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Arrested (courtesy

Republished from Second Call Defense [via]

When counseling our members on how to prepare for the aftermath of self defense, we tell clients to expect certain things:

Expect the police to treat you like a criminal.
Expect to be handcuffed.
Expect to be questioned at length.
Expect to have your words examined in detail.
Expect to be taken to jail.

It’s not that all these things will certainly happen, but . . .

we recommend that you expect them to happen. Expect the worst so that if it happens, you’re prepared. If things go better than you expect, consider that a blessing.

One other thing you can expect is to have your gun secured by police the moment they arrive on the scene. They don’t know you. They don’t know for sure what has happened or who is telling the truth. And for their own safety, they will almost certainly disarm you immediately.

You should surrender your weapon upon request, following law enforcement’s instructions to the letter.

Remember, all that the police are sure of when they arrive is that something bad has happened. If you have a gun, they won’t know whether you’re the good guy or the bad guy until they investigate. So this is not the time to lecture authorities about your rights or insist that you did nothing wrong.

Police investigations are a step-by-step process. And step one in any shooting is to secure the scene, which includes securing all weapons.

Not only should you surrender your weapon immediately upon request, you should make sure that you do NOT have your gun in your hand when the police arrive. It’s possible, of course, that you have called 911 and are holding a gun on a bad guy, but this isn’t the situation you want to be in.

Unless you are a member of law enforcement or you personally know the responding officers, having a firearm in your hand will put police into “red alert” mode. You will likely face multiple officers with guns drawn and pointed at you. And any misunderstood movement on your part could have tragic results.

Once again, being the good guy isn’t the point. The responding officers don’t know who the good guy is. If you have a gun in your hand, they will only know that they are arriving at the scene of a shooting and see a guy with a gun. You watch the news. You know what can happen next.

So assuming the police have arrived and you have cooperated fully with them as they secure the scene, they now have your firearm in their possession. Will you get your gun back? Maybe. Maybe not.

You should prepare yourself for the possibility that even in the very best situation, where it is obvious that you are the good guy and you have legally defended yourself, the police may seize your gun and not return it to you. Why? Because that is the policy in many police departments.

Consider the case of Cleveland resident Derrick J. Washington. He didn’t even use his gun. He merely reported a shooting. Yet Cleveland police seized his gun and refused to return it to him.

From the news site MediaTrackers:

According to Cleveland Division of Police records obtained by Media Trackers, Washington called emergency responders to report having heard gunshots in the area of a nearby traffic accident.

When police arrived on the scene to investigate, they arrested the witness as well as the individuals involved in the two-vehicle collision.

Incorrectly believing there was an outstanding warrant for Washington’s arrest, Cleveland police searched his car, confiscating his pistol and concealed handgun license without a search warrant.

Washington was held in detention for illegally carrying a concealed weapon and using a weapon while intoxicated, despite the fact that his legally-owned firearm — a Taurus .38 special revolver — was found secured in a gun locker in his car, not on his person.

Washington spent the next 2 days and 3 nights in jail before police investigators concluded, after two rounds of information-gathering and deliberations with the city’s assistant prosecutor, that there was “insufficient evidence” to charge him with any crime.

After Washington was finally released, his gun remained in the possession of the City of Cleveland, with police citing a local law enabling police officers to confiscate any firearm which they believe might be used to cause bodily harm against them, until the item is “released by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.”

At the time of this writing, Mr. Washington has spent about 9 months fighting the city, including filing a lawsuit, to retrieve his gun.

Is this right? No. Does it happen anyway? Yes.

Expect it. This is the reality of the world we live in today. And this is why Second Call Defense includes “gun retrieval or replacement” as one of our key benefits for our top membership levels. If you’re involved in a self defense incident and authorities won’t return your gun to you when it’s all over, we will either get it back or buy you a new one.

Preparing to defend yourself physically is a very practical endeavor. You prepare to do what you need to do to survive. Likewise, preparing for the legal aftermath is also a practical matter. Expect the worst case scenario and be prepared to deal with it.

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  1. As to the subject of guns and self defense.

    Always have a second gun and out of state CCW permit , stashed in a secure location.States with purchase and ownership permits will very likely seize and either suspend or revoke your CCW/FOID /Purchase Permit until the case is concluded.That makes it difficult to buy a replacement gun-and depending on the ventilated bad guys’ local connections, you may need one with a quickness .

    Point two:don’t carry a gun you’re not prepared to lose.Leave granddads WWII 1911 in the safe, and pack something you don’t mind losing.You may emotionally love hauling your $4K custom pistol , but can you walk away from it if some liberal azzhat DA orders it melted down ?

    Last point:you never know where you have to defend yourself.Anti gun DAs and Police CLEOs are spread out all over America like sprinkles.I live in a pro 2A county ,one where I know the city attorney and chief of police.I doubt I’ll deal with shennanigans here.

    Two hours north in the Big City and it’s a different situation-an area with a totally different culture regarding guns.Fat lotta good knowing my hometown DAs gonna do me if I drop a scumbag on MLK drive in Progressiville, USA.

  2. The one very important thing to remember when the police arrive. Move SLOWLY. Comply with their instructions, but do so slowly and methodically. Make any sudden moves and you will probably be shot. Make any motion that could be construed as “aggressive” and you will be shot. You should not be thinking “thank God the cops are here” you should be thinking “I want a lawyer”. If, after the police have taken your weapon, cuffed you and stuffed you, they ask you ANY questions, your only response should be “I invoke my 5th Amendment right to not incriminate myself. I want a lawyer.” It’s not enough to remain silent anymore–you must invoke this right, or silence will be interpreted as guilt. No matter what they do, no matter how they insist “just give us the details and you’ll be on your way”, DO NOT TELL THEM ANYTHING WITHOUT A LAWYER. If that means you spend a few nights in jail, do it. If that means they stuff you in an interrogation room for hours on end with no food or water, do it. Even if you haven’t been charged–ESPECIALLY if you haven’t been charged. If you have not been charged, it means they’re looking for enough evidence to charge you with something. So keep quiet.

    • It bears repeating that a recent Supreme Court case requires you to tell the police that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment Right, explicitly. You cannot simply choose to remain silent. You need to explicitly state why you’re about to STFU.

      This is more stunning legal logic, brought to you by the best and brightest graduates from Harvard and Yale law schools.

    • Moreover, STFU means COMPLETELY STFU. No small talk unrelated to the case. Not even any seemingly meaningless exchanges. Not before, during, and especially not after you have invoked your right to remain silent. Defendants who have invoked their 5th amendment rights, have later had their subsequent statements ruled admissible because they started talking again. “Started talking again” can include, and this is a real thing, simply responding “Yes” when a detective offered a breath mint. That opened the door again and re-set the need to invoke his rights. STFU means COMPLETELY STFU!!!!!

      Now, you need to be clear about all of your rights, too. It’s not just your right to remain silent. It’s your right to NO searches, NO seizures, NO access to areas of your property not in the immediate area of the crime scene without a warrant. If they’re wandering through your house, they’ll find something, anything, that will look bad to a jury, or find something that could be a whole separate crime itself.

      • If you exercise your right to remain silent (which I completely agree with) and then they ask about searching, you have to violate the STFU policy to tell them that you do not consent to any searches, correct? Does this mean they can start asking you questions again?

      • Kyle, that might be a grey area, which you never want to be in. The Supreme Court case in question was Berghuis v. Thompkins No. 08-1470 from 2010, I believe. The Court found that simply remaining silent and not answering questions is NOT sufficient to trigger your rights to remain silent and to a lawyer nor, most importantly, to force the police to cease the interrogation. Right to remain silent is great, but as a practical matter is must be coupled with the police not badgering you for hours until you finally speak. In the case, the suspect remained silent, but didn’t specifically, affirmatively, say “I invoke my right to remain silent and my right to an attorney” or similar. So the police continued to question him and he continued to remain silent.

        At various points, they offered him a breath, which he rejected, he complained about the discomfort of the seat, and he nodded his head in agreement to some other benign inquiry. All of these the Court found, since he was in custody when he did them, belied his intent to remain silent and therefore allowed the police to continue questioning him.

        Are you already in custody at your home at the crime scene? Maybe, maybe not. Are you protected after you affirmatively invoke your rights and the police are the ones who violate your rights by continuing to “question” you with a breath mint, but you blurt out something incriminating later on? Maybe, maybe not. Or will the Supreme Court further carve up the Constitution and hand down yet another carve out to the cops for the Fifth Amendment like the numerous ones they already have for the Fourth Amendment’s search warrant requirement? Let’s see, there’s the plain view exception, good faith exception, furtive gesture exception, exigent circumstances exception, consent exception, employer exception, inevitable discovery exception, and those are just what I recall off the top of my non-lawyer head.

        Regardless, you don’t want to sit in prison for a decade on the off chance the Supreme Court takes your case and either sides for the State’s agents or finally lets you out on an “oops!” technicality. A good information source is Texas Law Shield’s website, which has a regularly updated education section available to the public, regardless whether you’re a member of their program.

  3. +1 on rhe affordable carry. If you can’t afford to lose if don’t use it. Unless you are charged and indicted you should still be able to own but maybe not carry. Consider travel with someone who can carry in case Spike Lee tweets your home address.
    Have a good lawyer in your phone. Establish a relationship with one with the understanding that he may get a call some day, maybe for someone you know.
    GZ should teach us all a few lessons by how ir went with him. Before anyone bashes him remember anyone could find themselves on the news.

    • I guess the citizen that really cannot afford to lose any firearm is SOL. Rights are only for those that can afford them and the attorneys to defend them these days.

      • Well when the powerful elite want all the power and all the control, they’re going to write the laws in such a way that only the powerful elite can do as they please–the rest of us serfs must do as they say.

        If you think we haven’t got an aristocracy in America, you’re sadly mistaken. Money buys freedom.

      • There are new guns in defense calibers available at $200. They’re not pretty, but they can be had. I’d worry more about the price of getting a permit in many states…

        • The cheapest gun that I would trust my life to that I know about is the S&W SD9ve.

          It’s a improvement over the Sigma line and incorporates several M&P design features. It’s a extremely simple device with the absolute minimum in moving parts and uses a proven design and has a company with a good name and track record backing it.

          It can use Sigma magazines and the sights interchange perfectly with M&P. However the frames are different so that Sigma and M&P holsters cannot be used in most cases.

          It can be found for around 300-375 dollars new.

      • If you cannot afford 300 dollars for a life saving device then you have different problems. My point is leave the big dollar stuff in the safe.

        • A couple of states have melting point laws that make those cheap guns illegal. Because a gun melting in your hand while you are on fire could be dangerous. Though you would probably be a pile of ash by that point.

  4. so any cops here, would it make a difference to you if I am calling out my movements before I make them?

    what if I am in a situation where I believe I need to remain armed until police arrive? I live quite a bit out from any town, and sherriff does not patrol near me at all.

    • As long as you’re following commands, I don’t think it much matters. Couldn’t hurt. Just don’t do anything unexpected (like fiddling with the gun to ‘safe’ it) and think that calling it out ahead of time is going to make it a-okay.

    • Your second question is quite a paradox. Sadly I think if you are in that kind of situration you are just SOL. As stated before if the cops show up while you are still holding a gun they will probably just scream conflicting orders then shoot you for not responding fast enough. However if you are still holding a bad guy by gun point, you just can’t put the weapon down because the bad guy would likely try to grap it and use it on you. A very deadly paradox. You have to remember the cops are not responsible for saving lives. So if they kill the wrong person it’s no skin off of their nose due to the blue wall and most likely won’t lose any sleep over a wrong shoot either. In their mind you deserved it for being armed at all.

      • If you are carrying a semi-auto, and I suspect the majority do, move away from the BG while keeping him/her in line of sight. You just don’t want them close enough to easily disarm you. Have them sit cross-legged, if they are not injured or only slightly injured, this makes it very awkward to easily rise up to attack.

        Drop your magazine into your weak hand and set it down or put it in a pocket. Quickly rack the slide back to clear the chamber and lock the slide to the rear. Forget the loose round and quickly re-insert your magazine, but do not release the slide. If you need your pistol before the cops arrive you only have to close the slide and pull the trigger. If the cops arrive before this is necessary you simply drop the mag to the floor and place the pistol on a visible surface where the cop can retrieve it, open, empty, and safe.

        If you have a revolver, back away, sit him/her down, open the cylinder and keep the pistol pointed at the floor. If you need to use it, snap the cylinder closed and commence firing. When the police arrive use the ejector rod to pop all the rounds onto the floor, preferably just before the police have a visual of you, then turn over the pistol according to instructions, empty and safe.

        Personally I would avoid to the utmost turning over a loaded pistol to anyone, even a cop.


    • I am not a cop… but..

      When they tell you to drop it, drop it. Don’t bend over to place it down or try to remove the magazine or anything like that. Don’t try to put it into your holster, don’t raise your hand. Do not turn to look at them. Don’t pull out your wallet. To not twist, turn, look left, look up, or do anything at all.

      Do NOT MOVE.

      Just open your hand and let it fall. Let it drop to the concrete and get a nasty scratch. Let it clank down, bounce, get covered in dirt. It’s completely irrelevant. The only thing that matters is to not get shot.

      Of course it’s best to not have it at all and be ready and plainly visible.

      It’s also extremely useful to describe yourself to the 911 operator. What size you are. What your hair is. What color of the clothes you are wearing. Anything that the police can use to identify you.

      • Of course there was the case of the homeowner a couple years ago holding a burglar at gunpoint. His wife was outside and plainly IDed her husband by clothing and description as the homeowner. Cops entered residence and shot him multiple hits. All bets are off when the popo comes.

      • I just watched this entire clip. What’ the hell is wrong with me? Good stuff, though. The legal professor really brings it home.

      • I questioned Ayoob about this video. His reply was that the lawyer doesn’t talk about DGUs and the detective who appears after the lawyer acknowledges releasing a suspect due to the suspect’s statements. George Zimmerman’s case is an extreme example of benefiting from explaining your actions in detail. During his trial, the video he made worked like testimony for the defense yet the prosecutor wasn’t able to cross examine him. Zimmerman’s prosecution was a political show trial. The investigating officers were satisfied he had done nothing wrong.

  5. All good, practical tips. One of my pet peeves is how people somehow treat police as psychics, like they can magically know who the ‘good guy’ is and who the shitbird is just based on a quick glance.

    • You mis-spelled the word above:
      AKA Sociopaths, intent on inflicting themselves on honest people.

      Be pro-active in defense, and remove them from the world whenever possible.

      Given the shit that’s happening? Families are fair game.
      Pardon the cross-post, but my thoughts – aren’t original.

      As SF/military writer Tom Kratman has made plain in his “CarreraVerse” series, we tend to become what we oppose. Indeed, in a postscript to A Desert Called Peace, he steps forward and makes it explicit:

      [I]t has been said more than once that you should choose enemies wisely, because you are going to become just, or at least, much like them. The corollary to this is that your enemies are also going to become very like you….

      If I could speak now to our enemies, I would say: Do you kill innocent civilians for shock value? So will we learn to do, in time. Do you torture and murder prisoners? So will we. Are you composed of religious fanatics? Well, since humanistic secularism seems ill-suited to deal with you, don’t be surprised if we turn to our churches and temples for the strength to defeat and destroy you. Do you randomly kill our loved ones to send us a message? Don’t be surprised, then, when we begin to target your families, specifically, to send the message that our loved ones are not stationery.

      This seems lost on the current enemy, but then, he’s insane. It’s very sad. Yes, it’s very sad for us, too.

      There’s a universe of moral instruction in that remark.

      Excerpted without permission from

      Gentlemen (and ladies) [I use the temrs quite loosely]:
      If you continue enforcing immoral, unust, and UNCONSTITUTIONAL laws – in violation of your oaths – we will bejcome the same essential creature you are – and respond in kind.

      Think of who you are actually sentencing to death the next time you shoot a 13-year-old with a toy gun.
      Or even a real one…

      • Sadly they choose to have IQ limits on the people they hire to be LEOs so they can’t realize this or question orders that are wrong.

    • Id be content for simply not being shot for just having a gun.
      Sadly, today, you REALLY dont want to have police arrive while youre still armed. Theres a decent chance youll get shot by a rain of mag dumps regardless what you do. “DROP IT!” *starts to drop it, hail of bullets commences*

  6. I learned the hard way a time or 2 in my youth.
    If and when you decide to STFU, answer nothing besides your name.
    Then say the 5th and shut up till your lawyer gets there.
    The cops can and will twist everything you may say.
    That is quarantined,
    They aren’t your friend or there to help you in any way.
    Also as already has been stated.
    When your released.
    Don’t have an emotional attachment to your carry weapon.
    Its just steel with no life of its own and can be replaced.
    Then sit back relax and expect your life as you know it to end.
    But when all is said and done.
    Your alive………..the other, maybe not.

    • What if you invoke the 5th, but then have to tell them you don’t consent to any searches; does this then allow them to start questioning you again? Should you tell them from the get-go that you are invoking the 5th and you do not consent to any searches?

  7. My old departments policy had a change a couple years before I retired. If you were in a shoot, after the scene is secured, your gun used would be seized along with your clothes. I had the department issue me a sidearm at that point, and kept a complete set of clothes in my locker.
    Boy Scout motto and all that.

    • The wife makes me watch reruns of “Flashpoint” about a Canadian SWAT team. Of course they call themsleves something besides SWAT that I can’t remember. This was the first time I heard of seizing the clothes of the shooter. I suppose there’s logic to it but I would expect the popo to provide me some type of replacement clothing, not necessarily a jail jumpsuit.

      • The retaining of clothing is for gun shot residue and any other residues that may be on the clothing; blood, etc.

  8. Id add to the list,
    Expect to spend a lot of money to prove your innocent.
    Because we all know in this country on issues like these we are presumed guilty until proven innocent. No matter what the law says.

    • Funerals and the aftermath are expensive too. If you are in a situation you just stepped in a pile of bad luck. Figure at least 20k up front and 50k for a trial. YMMV.

  9. I am sure most of you can actually quote the Miranda rights off the top of your head. Think about what it says very carefully…Anything you say can, and will be used against you in a court of law. It does NOT say anything you might be used to prove your innocence. The ONLY purpose of police questioning is to gather incriminating evidence. NEVER EVER EVER EVER talk to the police in a bad situation.

    • Correct, police are not even allowed to prove innocence in court, they are only allowed to incriminate. If they even try to say someone is probably innocent the court will just strike it out. Police are also known to lie in court, the police even have a slang term for it, “testilying”. However the court have to acknownledge that the police never lie and accept everything they say is gold.

  10. All good advice. Do as the cops ask. Make sure that you say very little. “I was in fear for my life. I will be happy to talk with your investigators after I consult my lawyer.” That is the most you should say. Unless you are injured. Then ” I need to seek medical attention. I will speak with your investigators after I get that attention, and after I consult my lawyer.” Don’t lie. Don’t say anything. Even my cop brothers tell everyone that. Don’t say anything without a lawyer.

    • As Ayoob et al point out, “I will give a statement after 24 hours and a legal consultation,” which is the first thing THEIR lawyer is going to insist on. There is a wealth of sound scientific proof that aftemath interviews are almost always subject to memory distortion and the inability to suppress certain statement that may not be helpful. Also, point out the perceived crime and criminal, and any evidence that might disappear or be overlooked. THEN STHU. If you are forced to say “Yes I would like creamer in my coffee,” then assert your continued desire to STHU.

  11. Posted a few times above, but again just to make sure (hopefully) it’s noticed, but:

    If you invoke the 5th, and then they ask if they can search your home/vehicle, does your saying that you do not consent to any searches then allow them to start questioning you again? How does that work? Should you say that you do not consent to any searches when invoking the 5th?

    • Invoking the 5th doesnt abrogate your right to refuse searches. However once you invoke the 5th you are going to be cuffed, taken away, and the cops will search whatever they want to at that point, with or without your consent. Its a touchy situation and wholly dependent upon what kind of cops are on scene. As far as the searches, they can be tossed later in court if they were done illegally, but current law is very broad concerning cops right to “secure a scene.”

      Basically every DGU is different, however the general rule about politely shutting up is the best route.

      • A year later after all is said and done the illegal search will throw out the evidence. You might get back whatever was taken if your lawyer fights for you. Consider your property gone and off to auction or worse.

  12. Two additional suggestions if you are in this type of situation. If you are arrested do not ever allow yourself to be booked. Allowing yourself to be booked into a jail is essentially admitting guilt. If while you are sitting in a holding cell you are refused access to legal counsel, you have grounds for a lawsuit.The right to legal counsel is a constitutional right affirmed by case law. If they seize your gun and refuse to return it, sue the individual officers involved. They will have to hire attorneys at their own expense.When individual officers have to cut a check for a 3 to 5 thousand dollar retainer, most likely the gun will be returned. If they use the police legal advisor to defend them, you should be able to nail the officers for ethics violations, using government resources for personal use. In many states that is considered a crime.

    • LOL how do you get arrested without being booked? Having first hand knowledge of a DGU, trust me, once the cuffs go on, you are taken to jail, mugshot, stripped down, and into a cell. Been there done that, so my opinion trumps yours, no offense.

      Best advice in the clink, DONT TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CELLIES. You will be upset and want to chat it up with your newfound pals, but they will take whatever you say and try to leverage it to help their case with the DA.

      Once bonded out the real fun begins, with crooked lawyers and corrupt DAs. Your gun and gun permit will be confiscated. You retain the right to POSSESS firearms until/unless convicted, but you cannot concealed carry while the case is pending. After sweating you out for over a year or so your charge will be dropped, but its no fun, the system is geared to punish you for exerting your rights, and a supposedly pro gun state can seem like NYC when you have a dirty DA covering for the improper arrest of a whacked out cop.

      Been there, done that, got the T shirt.

      • This is how it usually goes down. Add negative news stories and blabbing cops to the mix and your job disappears. Friends don’t call. And then the BG’s friends and family calls.

      • I should have explained myself better, if you are arrested for something patently false, do not allow them to fingerprint or photograph you.

        • Umm, you really have no concept of how the INjustice system works. You can scream FALSE ARREST on top of your lungs, they will just strap you in the little black chair with wheels until you STFU. Not sure where you live, where I live when the cuffs go on, the orange suit is next, and its a vinyl covered mat on the floor with 6 to 8 REAL criminals for the night, or two, depending when the judge gets around to your bond hearing. Good luck with your demands on LE, maybe you can convince them to just let you go after you put a .45 Ranger in some guy and his crackhead pals all lie and the cops listen to them instead of you, because, y’know, crackheads have rights and such.

  13. Good comments folks!

    I might add that in my community I frequent public gatherings such as homecomings and open houses at the FD. The LEO response can me much affected by how they perceive you as part of the law abiding community or not. Also, I’m not afraid to recognize them at these outings and in brief conversations. I also have friends that are LEOS including family members.

    Keep the comments away from social media as well.

    And I do not worry about losing the firearm I choose to carry. In fact most are customized in one regard or another. Worrying about losing it is like saying you only wear your ‘grubs’ and not your suit because there might be a tornado and you don’t want to ruin your suit. Though we discuss the how’s and why’s of a deadly encounter and the aftermath, the happenings related in this article are just about as rare.

    We are discussing human life. It cannot be replaced…my firearm can!

  14. This is why I bought a Ruger SR9 from my cousin when he lost interest in it. I don’t love shooting it, but it’s a competent firearm and it sits in my SHTF safe. I’m confident I could defend myself with it, and I wouldn’t miss it if it was taken away.

    Finally as others have said; these are machines and they can all be replaced.

  15. I have said it here before about this….shoot, shovel and shut up. After Mr. BG is down there is really no need for police, or anyone else. Don’t bury on your property, true, not really that easy in an urban area but in the rural parts no sweat. The problem has bene solved, calling the police will only make things worse. That said, if one follows this route, make sure you NEVER speak of this with ANYONE.
    If the above is not possible, I agree completely regarding the gun being one that a person can live with loosing. While defending oneself with a Les Baer or H&K P7 is fine the thought of loosing either to the state is enough to give me apoplexy. Plan accordingly.

    • Not everybody lives in the middle of nowhere. And guns tend to make loud BANGS that cause people to turn their heads and look in that direction.

  16. Hypothetically let’s say that I kill someone who has broken into my house and pointed a gun sideways at me while saying, “Youz gonna die mofo!”

    When officer friendly and his merry men arrive, arrest me, and confiscate my gun, what else will they confiscate?

    Will they search my house, will they pry open my gunsafe? If they get my safe open will they confiscate any firearm(s) inside of it too?

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