show the police anything.
They accused him of brandishing -- essentially pointing his gun or otherwise flashing it in a threatening way -- but apparently the jury realized that'd be tough to do with the rifle across his back.
They hit with him the charge of last resort, the old "disturbing the peace," an amorphous toxic cloud of an accusation that cops can twist in just about any way they choose when they really want you in cuffs. To let even the cops tell it, Combs created the disturbance when they stopped him and made demands that he had no obligation to comply with. Sure, he may have attracted notice, but there's no evidence that he alarmed anyone or caused any commotion before the cops rolled up on him. (I seriously wish someone gave enough of a damn to toss "disturbing the peace" from the books, or at least give it some real practical definition. As much as anything else, disturbing the peace -- and iterations as "contempt of cop" -- can too easily became a tool for facilitating violations both mundane and horrific.)
And sorry, but arresting someone because they "look young" doesn't cut it either.
Plenty of people will contend that Combs was being an ass by needlessly toting a rifle through town. But a nation of laws is obligated to protect asses and non-asses alike, especially when they're exercising rights that, like speech, are supposed to be guaranteed.
I've seen people arrested for even less than Combs, their rights trampled like so much pothole filler. I've seen women locked up because they "mouthed off" to police while standing near their own homes. I've seen boys dragged away in cuffs because they chose to saunter -- not run -- away while obeying a police officer's command to leave a place. I've seen kids beaten by bully cops for no other reason than that they looked young and, thus, easy to harass with impunity.
So yeah, Combs may have been extra with the carrying of the old-school rifle through a business district. But being that kind of extra isn't a crime and doesn't merit being thrown in cuffs or a cage. You want to argue in favor of a statute against toting rifles down a thoroughfare, hop on that. But it's the law. And the fact that a city attorney doesn't see much wrong with someone cooking up bullshit charges to violate a man's rights-- 1st, 2nd or otherwise -- should be a bit disturbing to our collective peace
Do I really? /s
I don’t want to see the kid end up enriched for life, but I do want to see his attorneys’ send a very effective education to the stupid involved cops and the police department in his jurisdiction.
Folks should not be intimidated into not being able to exercise their constitutional rights.
Any monetary judgement would come from the taxpayers anyway. the only way to get the message to the cops would be to A. Fire them or B. Put them in jail for false imprisonment. NEITHER ONE IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Police have de facto carte blanch in dealing with the public. They can get away with anything up to and including murder. If a family member is harmed by the police, the only justice you'll get is any personal condign actions you take.
This case is exactly why we used to have Grand Juries, All 3 cops should bi in PRISON for Felony Kidnapping, Obstruction of Justice, Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice, Using a Firearm during the commission of a violent felony. The DA needs to be put in prison for his role in this Conspiracy to Deprive one of his Rights under the Color of Law. LIFE IN PRISON and Complete Civil Asset Forfeiture would be the appropriate remedy in cases like this for every last person involved. IGNORANCE of the LAW is Neither an EXCUSE nor a DEFENSE
I am sure you have heard ELECTED and APPOINTED officials say, they have immunity from prosecution for any thing they have done wrong. Prosecutors and police officers are notorious for that statement. There is a U.S. Supreme Court case that says they are liable. George D Owen V. City of Independence, Missouri. Decided April 16, 1980. When you look this up scroll down to 25 See, e.g., Globe 365 (remarks of Rep. Arthur) (For Owen v Independence Click (HERE)
George M. WALLACE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
David HAYSE, in his Official Capacity as Judge in Fayette
District Court, Defendant-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.
Aug. 6, 1993.
E.D.Ky., No. 92-00510; Forester, J.
VACATED AND REMANDED.
Before: GUY and NELSON, Circuit Judges, and
WELLFORD, Senior Circuit Judge.
George M. Wallace, a pro se Kentucky prisoner, appeals from a judgment of the district court dismissing as frivolous, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1915(d), his civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. This case has been referred to a panel of the court pursuant to Rule 9(a), Rules of the Sixth Circuit. Upon examination, this panel unanimously agrees that oral argument is not needed. Fed.R.App.P. 34(a).
Wallace’s suit was filed against Fayette County District Court Judge David Hayse. Judge Hayse was sued in his official capacity, and Wallace sought injunctive and declaratory relief. The magistrate judge’s report determined that Judge Hayse was absolutely immune from suit because the allegations of Wallace’s complaint indicated that Judge Hayse was acting in his judicial capacity. Over Wallace’s objections, the district judge determined that when a judge is performing an adjudicative function, he is absolutely immune from all suits brought pursuant to Sec. 1983. On appeal, Wallace argues that judicial immunity does not extend to Sec. 1983 suits which request injunctive and declaratory relief.
In Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522, 541-42 (1984), the court concluded “that judicial immunity is not a bar to prospective injunctive relief against a judicial officer acting in her judicial capacity.” See also Berger v. Cuyahoga County Bar Ass’n, 983 F.2d 718, 721 (6th Cir.), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 2416 (1993); Sevier v. Turner, 742 F.2d 262, 269 (6th Cir.1984). Therefore, we conclude that the district court committed error when it dismissed Wallace’s suit based upon the determination that Judge Hayse enjoyed absolute immunity against Sec. 1983 suits which request injunctive and declaratory relief.
Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is vacated and the case is remanded for further consideration. Rule 9(b)(3), Rules of the Sixth Circuit.
1 F.3d 1243, Wallace v. Hayse, (C.A.6 (Ky.) 1993
Unfortunately, Every officer involved and the DA, Willfully and Knowingly Kidnapped this man with absolutely no LEGAL BASIS to do so, The DA went along with this conspiracy. There Should NEVER be ANY IMMUNITY of any kind once a Public Servant violates the law or a persons rights. They Belong in Prison
It's a felony.
That can carry the Death Penalty.
I don’t disagree with what you are saying, I’m only pointing out that the DON”T have immunity as the always try to claim.