Yesterday, Wisconsin Carry, Inc filed a Federal lawsuit against the City of Madison and Madison Police Chief Noble Wray. [Click here for a copy.] Today, we get the press release:
On Saturday, September 18, 2010, five (5) members of WCI met for dinner at a Culvers Restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. Each of these individuals was openly carrying a handgun when they arrived at the restaurant, entered the restaurant and ordered and ate their meals. At or about the time that the WCI members finished their meal and left the restaurant, a woman in her car observed them openly carrying handguns and called 911 to report it to the City of Madison Police Department.
The 911 caller informed the dispatcher that she didn’t know if it was an emergency, the men were doing nothing wrong and appeared totally relaxed, weren’t threatening anyone and the restaurant was full of people but they each had sidearms and she didn’t know if that was legal.
Upon being informed by the 911 dispatcher that open-carry is legal the woman stated “then there is no problem and its not an emergency”. The dispatcher then suggests that if the woman is concerned or disturbed then it becomes a problem and the woman says “no they weren’t threatening anybody or acting threatening”. When the dispatcher informs the caller they are sending officers she says “well I feel bad then because they weren’t doing anything wrong”
[Click here to listen to the 911 call.]
As these WCI members left the restaurant, they were accosted by eight (8) City of Madison police officers, who demanded that they produce identification, and threatened that if they did not do so, they would be arrested. From the time that these WCI members arrived at the restaurant up to and including the time that the police officers confronted them and demanded that they produce identification or face arrest, none of the WCI members violated any law, nor were they involved in any violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud or otherwise disorderly conduct, nor did they through their conduct cause or provoke any disturbance.
Wisconsin law does not allow officers to arrest for merely refusing to provide ID. 2 days later, Madison Police admitted the error in arresting and charging our members with obstruction, rescinded those tickets and instead, despite there being no disturbance, and no laws broken, issued disorderly conduct charges to all 5 of our members.
The Madison Police Department also issued a press release which relayed a department procedure which would violate the rights of law-abiding open-carriers who would choose to go legally armed for self-defense in Madison. [Click here for the press release.]
By arresting our members without cause and issuing a press release detailing a policy of violating the rights of other law-abiding open-carriers who should choose to carry in Madison, Wisconsin Carry immediately took action to file a lawsuit to prevent this chilling effect on the right to Carry in Madison. We look forward to the precedent this lawsuit will set.
Those who work, live, or travel to Madison are entitled to the same rights as the rest of the state. Wisconsin has a state and federal constitutionally guaranteed right to carry. Open-carry is the only legal way to carry in this state. Wisconsin’s attorney general verified the legality of open-carry in a memo to all police chiefs and district attorney’s in 2009.
The City of Madison may not deny individuals the right to carry handguns in nonsensitive places, deprive individuals of the right to carry handguns in an arbitrary and capricious manner, or enforce its laws, customs and practices through its police department or impose regulations on the right to carry handguns that are inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, § 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution.