Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Milwaukee Invites Lawsuits

Milwaukee Invites Lawsuits

A wonderful thing about the Internet is that when someone makes an utterly unbelievable statement (such as the one at Snowflakes in Hell from where I got this), you can just click over and see that, sure enough, the Milwaukee police chief clearly wants to see how many civil rights lawsuits he can get filed against his employer and himself.

The Wisconsin Attorney-General recently issued an opinion that because of the Wisconsin Constitution's bear arms clause, the open carrying of a firearm is constitutionally protected, and by itself, does not qualify as disorderly conduct. So the response of the Milwaukee police chief, as quoted in the April 21, 2009 Oshkosh, Wisc. Northwestern?
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Milwaukee’s police chief said Tuesday he’ll go on telling his officers to take down anyone with a firearm despite Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s finding that people can carry guns openly if they do it peacefully.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said he’ll continue to tell officers they can’t assume people are carrying guns legally in a city that has seen nearly 200 homicides in the past two years.

"My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it," Flynn said. "Maybe I’ll end up with a protest of cowboys. In the meantime, I’ve got serious offenders with access to handguns. It’s irresponsible to send a message to them that if they just carry it openly no one can bother them."

State Justice Department spokesman Kevin St. John declined to comment.

Wisconsin is one of 29 states that allow people to openly carry a firearm without a permit. It’s one of two states that ban concealed weapons.
Look, I think open carry is a bit rude, like fat people wearing spandex, or farting loudly, but since concealed carry is unlawful in Wisconsin, and Milwaukee has a serious murder problem--what's the alternative? Oh yes, being knocked to the ground by police so that you can file a sec. 1983 federal civil rights lawsuit against them for violating your constitutional rights. As Snowflakes in Hell points out:
If the City of Milwaukee wants to deal with multiple federal civil rights suits, under Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code, they’re welcome. In fact, I dare him to do what he’s suggesting. I would remind Cheif Ed Flynn that Section 1983 allows a plantiff to sue you personally, not just you in your official capacity, for violation of civil rights. So if you want to end up paying for a gun rights activist’s ammo supply for the rest of his life, I’d urge the City to get Flynn on a leash now, while this can still be handled cheaply. Once faces start hitting concrete, all bets are off.
I do wish liberals would get past their enthusiasm for shoving people onto the ground for exercising their constitutionally protected rights. But then they wouldn't be liberals, would they?

UPDATE: here's the lawsuit that I think led to the Attorney-General's opinion for events last year.

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