TTAG reader BG writes:
As a cop, how should I encounter a belligerent possibly intoxicated person open carrying a long gun? After several reports of irrational or possible drunken behavior of an obviously armed person? Or would he have been better off being cordial with the officers? I think his behavior was disorderly at the least . . .
From a police perspective, we get calls of “suspicious persons” all the time. What you call suspicious and what someone else sees as this can vary largely. When there are multiple callers and have specific information on why the person is suspicious or that may be a crime being committed. Police will respond accordingly. When police make contact it’s generally how the suspicious person responds that dictates what happens next.
The video shows the police going from citizen contact to using a minor infraction to detain the person. Is there a crime afoot? Maybe… It’s too soon to tell. Callers reported behavior consistent with being intoxicated and the officer sees the same.
If the open carry activist was cordial on contact. Spoke to the officer politely. The officer could determine if he was intoxicated or not. And either been on his way or not depending on the possession of a firearm while intoxicated issue.
Instead it went the other way.
I’ve experienced this a lot in my 14 years in police work. I’ve had drivers start screaming at me telling me I had “no right to stop them” before they listened to why I did. One example was the guy I stopped and went on a 5 min tirade on how I was “trampling his rights” before I could tell him I stopped him to return the wallet I watched him drop at the gas pump.
The officers may have information you don’t, and they may not know if the info is 100% kosher yet. More often than not your reaction to an officer will dictate how that encounter unfolds.