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  • Gun owner receives apology from police chief

    http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2007/se...eives-apology/



    Trevor Putnam, who was stopped while he legally carried his gun inside a Wal-Mart by an officer who was mistaken about the state’s gun permit laws, received an apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.
    Trevor Putnam knew the gun laws. The officer who stopped him didn’t.

    “When I told him that I hadn’t done anything, he said he’d find a reason to put me in jail,” said Putnam, 24, who works with guns every day as vice president of Coal Creek Armory in West Knoxville.

    “It’s not that I have a problem with police officers. I deal with police officers nationwide from Arizona to Maine every day. But I lost my confidence in a legal right that I knew I had.”

    Knoxville police officers will get a refresher course on the state’s gun permit laws after an officer who didn’t know the law stopped, frisked and threatened to arrest Putnam for legally carrying a gun inside a Wal-Mart this summer.

    Officer Glenn Todd Greene’s actions June 21 at the store on Walbrook Drive in West Knoxville earned him a written reprimand and remedial training for rudeness and not knowing the law, Internal Affairs records show. He’s worked for the Knoxville Police Department for about seven years.

    Putnam got a written apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.

    “The officer was wrong I want to personally apologize to you for any embarrassment or inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of this incident,” the chief wrote.

    “The Knoxville Police Department takes pride in the training offered to its officers, and the training provided far exceeds state requirements. Unfortunately, officers aren’t perfect, and sometimes mistakes are made. As you can see from the remedial measures taken, we want to learn from our mistakes so they won’t be repeated in the future.”

    The trouble started when Putnam and his girlfriend, Samantha Williams, stopped at the store to buy groceries around 10 p.m. Putnam, who holds a gun permit, carried his Colt handgun inside with him, holstered on his right hip.

    “It’s like a seat belt or a fire extinguisher,” he said. “It goes everywhere with me. It was warm that night, so I left my jacket in the car.”

    State law allows gun permit holders to carry their guns openly or concealed. Putnam said he usually tucks his shirt over the gun but forgot to that night.

    As they walked out, Greene, who’d gone to the store to investigate a shoplifting call, told Putnam to stop. Greene asked for Putnam’s identification, grabbed his arm when he reached for his wallet and then asked why he carried a gun in public, records show.

    Putnam ended up against a concrete wall being frisked as Greene took his gun.

    “It’s called a concealed carry permit. State law says you carry it concealed, not in plain view (with the) hammer back,” Greene said. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I can put you in jail for something. It’s called inducing a panic.”

    Greene ultimately let Putnam go after talking with another officer but told him to pull his shirt over the gun. He told Internal Affairs investigators he thought Tennessee and Ohio, where he previously served as a police officer, prohibited open carrying. Neither state does.

    “There’s an issue there where there could be panic,” he said in a recorded statement. “I’m thinking the law is a concealed law. I’m not going to deal with a guy that has a loaded gun until I secure a weapon.”

    Greene said he asked other officers about the law and that they didn’t know, either.

    Investigators reviewed video from Greene’s in-car camera and found him in violation of KPD policy. They sustained part of Putnam’s complaint but ruled Greene hadn’t used excessive force in putting him against the wall.

    Putnam questions that decision.

    “On the one hand, I’m glad they didn’t ignore it,” he said. “On the other, I don’t feel it was a wholly appropriate response to everything the officer threatened to do.”

    The department trains all recruits on the state’s gun permit laws, said KPD Lt. Jeff Stiles, who oversees training for the department. All officers will get another dose of training during the next annual session, he said.

    “We don’t get that many questions about it over here,” Stiles said. “But we cover that aspect. We go straight to the experts to teach the law. We don’t guess, and we don’t speculate.”

    Matt Lakin (Reporter) may be reached at 865-342-6306.

  • #2
    I can believe it. Man didn't know the law and decided to just "wing it". Mistakes like that could cost him his family's financial future. There is no protection of good faith when you clearly do not know the law.
    Last edited by t150vsuptpr; 09-22-2007, 09:52 PM.
    "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

    "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars."(it's my home now)

    >>>>> A Time for Choosing <<<<<

    Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.

    Comment


    • #3
      If the officer learned he was wrong, he could have apologized himself and avoided all this. When it gets so far that his chief has to make a public apology, it's too far!
      "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

      Comment


      • #4
        Good on the chief, though. He is a man of honor with brass cajones. It's HARD to make an apology like that, but it earns a lot of respect, at least from me.
        If I tell you what I know, I'd have to kill you. Fortunately, I don't know much.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not surprised that the officer didn't know that you could actually open carry with the permit. I've gotten in a dispute with one officer about it and told him that the TCA doesn't say that you have to carry it concealed, doesn't address how you carry. Still unbelieving, I told him to go look it up.
          Last edited by tony.o; 09-22-2007, 11:45 PM.
          The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary.

          Comment


          • #6
            inducing panic huh...


            good job by the chief.


            * normally this would be where i point out the advantages of open carry...but i wont ..
            The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by stangfather View Post
              inducing panic huh...


              good job by the chief.


              * normally this would be where i point out the advantages of open carry...but i wont ..
              Might have advantages in some people's opinion, but it is also asking for trouble in my opinion. I'm all for a citizen's right to carry, but people should be a bit smarter about it. Walking around Walmart with a visible weapon on your hip is not what I would call a smart move. Maybe it's just me but on-duty and off, I make sure my weapon is concealed. Why? To avoid giving little ol ladies a heart attack and to avoid having the cops called on me and having to go through the motions of a quasi felony stop just so I can show my creds. But that's just my .02.
              Last edited by yellowreef; 09-23-2007, 05:57 AM.
              "You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall... I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it."

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe the even bigger issue is that the so-called "officer" failed to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, which he was sworn to do.
                Politically Correct? No.

                Truthful? Yes!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Maybe the even bigger issue is that the so-called "officer" failed to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, which he was sworn to do.

                  Perhaps he decided to follow the example of so many mayors, councilmen, judges, legislators and cop brass who have done exactly the same thing for so darn long. Apparently, the Bill of Rights is now outdated.


                  Okay, we now return to regular network programming.

                  The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

                  The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

                  ------------------------------------------------

                  "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Woofdog View Post
                    Maybe the even bigger issue is that the so-called "officer" failed to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, which he was sworn to do.
                    A mistake was made.
                    An apology was given.

                    It's high time the drama stops.
                    A true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

                    -GK Chesterton

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by yellowreef View Post
                      Walking around Walmart with a visible weapon on your hip is not what I would call a smart move. Maybe it's just me but on-duty and off, I make sure my weapon is concealed. Why? To avoid giving little ol ladies a heart attack and to avoid having the cops called on me and having to go through the motions of a quasi felony stop just so I can show my creds. But that's just my .02.

                      Here's the thing... nobody freaked out. Nobody called about a man with gun. He was there about a shoplifting call and not a gun call. There was no problem until he started one.

                      As far as I'm concerned... Mr. Thug is NOT going to show off the fact that he has a gun until he's ready to use it. If you see somebody open carrying, check their ID if you must and let them be on their way.

                      I also think the apology should have come from the officer involved and not the chief. Glad that the Chief stepped up, but so should the officer involved.
                      Last edited by ProLEOCiv; 09-24-2007, 12:00 PM. Reason: Forgot to add something.
                      Why do I carry a gun? Because I can't throw rocks at 1300 FPS.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Same issue came up around here a while back. I recommended the individual become more acquainted with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. After all, how are we to "Uphold and defend" the documents when we don't even know what they say? Also, I would point out that, just openly carrying a weapon is not even grounds or PC to stop someone. Do we stand outside churches and voting booths stopping citizens to make sure they are allowed in? Nope. I fail to understand why, just the mere sight of a handgun in a holster might cause any sort of panic. Anyone remember when this used to be a free nation? Being an off duty cop, and carrying your sidearm concealed is fine. Citizens should not be told how to exercise their rights. Even telling the guy to pull his shirt over it was wrong. It's like ordering a catholic to go pray at a Buddhist monastery. Sorry guys and gals, but it's none of our business how someone chooses to exercise their rights, and if no open violation of the law is observed, there is no grounds to stop. I recommend contacting your department legal council if you have any questions about citizen's rights to carry openly. Most laws on the books deal with concealed carry. Enjoy!
                        As far as "rights" are concerned; I look at them this way... I don't tell you what church to go to, and you don't tell me what kind of firearm I can own...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Even in places where open carry is legal it seems that anyone who does it just gets negative attention and the learning curve is so high with the sheeple that they will continue to get negative attention. It is just a fact.

                          Even here in Alaska where open and conceal carry are legal without a permit you would be surprised how may people are surprised to find that it is legal to do both. A friend on the local PD told me that they get periodic calls from people saying that there is a man walking around with a holstered gun at the supermarket, wally world, etc. The PD asks if any crime is being comitted and the callers inevitbly say, "yes, they have a gun!". The PD then tells them that no law is being broken and they will not send an officer unless a crime is being comitted.

                          Hence the key word being a crime.
                          Proud father of a US Marine and USAF SERE Specialist!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think I need a refresher course on FL CCW laws. I would've made the same mistake, but I have never hesitated in issuing an apology if I was wrong. I believe that this was the officer's only error.

                            BTW, have you seen your state's statute book? It's pretty thick, and if you're corrected by another LEO, it shouldn't be an embarrassing moment. We're all human.

                            A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday. Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

                            It's only a conspiracy when your party is not in power.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Lean G, I can understand fully not knowing a vehicle infraction, or the standard legal width of fender flares or window tinting. We all know there are more laws on the books than any of us even care to know, not to mention fish, game and other laws. I guess what kinda peeves me is this is the basic bill of rights we are talking about here. After all, we are not sworn to defend and uphold (insert unknown law here), we swear to do it for the Constitution. It's not a long and complicated document, and the bill of rights is the plainest part of it. Let this incident be a learning experience for all of us (me included) and let's all get more familiar with our laws, rules and regs concerning the rights we ALL have. After all, contrary to what the news media would have us all believe, cops are citizens too.

                              I've also received a few complaints about open carrying people, as well as people shooting firearms on their own property. I address them all the same way. They have the right to complain, and the same document gives those with firearms the right to carry, and be armed.
                              As far as "rights" are concerned; I look at them this way... I don't tell you what church to go to, and you don't tell me what kind of firearm I can own...

                              Comment

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