Remember the YouTube video (well, audio really) of a guy open carrying in Philadelphia? RF wrote about it. The one where what sounds like half a precinct held the guy at gunpoint, telling him he didn’t have the right to open carry in Philly?  Yeah, that one.  All the cool kids saw (heard) it.  It turns out that the brave (reckless?) open-carrier was right.  He did, in fact, have the right to open carry as a licensed gun owner.  But that was by no means the end of the story

During the confrontation, Mark Fiorino clearly told the cops that, “It’s Directive 137. It’s your own internal directive.” He’d obviously done his homework. Apparently that directive hadn’t made it down to the cops on the beat.

After cuffing him and checking with HQ, the little matter of the legality of open carry in The City of Brotherly Love was determined and Fiorino was released.  With profuse apologies and begging of forgiveness, no doubt.

But what really got the Philly PD hot and bothered was when Fiorino posted the audio on YouTube. So they launched a new investigation into the incident, decided he provoked the whole megillah on purpose and the DA charged him with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct for refusing to cooperate with police.

Philly PD spokesman LT. Ray Evers said they believe Fiorino intended to provoke the confrontation, to make the cops lose their cool as lawsuit bait.  Fiorino has, in fact, said he intends to sue the city once the criminal charges are resolved.

Lt. Francis Healy, the department’s attorney admitted that their officers didn’t know the law.  Seems they’d never addressed it. “Right now, our officers are better-versed on the subject matter.”  Good to know.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, if not planning a confrontation, Fiorino was, at a minimum, more than ready for one.  You can forgive the cops’ suspicions.

Moral of the story: Proving a cop is wrong is one thing.  Embarrass a cop in front of the world, though, and you’re in for a world of hurt. And expense.

 

44 Responses to Philly Open Carry Confrontation Follow-Up

  1. Thank you, Mr. Foriono, for exposing these criminals.

    “It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, if not planning a confrontation, Fiorino was, at a minimum, more than ready for one. You can forgive the cops’ suspicions.”

    What BS. He did his research. Is that so hard to imagine?

  2. We all know that it’s not nice to fool mother nature, and it’s also a really dumb idea to piss off the cops. I know and have met dozen’s of police officers over the years and I’ve never met any like these guys. The cops I’ve met are good people who really like to help others and their not out to ruin anyone’s life.

    • My father was a cop for 28 years, my brother was a cop for 20 and I have five cousins with a combined 80 years on the force. I’ve had more cop friends and acquaintances than I can count, almost all of them NYPD. And from my experience these Philly thugs are the rule, not the exception. Damn near every cop I’ve ever known has had a sense of entitlement and carried themselves as though their job was to rule the public rather than serve them.

      I don’t know what area you live in. Possibly policing in a big city attracts a different mentality than in a smaller town or rural area. But someone needs to keep these guys honest, and if that’s what Fiorino did then good on him. Even if it was a “sting” operation, it couldn’t have worked if the cops were honest professionals.

      • “I don’t know what area you live in. Possibly policing in a big city attracts a different mentality than in a smaller town or rural area. But someone needs to keep these guys honest, and if that’s what Fiorino did then good on him. Even if it was a “sting” operation, it couldn’t have worked if the cops were honest professionals.”

        The size of the area is irrelevant methinks. I had some friends in high school who went on to be cops and the only one who doesn’t think he owns the city is the one named Julie. Everyone of these guys, even in public settings (parties, weddings), seem to think that they have a say in what everyone does, whether legal or not.

        I should add that the majority of these guys grew up in homes with dads who were drunks (although that could be just the Irish side-effect).

        Kudos to dude.

  3. He’s lucky he didn’t try that in Maryland. They would have hit him up for illegal “wiretapping.”

  4. Frankly, I think he did the police a favor. Now, they know what the law is. Now, if somebody in Philly wants to open carry their perfectly-legal firearm, they can. They can likely still expect to be questioned by the police, but it’s less likely that Officer Ignorant will respond with his gun drawn, which is a good thing.

  5. I have not listened to the audio. Judging from the excerpts in the audio the guy was being a dickhead. I’m glad he was exercising his rights but being a dickhead rarely makes things easier.

    • @Gerard

      If you have not listened to the entire audio, how can you say “the guy was being a dickhead?”

      Is it not better to be armed with the facts before you make an attemtp to comment about that which you have NO first hand knowledge? That was very ignorant of you to call the young man a “dickhead” when you admit you did not listen to the audio…in fact you should be embarrassed and feel foolish.

      Listen to the audio and inform yourself before you comment.

  6. I’ve been following this since it happened. The PPD didn’t know the law, and they handled the situation wrong. Illegally even. No doubt.

    I also have a gut feeling that Fiorino fancied himself an activist well prior to this incident, and he was ready to turn an event like this to suit his cause the moment it fell into his lap. I absolutely do not think he’s in it to make money. Is he an OC activist or is he an anti-cop activist? I have a gut feeling he doesn’t like cops and takes great pleasure in when he is right and they are wrong. Keep in mind that these speculations, if true, in now way change the fact that the PPD didn’t know the law, and did something illegal as a result.

    PPD is trying to nail him to send a message to anyone who would air their dirty laundry. The PPD thinks this objective was Fiorino’s primary intent. Maybe it was? Maybe he was using a right imparted to him in the spirit of defense (of personal defense) and some realities which exist around that right (knowledge that PPD is ignorant of this right), as an offensive weapon against a group he doesn’t like (cops). Personally I believe such behavior is ethically wrong, but it is DEFINITELY not illegal. If that is the case it makes him a jerk, not a criminal according to our laws as they are typically upheld.

    Look at the Westboro Baptist Church (cult) using the right to free speech, imparted to them in the spirit of defense (of peaceful petition), as an offensive weapon against those they don’t like (umm… everyone). The supreme court just ruled this behavior legal.

    In the end, I think it is a particularly dumb form of activism to put your life at the mercy of your opponent’s ignorance, i.e. when you already know they are ignorant in a way that could make you dead. A post-mortem debate on why the dead guy was right is pretty damned academic.

    From being stopped for OC before, he knew in advance that PPD was ignorant regarding OC. If he wanted to fix that problem it would have been safer to email/fax/hand deliver a little PSA on the relevant statutes to each precinct after the first time he was wrongly detained for this. This is a rights issue that doesn’t require anyone to risk their life to resolve.

    If the PPD was (law-)smarter they’d drop the case. If Fiorino was (street-)smarter he’d not get between an ignorant cop (or an ignorant anybody) and a gun again. Both parties need to examine their motivations behind their actions and really think about what is in their best interests, not what boosts their ego.

    -D

      • What does that even mean Barb? Seriously? A slave? Because I can exercise my rights without martyring myself? I’m not a slave to anything, including sentimental ideologies or the need to be a sexy activist.

        If you hold some kind of weird extremist ideology that you necessarily MUST martyr yourself to defend your rights when there are other much smarter ways of doing so, I know a bearded guy with a hole in his eye floating somewhere in the pacific you’d really get along with.

        We’re supposed to be smarter than that in this country, Barb.

        -D

        • If you believe that defending your rights in the face of jack-boot thuggery is “martyring yourself” and exemplifies “extremist ideology” you will deserve the chains you and your children will wear. If you choose to cower in fear and bow and scrape to never give the government and its jack-booted agents offense, please kindly STFU while men of action discuss the matter. Fiorino should be applauded and supported and these cops should be on the unemployment line and facing charges.

          Here’s another extremist you could learn a thing or two from, slave.

        • You are vehemently arguing against a point I never made.

          Kind of weird.

          I’d try to explain it again but it would be useless for three reasons, 1) you could just read it again. 2) some serious combination of cognitive dissonance and delusion will prevent you from interpreting it correctly after spouting off like a madman as you have been. I anticipate you would just switch into face saving mode if you suddenly understood the point I am making is in the general ballpark of your own ideology. 3) You are the kind of fellow who thinks it acceptable to call people you know literally nothing about “slaves” and telling them to “STFU”, so really how much can be expected of you?

          If you simply can’t see how one could get exactly the same results or maybe even better for this cause through non-antagonistic means and without putting oneself at risk or expense… Well then you truly are a man of “action” not of “reason”.

          Invoking the Rosa Parks example…
          Her fight was one to actually change law and a whole way of thinking (not just to raise awareness of an already existing law). Much harder objective. As TTACer has stated, she was specifically chosen for her SYMPATHETIC character, she was coached, and fully supported. There was a lot of really clever planning and risk assessment beforehand. It was done intelligently.

          Also, all of the “jack boot thuggery” and “children wearing chains” is a bit ridiculous. “Proof by hyperbolic rhetoric” doesn’t work on anyone. Contrary, it undermines your arguments. There are actual military dictatorships around the world in existence today. There are actually children in chains. It really speaks to your understanding of real world Fascism that you would equate the a few ignorant cops who did something illegal to Nazi Germany or child slavery.

          I hope PPD loses their criminal case against Fiorino and learns an important lesson about OC laws, and an important lesson about what bullying will get them. I hope the expense and trouble of all of this teaches half cocked activists to think about better ways of achieving their objectives. Maybe going off fully cocked next time. That is all.

      • Rosa Parks was not just a little old lady tired of moving to the back of the bus. She was an activist trained at the Highlander Folk School and chosen by the NAACP (for which she was secretary of the Montgomery chapter) specifically for the role of plaintiff because she was a sympathetic character. That in no way diminishes her accomplishments, it just illustrates what it takes to achieve change.

        • +1111! you are the man! A new book call “at the Dark End of the Street” I read will really change the way people view Mrs. Parks, one brave lady for sure.

    • I agree completely Don. I have a concealed carry permit. If I’m pulled over or detained my answers will be “yes officer”, “no officer”, etc. This fellow was cooperative, but just a bit argumentative with “Officer Potty Mouth”. I would have realized in the first few verbal exchanges that attempting to debate him while he had his gun pointed at my head wasn’t going to work in my favor. I would have simply and politely reassured him that I was on his side and one of the good guys, and then kept quiet and waited for further instructions. These guys have the badge, the uniform. the gun and the authority. If all they want is to be a control freak for a few minutes, just oblige them. I’m not saying the cop was right, hell no. But when he’s holding a pistol pointed at your head, he’s in charge. Unless you want to commit “suicide by cop”.

      And as a CCP holder you learn (or should learn) to be observant of your surroundings. And to avoid getting into situations where you might have to draw your weapon. You DO NOT go strutting around like a macho $#ithead Rooster looking to pick a fight. Because if you do have to use your weapon and you are completely justified in doing so, you still will CERTAINLY face thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs. I’m reminded of “Spiderman’s Uncle” saying “with great power comes great responsibility” or something like that. When you choose to carry you MUST accept the responsibility that comes with that decision.

  7. “the DA charged him with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct for refusing to cooperate with police.”

    It’s obvious to me he cooperated with the police. If he hadn’t, crazy Officer Fife would have probably shot him. The Philly PD should have said sorry and dropped the whole thing. That guy is going to get five figures from this because the Philly PD doesn’t know the meaning of the word “quit,” just like they didn’t know the gun laws of their own city.

    • NO!!! He refused a direct order by the officer to go to his knees into a more submissive posture to allow the officer the surity of his cooperation. Instead, this IDIOT talked instead of complying, not having an ounce of a clue what type of bad situations the officers in Philly come across. For all the officer knew, this clown could have been an EDP or worse, a psychopath on shrooms, about ready to commit a crime or suicide by cop. The POINT that you are all missing is that the officer needs to have control of the situation or he is subject to grave mishap. If the IDIOT complied fully, the back up officers would not have had cause to use the force or words that they did. He may have been peacefully arrested, detained, and released when the facts were made known. It would have been a great inconvenience for him, but he chose to allow that possibility by carrying openly in a major city. The fact that he was recording prior to the officer drawing on him and calling him junior means that he knew there would be an event with the officer and CHOSETO BE DEFIANT for the recording. What an extremely bad example of a responsible carry permit holder. You morons who fault the cops live in a fantasy: stop watching so much TV!!!

      • WTF? This guy was doing nothing wrong and the officers threatened him with deadly force. And you expect him to not only comply, but to allow himself to be arrested for something that is perfectly legal?

        If this guy had been walking down the street smoking a cigarette and the cops drew a gun on him and told him to get on his knees because ‘smoking in public is illegal’ would he still be threatened with deadly force, have had to complied, be arrested, and have it all sorted out later? Even though what hes doing is perfectly legal?

        The cops in this situation were completely WRONG. As a citizen I can’t be ignorant of the law, but the police can?

        I’ll admit, if someone with a badge has a gun pointed at you, the time for polite discussion has passed and its probably in your best interests to listen to what he has to say.

      • “psychpath on shrooms” !!!!!! wow, is that line straight out of a dirty harry movie! not for nothing, but that shit is hilarious!

  8. There’s been a lot of ink dedicated to making Mark look like he baited the police, that he did this on purpose, a plethora of other criticisms directed towards him. But the bottom line is that Mark was breaking no law. He did nothing wrong. The actions and reactions of the police on the other hand were predictable, unjustified and inexcusable.

    It’s easy to criticize Mark and others like him if open carry isn’t your cup of tea, but this one incident will have a greater net positive effect on Philadelphia politics and gun rights than years worth of bitching, forum posting, voting and/or letter writing ever could. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of the support given by members of the PAFOA.

    Thank you RF for keeping this covered here on TTAG.

  9. This is just a good summary of Philly as a whole, from ignorant cops to violent sports fans to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

  10. There’s “right” and there’s “smart.” Mark was in the right. But he’s lucky he’s alive. If even one of the cops that were on the scene decided that Fiorino represented a threat, the result of this wouldn’t be a lawsuit for wrongful arrest – but one for wrongful death.

    I think getting the police to obey the law and exposing corruption is great. But I think there are ways to do it where you don’t put yourself at risk of getting shot.

    • This is where I come down on this. Fiorino was definitely in the right and knew it. But he should have known that failing to fully cooperate with a cop (cops) who is pointing his gun at you is asking for trouble. In a place like Philly, doubly so.

      Given how he responded, he’s extremely lucky he isn’t six feet under right now. Better to cooperate and ensure you live to prove your point after the heat of the situation has dissipated.

  11. It doesn’t sound to me like Philadelphia has much of a case if their rationale is that Fiorino provoked the incident. How exactly can walking down the street, going about his business in a perfectly legal manner, be considered provocation? Is there any allegation by anyone that he did anything else to get police to draw down on him?

    There was one part of the audio where he politely refused to get down on the ground. That’s the one thing he did that I disagree with, but I don’t think reasonable people would call that reckless endangerment.

    I can’t help but suspect that PPD is engaged in a deliberate campaign to harass and intimidate OCers because Philadelphia politicians are unhappy with the law imposed by the state. If you’re a LEO and you see someone walking around with a gun in a holster, not dressed like a gangbanger, and you’re in a state where every jurisdiction except your city allows OC without any permit at all, doesn’t pointing a gun at that person and shouting obscenities seem like an odd response to choose? In the audio, the sergeant tells Fiorino that the issue is that it has to be concealed. If they believe they’re merely dealing with a citizen who misunderstands the law, and the disagreement boils down not to the gun itself, but to a piece of cloth covering the gun, why do they continue treating him like a violent felon? Wouldn’t a more reasonable response be something like “Hey, you need to cover that up. I’m going to write you a ticket”? Whether or not my suspicion is correct that PPD harasses OCers despite knowing that OC is legal with a LTCF, the blame for provoking the incident and making it as tense and dangerous as it was rests almost entirely with the officers involved.

    • I find it interesting that it’s standard procedure to “get on your knees.”
      I found myself thinking “With THESE knees? You HAVE to be joking.”

      Remaining standing and calm, was pretty brave and maybe stupid, but I’ll applaud, if the end result means he gets a big pile of money and the cops stop harrassing people. It’s the only language government understands.

      If it was a “sting” it was far better played than what cops usually do. Here in Seattle the cops spent TWO YEARS undercover trying to get a guy to commit a crime.

  12. To be charitable, Fiorino has misapplied the concept of civil protest and/or disobedience. When a person wants to make a point about the misapplication of a law your actual objective is to get arrested because you want to get into the court system. You don’t resist arrest, you make them arrest you and then have the court throw out the case. That is how several OC activists in Arlington Virginia made their point. Arlington had an ordinance prohibiting open carry. They walked into a restaurant and got busted. The Virginia Courts then established a citizen’s right to open carry under the State’s Keep and Bear clause.

    Fiorino is a jerk and publicity hound who didn’t do us any favors. It would have been much more gratifying when the Courts B***h slapped the PPD over his arrest.

    • You’re assuming, as the PPD does, that his mission was to provoke the incident. I don’t think that’s the case here. He was at his mother’s house and was walking to an auto parts store. He had gotten into the habit of being prepared with a recorder because of previous run-ins, but he didn’t choose to have an encounter with police at all.

      To say that he was out looking for trouble just because he had a recorder in his pocket is to make the same error as the antis who say that those of us who carry–whether openly or concealed–are vigilantes out looking for trouble just because we’re prepared with a gun.

      • He has CCW permit. He didn’t have to open carry. That tells me he was trying to make a point. My only objection to his action is that he should have let them arrest him and then kick their asses in Court.

  13. As a person I am REQUIRED to know the law and if I do not know and I violate it then I am still held responsible for breaking it. The INSTANT profanity from this government empowered person is in violation of the law in Texas….. but maybe up north there are no open profanity laws? We need to be prepared (as in cameras, voice recorders) to have evidence of what REALLY happened. It is clear that the official chose to change the facts and try to cover his wrong–by blaming the legally gun carrying citizen for something he CLEARLY did NOT do!

  14. Sorry Don, I have to agree with Barbarossa. I went back and re-read your original post. You do write like a slave who is unwilling to practice your rights – if that action might make a policeman uncomfortable. How dare anyone carry a gun in the open…except him! How dare anyone complain when a policeman draws his weapon and points it at your chest – then says, “hi, junior”.

    I listened to the recording. I do NOT believe that officer felt at all threatened when the encounter first started. He seemed very happy to have drawn down on a citizen with a pistol IN a holster … just like his.

    You seem too willing to let police get away with ignorance of the LAW; forget the internal memo REMINDING them of the law. Every level of our Governments make new laws every year, that we citizens are expected to be aware of. When you’re arrested, try telling a cop or DA that you just want to go home because you were ignorant of one of their laws and didn’t really mean to break it… 🙂

    • @Mike & Barbarossa

      I agree with both of you, Don seems all too willing to submit to authority. the man was willing to get on his knees, maybe Don missed the part when Fiorino asked if he could take a step out of the dirt.

      “Activist?” Yeah, rights are not yeilded by those with power, it takes those that are willing to get out front to make an issue of things. So for those all too willing to have blind loyalty and faith in police, they are not immune from violating your rights and abusing you. There are times in which activist or citizens that are willing to stand up and educate those that are charged to uphold and enforce the law must do so. We’d still be British subjects if those brave Founding Fathers were not willing to stand up and be activist.

      I am an member of an Open Carry group here in communist California and we learned very early on that voice activated recorders and video were very necessary to be sure that our right to engage in OC was not violated by some overly zealous LEO. The LEOs are only allowed to inspect the weapon to make sure it is not loaded, not run serial #s, so we had to start covering the serial #s just to make the LEOs obey the law and not go on a fishing expedition of checking for stolen weapons.

      We were forced to OC because Sheriffs and Police Chiefs in California are totally unwilling to issue CCW permits and trying to get one is next to impossible.

      Now that we have exercised our OC right…the fools in Sacramento are trying to make it illegal to even open OC. The fight never stops.

      • Again, throwing your weight against points I never made. Point to where I say I am content with police getting away with committing illegal acts or excuse their ignorance.

        Me believing in your plight isn’t enough for you. If I agree with your ends and not your means, that is the same to you as being against your position. That’s a pretty unsustainable attitude. It will work against the objective of maintaining gun rights. That is foolish.

    • You too are apparently arguing against a point which I never (or anyone in this comment thread) made.

      Again, that is kind of weird. It suggests that you are choosing me as a target of misplaced aggression, like Barb was. In fact, the points you are ascribing to me in your first paragraph are nothing close to anything I stated or believe in.

      Point to a place which I suggest I’d be willing to let the PPD get away with their illegal act and subsequent bullying.

      “Proof by calling someone a slave repeatedly” isn’t a really compelling rhetorical strategy either.

      As a side note:
      It is common fallacy in human behavior to choose a surrogate enemy based on infinitesimal differences when no more suitable target (like someone with vast irreconcilable differences) is present, and then to rail against this surrogate enemy as you would a real one. This is particular true in special interest groups, and it is what causes them to implode.

  15. Waaay up at the top, James Felix said:

    Damn near every cop I’ve ever known has had a sense of entitlement and carried themselves as though their job was to rule the public rather than serve them.

    Could that be a regional/cultural thing? I don’t see as much of that out West (and what I see, I see more prevalently in big cities.) Maybe it has something to do with big cities being more stratified or balkanized because they have more people in them. People tend to group themselves into “tribes” by race/economic status/job and regard anybody outside that “tribe” with suspicion. The cops, of course, are their own tribe. In the West, where populations are smaller, less dense, and more culturally homogenous, there is less of a sense of belonging to a group that is separate and apart from the other groups.

    Another factor could be the fact that in the West the highest law enforcement official is typically the sheriff, who, unlike the chief of police, is elected directly by the people. If citizens have a bad run in with a sheriff’s deputy, they may remember come election time. In contrast, from what I’ve seen many Eastern and Southern states have “County Police” whose chief is an appointed official with no direct accountability to the citizens.

  16. The confrontation was rather stunning on all levels. The vulgarities spewing from police mouths was unfreakingbelievable. Public servants, I think not. Here’s the problem: These folk in Philly, and across the US, are walking the streets with a 10% awareness of the laws in-place. All citizens are at the mercy of half-cocked law enforcement officers who aren’t even able to keep up with the flume of ridiculous laws being passed daily. In a certain way the police are at a strong disadvantage, and by extension so are we. It’s exceedingly dangerous for the populace under such conditions and especially so when one can end up on the business ends of a dozen service weapons.

    It’s every citizens’ responsibility to protect oneself, learn proper self-defense techniques and undergo training.

  17. It’s scary. Not only the story, but several people’s comments too. “Mark was wrong, Mark was wrong!” No he wasn’t. He had the right to Open Carry and he did walk and open carried a pistol. He didn’t do anything illegal. The police officer did illegal things.

    “Get on your knees!”

    What is this? You can say this to your GF, but not to a law abiding citizen who does nothing wrong, nothing illegal! You can be a LEO or a Bloods or Crips gang member, if you point a gun at random people, that’s a crime. Isn’t it?

    And none of the police officers knew the law. Just wow.

    It’s even scarier if Mark is the one in trouble now.

  18. Mark, was right and is owed an apology from the chief and cops on the scene, Even though he’s lucky to be alive, cops ALWAYS cover for each other werong or right and the recorder is the only thing that will save his A$$

  19. No. The moral of the story is not to open carry and invite confrontation. I don’t care what the law implies, in a big bad city like Philly, anyone attempting to open carry is a loon and asking for attention. Wise up and be smart.

  20. Mark here.
    I did nothing to try and provoke the police. I open carry everywhere when I go out, all day. It has nothing to do with Philadelphia, it’s just the way I prefer to carry because it is more comfortable and more suitable for my mode of dress. It’s also my right to do so, and to have a police officer ignorantly point his service weapon at me and tell me that I am committing a crime because I am American is entirely unacceptable.

  21. The cop was a idiot right from the start. Anyone who speaks to you like that an swears that much for no reason should be fired. Walmart can use more gold cart guards.

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