Wisconsin Carry, Inc. has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Brookfield, WI and four Brookfield Police officers, after the po-po arrested one of their members back on the fourth of July, 2010. [Click here for a copy of the lawsuit.] TTAG covered this case; Wisconsin Carry’s press release [after the jump] fails to make it clear that the woman in question was NOT a member of the congregation. Also unmentioned: Ms. Sutterfield received a citation for driving with a loaded Glock in a zipped case on the passenger seat. When I interviewed Ms Sutterfield, it was clear to me she knew her actions would be inflammatory to members of a church with whom she had no previous affiliation. Given that the Unitarian Church Board is on record as freaking out, this is not a slam dunk . . .
Our member who has been a victim of violent crime in the past openly carries a sidearm for personal protection as Wisconsin law allows. On July 4th she was attending church services in Brookfield, WI. After the service, a church member called the non-emergency number of the Brookfield Police Department to inquire as to the legality of open-carry. Brookfield Police responded to the call by sending several officers/squads to the church. On the way to the church the officers were made aware by the dispatcher that our member was not being threatening or creating a disturbance. As our member was leaving the parking lot in her vehicle. A Brookfield Police officer waved her down drew his weapon and ordered her out of her car at gunpoint.
As open-carry is perfectly legal in Wisconsin and the officers were aware our member had threatened no one and caused no disturbance, the officers had no reasonable articulable suspicion, which the law requires, to stop and detain our member against her will. In addition, by drawing their guns on a law-abiding citizen who had done nothing wrong, the officers used an unlawful threat of deadly force during their unlawful detainment of our member. The police proceeded to, without reasonable suspicion or probable cause that any crime had occurred, conduct an unlawful and unconstitutional search of our members person and car. Our member was then unlawfully arrested and taken to the Brookfield Police Department for processing.
Wisconsin Carry has filed this lawsuit to obtain damages on behalf of our member for the unlawful arrest and violations of her civil rights by the Brookfield Police Department. On behalf of our members all across the state, Wisconsin Carry continues to establish a precedent that departments who violate the rights of law-abiding Wisconsinites who legally carry in the only manner Wisconsin Law allows “open carry” will face legal consequences.
In a virtually identical situation in San Diego, CA a person lawfully open carrying was detained/arrested in a similar manner. Within the last few weeks that case resulted in a $35,000 settlement from the City of San Diego paid to the man unlawfully arrested at gunpoint. Click here for details of that case.
Wisconsin Carry, Inc. has also obtained a $10,000 judgement in Federal Court against the city of Racine earlier this year for an unlawful arrest of one of our members who was approached by police merely because he was legally open carrying.
Wisconsin Carry is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the protection and expansion of the right to carry in Wisconsin. We believe that “conceal carry” and “open carry” are choices to be made by the law-abiding citizen based on their own preference, not the government’s. As open carry is generally the only legal way to exercise the right to carry in Wisconsin provided by our state and federal constitution, we advocate that people who wish to carry follow the law and open carry while our organization seeks to expand the right right to carry in Wisconsin to include conceal carry. Our website is www.wisconsincarry.org
Chairman/President – Wisconsin Carry, Inc.