On March 24, 2015, Brian Bridges shot and killed a man in self defense in Cleveland, Ohio. He had a concealed carry permit and was never charged with a crime. Police confiscated Bridges’ gun as evidence for a future trial. But as clevescene.com reports,
That trial wasn’t to be— the defendant pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in October 2015. But now, in 2017, Bridges still hasn’t gotten his handgun and other items back, the complaint alleges.
The CPD, however, wouldn’t release Bridges’ pistol. And now he’s suing to get it back. From courthousenews.com:
Bridges claims Cleveland police unlawfully seized his property, “including a Glock 21 semiautomatic handgun, ammunition, holsters and a redcherry piccolo,” to be used as evidence in Akins-Daniels’ case.
Despite the fact that the criminal proceedings against Akins-Daniels are over, police have not returned Bridges’ guns, he says.
Bridges noted in his complaint that he is a professional security guard and has a license to carry a concealed handgun.
He sued for replevin and violation of the Second and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Bridges seeks $20,000 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages. He also wants an injunction to stop the city from “enforcing any policy and/or actions that infringe upon a lawful gun owner’s right to keep and bear arms.”
This isn’t the first time Cleveland has been sued for keeping a firearm without justification — in effect, legalized theft.
In February of 2013, the CPD searched the car of Derrick J. Washington, a witness who reported a shooting. The police wrongly stated that there was a warrant for Washington’s arrest. He showed them his concealed carry permit and told them his gun was in a locked container in his car.
They found the pistol in the locked box and confiscated it along with Washington’s concealed carry permit. Then they arrested him.
Washington spent three nights in jail before they admitted their error. Washington repeatedly asked for his pistol back. The city refused. Washington sued in federal court.
The city eventually settled, returning his pistol in November of 2013. He also received $1,000 for his trouble, $5,500 in attorney fees, and $250 in court costs.
In the current case, Brian Bridges’ attorney, Michael J. Connick, is suing in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, which is where Derrick J. Washington started his lawsuit. At least Bridges wasn’t arrested and forced to spend three days in jail.
I suspect Bridges’ lawsuit will have the same result, but courts can be chancy. The city may not decide to settle (it’s only taxpayer money, after all). We’ll be watching.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.