GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A man was forced to the concrete at gunpoint, handcuffed, and held with a pistol aimed at his back by an officer who didn’t approve of him exercising his right to bear arms.
Johann Deffert, 28, was simply walking down the street — breaking no laws — while wearing a holstered pistol on his waistband.
Such an act is perfectly legal in the state of Michigan. Yet when the streets are patrolled by overzealous, uninformed law enforcers, exercising rights can be a serious hazard to one’s health.
Grand Rapids police officer William Moe saw Deffert walking down the sidewalk. “It does look like he’s got a handgun on,” Moe told a dispatcher. Moe reacted to him like as if he had just robbed a bank. Moe exited his vehicle with his pistol trained on Deffert, barking orders and putting lives at risk.
“On the ground!! On the ground!! Put your hands on top of your head!”
The March 3rd, 2013, encounter was recorded on dash cam and recently released to the public.
“Do not move,” Officer Moe said. “Why do you have a handgun on you?”
“It’s my constitutional right to defend myself,” said Deffert, showing restraint as he looked down the barrel of the officer’s gun. “May I ask why I’m being stopped?”
“Because you got a handgun walking down the street! That’s why!” shrieked Moe, his own pistol remaining trained on the pedestrian.
Deffert was put to the ground; his face shoved in the cold cement as he lay handcuffed and disarmed at the mercy of an aggressive hypocrite.
“I’m not a felon, nor am I breaking any laws. I’m currently being detained against my will for lawful possession of a firearm.”
Mocking and Excuses
Another officer arrived on the scene, backing up the unconstitutional actions of his colleague.
“Is this what you do on a Sunday?” one of the officers asked with incredulity.
“Yes, actually it is. Its not against the law. I’m just coming back from breakfast,” Deffert responded. “Its not against the law, or you guys would be in jail. I’m not breaking any laws. I’m walking down the sidewalk.”
Sensing the stinging hypocrisy of their actions, the officers put forth weak excuses. “In today’s climate, with terrorism—” one rationalized.
“So you think we should wait for people to shoot kids before we try to—”
“I’m not breaking any laws!” the innocent man retorted. “I didn’t ask to be harassed, and have a gun pointed at me, and told to lay on the ground for being a law-abiding citizen!”
But being innocent until proven guilty is a hard sell for freedom-hating cops who think they’re saving the world from terrorists. In their view, anyone dressed with equipment resembling theirs deserves to be threatened and humiliated anytime they are spotted in public. Just to be sure.
“I lawfully open carry… I have the constitutional right to defend myself,” Deffert reminded his captors.
“Against what?!” one of the armed officers asked with disdain.
“Against anybody who may want to do me harm,” explained Deffert.
“Who do you think is going to do you harm?” the enforcer mocked, missing the irony that he had just held a man hostage at gunpoint.
Deffert was ultimately brought to his feet and released, after several minutes of interrogation, harassment, and exposure to imminent threats of death or bodily harm.
Unsurprisingly, the officers involved were not reprimanded for their violations of of Deffert’s rights. City Attorney Catherine Mish characterized the police response as “very reasonable,” reported mlive.com.
Deffert has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Grand Rapids, Police Chief Kevin Belk, Officer William Moe, and two other officers.
The continued harassment of gun owners is a big problem across the country. A free person should not have to fear that government agents are going to prone him out at gunpoint every time he peaceably exercises his rights. Similarly, a free citizen — in a free society — would not have to ask permission to exercise his rights or pay the government for such a privilege.
Police states historically tend to turn citizens’ rights into heavily restricted privileges for the elites, slowly disarming the public while maintaining a state-monopoly on the use of force.
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Tell GRPD that harassing people for exercising their rights is NOT OK. Fire Officer William Moe and all those who point guns at peaceful, law abiding people.