Reader John Dingell III writes:

There has been an interesting development in the case of two individuals who were arrested for open carry in the anteroom of the Dearborn, Michigan Police Department headquarters. Two men from central Michigan were arrested for entering the DPD headquarters building while carrying, and filming themselves while doing so. They were reportedly using open carry to protest what they believed was a bogus traffic stop which went down earlier in Dearborn.

These two have been abandoned by Michigan’s open carry movement due to the allegation that they were using open carry to protest something entirely unrelated to Second Amendment rights, but it doesn’t appear that their actions actually violated Michigan law.

At least one of the two was wearing ‘body armor’, which added to the provocative nature of their actions. Carry in police stations is actually not prohibited by Michigan law. In fact, it is a violation of Michigan law to prohibit firearms in a police station outside of secured areas.

Now we have a remarkable discovery from Nicholas Somberg, the defense attorney for Brandon Vreeland of Jackson: the Dearborn Police secretly monitored the two ‘Second Amendment activists’ and essentially ambushed both men as they were filming themselves walking into the Dearborn Police headquarters.

From yesterday’s free.com article:

A lawyer says Dearborn police, using Facebook profile name “Olivia,” secretly monitored a network of Second Amendment activists and ambushed two men who filmed themselves walking into police headquarters last month.

Nicholas Somberg, who represents 40-year-old Brandon Vreeland of Jackson, said the Feb. 5 incident was a “political witch hunt” as his client and James Baker, 24, of Leonard, Mich., were arrested. In a YouTube video, Baker can be seen in a black ski mask with a short-barreled rifle slung over his chest and a semi-automatic pistol strapped to his hip; Vreeland had on body armor but left his gun in the car, instead bringing along cameras to videotape the encounter that was about to take place.

“After the discovery, it is very clear that Dearborn (police) knew that they were coming, knew who they were, and planned the ambush,” Somberg said. “It’s not that they were reacting to a situation they thought was going to be violent. They actually knew it was not violent, knew who they were, and just wanted to teach these guys a lesson.”

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad didn’t immediately respond Friday to a Free Press request for comment.

Somberg is building an entrapment case on behalf of Vreeland, with First and Second Amendment kickers. It is important to note here that the reported actions of Vreeland and Baker did not violate Michigan law; the only possible valid legal charges against them would have to be based on intent.

The novelty of this case is the use of a police department’s social media monitoring department against gun owners engaged in seemingly legal activities. It is quite likely that the traffic stop which precipitated this incident was indeed bogus and the illegal fruit of social media monitoring.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad is profoundly anti-gun. He has also faced a lot of scrutiny for the ‘shoot first’ culture of his department, and is facing a number of lawsuits for police shootings of Detroiters (black Detroit city residents who have strayed into Dearborn). He also has a lot of social turmoil going on within his department. The question is whether Haddad set this up this incident for its propaganda value.

It has long been known that NYPD has a social media group staffed with over 100 people ostensibly spying on terrorists, but they actually work at keeping gang bangers off balance, too. It appears that Dearborn PD also has a social media section. Note here that Dearbornistan has a very large Arab/Muslim population, so the DPD social media team is probably also funded by the feds (DHS).

Gun owners should probably be made aware that big brother is watching them on social media, at least in DHS-funded cities. BATFE also seems to be monitoring social media to make ‘dealing without a license’ cases here in Michigan, but this is a developing story and more information is needed to make this one newsworthy.

65 Responses to Report: Dearborn Cops Tracked Open Carriers Via Social Media Before Police Station Arrests

    • Word. It amazes me the crap that gets said on sites like this by supposedly tech savvy folk. I know next to nothing about computers. Play no video games. Don’t even have a smart phone.

      But even if the “man” isn’t able to track you today, all those comments stay out there. When the tech shifts in his favor, just like dna profiling is busting open old cases, he’ll be able to show up in the middle of your life.

  1. Of course the police moniter social media. I thought this was SOP in 2017. You simply do not put anything online that you wouldnt be willling to do or say in public. I learned this when I was 6.

    Now I’m not saying that Dearborn PD doesnt have @$$holes, but these guys weren’t exactly saints either. If you’re going to antagonize the police (and thats what this was, make no mistake), you can expect them to do a better job antagonizing you back.

      • lol what is that supposed to mean? They think they can do it for the same reason they think they can listen when someone is yelling something on the street- it’s public.

    • It was SOP in 2005.

      How anyone today, after all the revelations, leaks and hearings, can not believe they are under 24/7 surveillance of at least some type if baffling to me.

      I am being watched, tracked, listened to and having future behavior projected by algorithms. As are each and every one of us. This is absolute unquestionable fact.

      Most definitely Trump was and is bugged. Who ordered it and by what mechanism it was done is stupid semantics meant to distract the plebes from the truth. I know he is bugged because you are bugged, I am bugged, grandma Moses is bugged. If you’re within 20 feet of anything connected to a network of any kind you are bugged. If you are out on a public street with lights and cameras you are bugged. If the guy across the street has a home security system you are bugged.

      No, Agent Smith isn’t sitting in a van with a bionic ear pointed at you but sure enough an uncomfortable amount of data collected on and about you specifically is sitting on a server in Utah.

      • It strikes me that “bugged” doesn’t mean what it used to. It’s worse now.

        It used to mean a real-time listener on a phone or a microphone, or a tape recorder on same. Very limited number of those could be monitored at any one time.

        Digital storage is so cheap now, and digital recording devices so cheap and ubiquitous, it’s easy to record just about anything and store it for later search. Much more powerful and much more disquieting, actually.

        • But it’s all after-the-fact.

          The feds rarely stop anything because there is too much to look for and they aren’t looking for it, for a variety of reasons. The imported wife of the San Bernardino shooter pair “liked” jihadi videos on Facebook and was “following” other terrorist groups, and the Feds were still too incompetent to stop her entry. And one of the Boston bombers was let in because he had his name misspelled on his customs forms when he entered the country after visiting a terrorist training camp, AND we had been tipped off in advance by Russian security.

    • If we killed every cop who ever pulled a gun on a law abiding citizen, we wouldn’t have any cops left. I don’t think that’s a solution to anything.

      Any more bright ideas?

  2. Many PD, prosecutors, and judges should follow Michigan Open Carry so they have a better understanding of the law.

      • In my state, the crimes code is 169 pages broken into 90 chapters of crimes. The vehicle code is about the same. Patrol cops will cite or arrest for about a half a dozen common items:

        Disorderly conduct
        Summary and simple assault
        Theft by unlawful taking or disposition
        Defiant Trespassing
        Retail theft.

        The rest of the book is full of gems that will never come up in a 25 year career. Things like:
        Bigamy
        Barratry
        Prohibiting of paramilitary training
        Public exhibition of insane or deformed person
        Administering drugs to race horses

        • I challenge anyone without a law degree to truly “understand” the gun laws in many anti-gun states. NY is a great example where the law boils down to: You can not possess a gun with the following exceptions, each exception of which has its own exceptions where you still can’t possess a gun, each exception of exception then has its own definitions and, yes exceptions.

          At some point the incredibly complex and specific law is functionally as bad as the incredibly vague.

  3. Entrapment? Did the cops give them the bright idea of coming into the police station armed and with the identity of at least one of them partially concealed? Did the cops provide their firearms, clothing, or camera? If they didn’t, then it’s not entrapment.

    • Obviously if their actions were legal then this is a conspiracy to supress rights and a title 18 felony on the part of the police.

      • Hey! People who know what entrapment actually means!

        Also, just because the cops arrest someone whose actions are later found to be legal does not necessarily constitute a violation of civil rights. That’s what the courts are for. Lots of people are found not guilty, it doesn’t mean the cops did not have the legal ability to arrest them. To be a civil rights violation the law must be settled on the issue and the courts must have spoken clearly and without contradiction such that a police officer could not reasonably believe that a crime was committed or that he\she had probable cause. That’s a high bar to reach.

    • I can only assume that either the lawyer isn’t very educated in investigative techniques (not what you want in a criminal lawyer) or he know his client is boned. Gotta try either way, though.

    • Enter a police station or any other place in a ski mask and a rifle you can expect to get shot.
      They were lucky that the cops knew who they were.
      If someone is coming down my driveway wearing a ski mask and sporting a rifle and a pistol I’m going to be making some assumptions. I don’t plan on waiting to see if they are only making a statement.
      If you are a proponent of open carry, fine, just don’t do stupid things it really does make you look stupid.

  4. Something something keep your accounts private, something something don’t add random women you don’t know…

    Hell even my local sheriff told me they do this stuff with the gang member types. Just find a pic of a girl, friend a thug, then profit…

    Utter stupidity if you ask me. But hey, you probably aren’t too smart if you’re open carrying an AK pistol at the low ready into the local PD…

  5. If you walk into a Police department wearing body armor, all black clothing including a mask covering most of your face and carrying an AK, you bet the Police are going to react. What do you expect them to do ? Act like you are just another ordinary citizen walking in to pay a parking ticket ?

    • Michael B,

      You conveniently failed to mention that Dearborn police knew those two men were coming and WHY they were coming before they arrived.

      Let’s be clear. The two men had not demonstrated any intent to attack anyone. They were not breaking any laws. They did not have firearms in hand. They had demonstrated intent to file a complaint. And the Dearborn police knew that they were coming and why they were coming. The Dearborn police reaction was blatant OVERREACTION to two individuals who were guilty of “contempt of cop”.

      And all of us recoiled in sympathetic (to the police) horror because the police were supposedly so viscerally afraid of legal activity.

      And the police being viscerally afraid wouldn’t be a problem except that they proceeded to point their firearms at two guys who had no firearms in hand (and the one guy had no firearms at all) … and of course arrested the two guys. THAT is the problem.

      Finally, do note that the cops yelled at the guy with the camera who had no visible firearms strapped to his hip, slung over his shoulder, or in his hands. The cops ordered that guy with the camera to drop his camera and lie down on the ground. Why? What laws was he breaking bringing a video camera to a police station? What credible, imminent threat of death or great bodily harm did he present that justified use of deadly force (the police aiming their firearms at him)?

  6. The bigger lesson here is to think with your head, not the other head, and stop accepting random friend invites from: 1. people you don’t know. 2. People you wouldn’t stop and chat to in a grocery store. 3. Random women.

    LE monitoring of social media has been pretty standard since the days when MySpace was king.

    • I see a lot of those random women in the People You May Know section. Not sure what is up with that but they are obviously fake.

  7. Let’s see. Walking into a police station with a slung AR wearing a balaclava.
    Hmmm. I’m thinking that’s the opposite of smart.

  8. I fail to see the problem here.

    While I may not be quite the President of the LEO fan club, those guys and gals don’t need clowns like these two fucking with them.

  9. It doesn’t matter if it was smart, Darwin award, or any other such thing. The only two things that matter here are 1. Is it legal (YES), and, 2. Did the police know they were coming? (YES)

    They could come in wearing scream masks, clown suits, Middle eastern cloths, if they police didn’t know someone was coming and came in kitted up or looking like a stereotypical bad guy, I may give them some slack, but otherwise its a blatant ambush and conspiracy to deprive rights.

    • So if the cops DIDN’T know it was a “peaceful demonstration” by a guy dressed in a balaclava with an AR pistol at low ready, and another with a ballistic vest, you would give them some slack – like “DROP THE GUN DON’T MOVE FREEZE ON THE FLOOR I SAID DON’T MOVE DROP THE GUN!”

      Bang bang bang bang. “QUIT RESISTING!”
      “They’re dead, Jim.” “Well, then he needs to stop resisting. MFer come diddly bopping in here dressed like an ISIS fighter? MFer deserved that anchor shot. ”

      In other words, it’s probably a a good thing these jackwagons couldn’t plan a trip to the beach without letting DPD in on their plans. It saved their worthless lives.

      • Freedom of speech is also legal, including criticizing the police. Disturbing the peace by yelling “eff the popos!” outside your house at 2:00 AM is not.

        I’ll bet somebody can make a charge of disturbing the peace stick against these morons.

  10. Police have colege grads(who would have thunk that) and many take courses how people act. The FBI started it, but many PDs across this land know how to push someone’s buttons. They have been known to entrap someone out of jail, on parole, into doing something he shouldn’t, by making him feel low about having a low paying dead end job. A road dawg from the past comes into thier life, they get to be friends and they soon find out how to play the “mark”.
    If it goes the way the leos want, the porole goes back to jail for a long time. What do you think happenned to OJ?

    • Cop can’t entrap someone who WANTS to be a criminal. That word – it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

        • “That’s my Chinese public information officer! Sum Ting Wong.” Yee-haw that is so funny!

          Says the loser who lectures others about “racism” @ 10:57 on March 13 in the TTAG article titled, “Wisconsin Supreme Court: city can’t ban weapons from buses.”

          Fetal alcohol syndrome has degraded mental capacity to the level of a plant among white small town gun owners like this clowntard. But they keep NRA in business.

  11. So the cops knew that these protesters were legal all around and arrested them anyway?

    You can beat the rap but you can’t beat the ride?

    Gee, that never happens.

    • That is exactly what this is. As I stated above, these two guys were “guilty” of extreme contempt of cop.

      Well the cops cannot just let that slide.

      Well, I hope the local federal prosecutor will not let those cops slide and prosecutes them for their actual crimes. All of those cops involved should be convicted for illegal arrest, illegal imprisonment, aggravated assault (pointing their firearms at the two men), AND deprivation of rights under color of law.

      As for the people shrieking that the cops were super-duper scared because one guy had a rifle strapped to his body: tough $hit. Every single person who walks in the door (whether or not they are wearing balaclavas or have visible firearms) could be there to murder people. Until such a person acts to harm someone, their appearance does not justify arresting them.

  12. This is one reason I am reluctant to participate in the weekly pistol matches held by out local gun store/range. The day after every match the names and standings of all competitors is posted on Facebook. I live in a pretty gun friendly area but it has always bugged me that this activity is shared on social media.

    • I think most LEO’s use an alias identity for things like FB. It’s mainly for their own protection & privacy, more than for entrapment. It’s the same reason my dad never had a published home phone # while he was a LEO for the Detroit Police Dept.

      • LOL, they used the name of a pig in a huge childrens book series! This alias was well thought out, and hilarious to those of us who read books to our little girls.

  13. Yeah these guys seem more like labilities to Gun rights than some kind of heros. Though open carrying into a police station is legal there, your dress, manner, and language is going to determine a lot about you. Think of it this way, if you see a dude open carrying, walk up to your door, wearing decent clothes, looks clean, has a smile on his face, your probably going to be like, hey right on, I might get along with this guy. Now, put a vest on him, a confrontational attitude and look about him, your probably going to be reaching for yours… I think this chalks up to play stupid games win stupid prizes.

    • This. ^^^

      Selling people on an idea, any idea, is an art form. As Bill said, your dress, manner, language (incuding tone and especially body language), and attitude are everything. And they all have to be tailored to your audience. And when you’re trying to sell an opposing idea to someone, multiply all that by a thousand.

      These guys had none of those things. The idea they were trying to sell to the police was that they should be afraid. They wore masks to sell fear of an anonymous citizenry. They brought guns to sell fear of physical harm. They brought cameras to sell fear of public ridicule. And they masked it as a “civil rights protest” to sell fear of punishment for resisting.

      Thats why what they did was wrong. Because what they said they were doing is not what they actually did. And what they actually did has a legal term for it: Assault.

    • If someone came up to my door with a gun, I wouldn’t answer it. I’d be facing the door, crouched behind the best cover I can find, holding a gun and dialing 911.

      At a police station though, I’d have gun drawn and backup before even thinking of approaching them and finding out if their intent is indeed friendly.

      Edit: I’m reading your post more closely. Ok, gun on the hip or on their back, I can see your point. Gun on their chest or in hand, I’m gonna be extremely cautious at the least.

  14. They completely deserved it, because they broke the cardinal rule: DBAA (don’t be an a-hole). They set out with the intent to antagonize the PD. What did they expect to happen walking in with body armor, a mask, and two firearms? I only wish they tried this crap at a bank and took themselves out of the debate permanently. This should have been an ‘Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Month’.

  15. Police actions are irrelevant in this case. The police did not TELL them to go to a police station armed for Iraq. The gun owners need to go to jail for stupidity or we will embolden more idiots

    • I would love to throw so many people in jail under the guise of stupidity… when can we pass this new law? (as long as there is a carve out clause for me, so I can’t be sent to jail under the guise of stupidity or any other such thing.)

      • I believe that people have every right to be stupid, as long as their stupidity doesn’t affect other people. But I’m all for tossing them in jail if their stupidity is dangerous.

  16. Of course police monitor social media (to varying extents). Using social media is just like walking around town telling people what you’re doing. You don’t have a right to privacy when you’re saying something in public. And when you accept random women as friends (you’d be surprised how many wanted guys do this) it’s akin to walking up to an undercover cop on the street and talking to them. Sorry, no expectation of privacy.

    “Somberg is building an entrapment case on behalf of Vreeland”

    There’s nothing in the article that actually points to entrapment in a legal sense. Did ‘Olivia’ ask them to put on masks, ballistic vests, and come armed to the police station looking like terrorists?

    • Hannibal,

      There are two serious problems with your statements. First of all, you are saying that our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is dependent upon our dress/appearance. Second of all, even if we concede that we only have a right to keep and bear arms when we do not look like terrorists, how do we define what a terrorist looks like? What if terrorists carry out thousands of attacks wearing a nice suit and tie with dress pants and dress shoes? Does that mean we would no longer be able carry a handgun strapped to our hip or a rifle slung over our back if we are wearing a suit, tie, dress pants, and dress shoes?

      • My statement was entirely pointed towards the use of the legal term ‘entrapment’ when it does not apply based on what we know- I purposely wasn’t debating the underlying charges, which is a different ballgame.

        But since you brought it up.. I do believe that dress plays a roll in suspicion over someone’s intentions and can provide evidence. If someone enters a bank with a ski mask and gun in hand it may not be a violation of a carry law, specifically, but it can point towards the intention to break other laws. What if someone does it not to rob the place (or says as much), but specifically as a ‘prank’- would that not fall under disorderly conduct when it disorders the public in the bank*? If that person runs in, gun in hand, and gets shot (by a security guard or maybe someone else carrying)- is he the innocent victim?

        How someone is dressed is not the only factor, but I believe it is A factor. I do think that there is and should be a difference between someone dressed professionally with a holstered gun walking in to pay a parking ticket and someone dressed for combat with a long arm walking in to start a confrontation over a ticket. Someone doing so could reasonably expect to interfere with government business given the response that such a move would assuredly prompt. Since I am not intimately familiar with this case, I won’t pass judgement on the guilt or innocence of the party in question or the legitimacy of the specific charges. We have the right to a jury and we’ll see what this one says, assuming it goes to trial.

        • * private property is still considered a public place in terms of many legal charges if it is a business, open to the public, like most banks.

        • Hannibal,

          I am with you on the entrapment thing.

          As for your example of a man running into a bank wearing a ski mask with a firearm in hand:
          — the ski mask is irrelevant
          — a firearm in hand IS a likely problem

          Why is the ski mask irrelevant? First of all, if it is a cold winter day, the ski mask could be totally appropriate just like wearing a scarf or carrying an umbrella on a rainy day. A person wearing a ski mask on a cold winter day may have no interest in taking off their mask or may not think to take off their mask. Second, someone could be wearing a garment that covers their face for other “legitimate” reasons, such as someone with a skin condition/disease who cannot tolerate ANY ultraviolet light or a woman from the Middle East who covers her face.

          I understand that a person wearing a mask is extremely disconcerting or alarming to some people. Nevertheless, a person’s actions, not their appearance, justifies whether or not we can use force against them. Remember, every single person who is wearing a loose-fitting coat could be concealing a rifle and coming in to murder several people. If I am super-duper afraid that a person with a loose-fitting coat may be about to murder me or others, does that justify me drawing a firearm, aiming at the person in the coat, and ordering them to immediately get down on the floor? What if I actually see a rifle under that person’s coat? Can I draw on them at that point and order them on the floor? Again, the answer is “NO”.

          Until the person that we suspect or see to be armed demonstrates INTENT to harm others through their words or pointing their firearm at others, we are NOT justified to draw on them and order them to the floor. If you want to get behind cover and be ready to draw, that is 1000% fine. Using force on them is not fine.

  17. So, when someone who has not tried to attack anyone simply looks like a criminal or a terrorist (whatever that means) and we don’t like it (because we are super-duper scared), then we can treat them like a criminal or terrorist?

    That scares me a Hell of a lot more than two guys, one with a camera/tripod and one with a balaclava and a rifle strapped to his chest, walking into a police station.

    What is the matter with people? If you have an extremely intense, visceral emotional reaction to someone who has NOT attacked you, that does not, I repeat, DOES NOT justify lashing out at that someone and infringing on their rights.

  18. Are they still agents provocateur if they’re from the government? Oh, yes, that’s most of them.

    Carry on.

  19. Police Departments that operate in the manner of an “Authoritarian state” SHOULD be immediately disbanded by the Citizens of that jurisdiction…Any Police offices engaged in Civil Liberties infringements Should be subject to Arrest/Imprisonment/fines…Along with their commanding officers….Police Departments mission statement SHOULD be placed in check….Full Independent Civilian Review boards SHOULD be instituted….

  20. When I first saw the video, I thought these guys were a couple of morons. But if DPD was aware of their actions and wanted to show them the error of their ways, that was not good either. And monitoring these guys to the point of knowing about the “visit”? Did these guys warrant this close of monitoring? For being involved with open carrying or something else? What about the resources DPD is spending on the monitoring? What prioritization is being given to whom? That is my redress.

  21. To quote the Boys in Blue, “the law is the law.”

    What the activists did is douchey and provocative. But it’s still legal and all charges need to be dropped.

    If the Dearborn PD has a problem with the law, they can do what the rest of us do: write their local representatives and try to get the law changed.

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