Moms Demand Action (MDA) types have threatened to make false 911 calls whenever they see anyone open carrying and have encouraged others to do so. In at least one case (though probably not MDA-related), an innocent man was killed by police as a direct response to false allegations in a 911 call. Last week, in Virginia, an open carrier was falsely accused of robbing a 7-11, in a 911 call. Fortunately, he was not harmed . . .
Here is Robert Dickens’ account as related to the Virginia Citizens Defense League, courtesy opencarry.org:
On 10/15/14 at about 5:30 pm, I stopped at a 7-11 for some coffee in the skyline area of Fairfax.
Like every other day when I’m off work, I had hopped on my motorcycle for a short ride . Being an open carry proponent, I didn’t think twice about putting on my every-day-carry pistol.
After leaving the 7-11, I went to the Verizon store for some quick shopping. Both stores are within five miles of my home. Chores done, I decided to go for a nice ride around the block.
What’s that Fairfax County officer looking at me like that for? Damn he’s going to pull me over! Yep… Lights, boop boop. Sigh.
Now I’m thinking that I’ve got my pistol on me and I’m asking myself how I would feel if I were an officer pulling over someone who was armed? [PVC: That is called “empathy,” something that normal, law-abiding people have, but violent criminals lack.]
Ok, turn the bike off, straddle the bike, interlock your hands on your head, and be calm. [PVC: Doing these steps calmly and slowly probably helped send a clear signal to the SIX responding officers in FOUR patrol cars that Robert was not a threat.]
As the officer gets out of his car, three other cars show up.
Wow, what did I do?
I let the first officer know that I have a firearm on my side. He says, “I know.” I did not move an inch!
To my surprise not one of the at least six police officers have a weapon pointed at me. [PVC: Hats off to FCPD for their professional handling of this situation! Robert’s life was not unnecessarily endangered during the stop by the police pointing their guns at him.]
The officer walks up behind me and asks if he can take the weapon from my holster. “Yes, sir,” I replied.
“Do you have any other weapons on you, sir?”
“Yes, sir, a knife in my pocket.”
“Yes, sir. Why did you stop me?”
“I will get to that in a minute.” [PVC: Robert wisely decides to temporarily let the issue drop at this point.]
As I’m being frisked, I’m still not moving and am keeping my hands on my head.
“Sir, can I put my hands down now?,” I asked when the frisking was concluded.
“Yes, you can stand at ease.”
At this point I ask the officer what is going on.
“Well, we had a person call from 7-11 and they stated that a white guy on a motorcycle robbed the place.”
I laughed nervously and told the officer that I left a 7-11 30 minutes ago, but that I didn’t rob the place! [PVC: This is where an attorney might advise the client to stop talking to the police for fear of saying something innocent that ends up getting misinterpreted. To do so properly, you must verbally indicate you are invoking the Fifth Amendment and stop talking. In this case it’s hard to argue with success, but one should be very, very cautious.]
I’m getting kind of angry now. I’ve heard of anti-gun people saying that they will call the police if they see an open carrier and make up some story to get the police to respond in a forceful manner.
Wow, I could have been killed!
Ten minutes later I’m on my way. With the police “checking the sanity of the caller.”
I put a call into the police station the following Monday and sent a email thanking FCPD for being very professional.
VCDL got involved and quickly put in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into Fairfax County. They expeditiously received a recording of the 911 call, with the caller’s name and phone number blanked out. Here’s a link to the audio of that call. It appears that the caller may be of diminished mental capacity. The 911 dispatcher tries to get details to substantiate what the caller is saying. The dangerous part is that the caller gets most things correct. He provided a good description of Robert Dickens and his motorcycle. He gave the correct location of the 7-11. It’s just that the robbery that he described never happened.
Just as clearly, the police seem to know this caller, and know that his calls are suspect. The problem is, of course, that he gets most things right, so police followed up on the call in case it was genuine. The fact that the officers did not draw their weapons on Robert shows that they were treading a middle road.
It also shows that MDA supporters who threaten and encourage false 911 calls are treading a very dangerous line. John Crawford III is dead, arguably because of false statements made on a 911 call. Another woman died in the panic induced by the call. Eric Scott, a West Point Grad, was killed by police in an incident in Las Vegas that may have resulted from bad information on a 911 call. Video tapes of the events of that shooting were never released.
I take this personally, as MDA followers wrote that they would call 911 on me when no crime was committed, urging others to make false 911 calls, and even threatening me with death if they saw me openly carrying.
I won’t allow this type of intimidation to prevent me from exercising my rights. That’s exactly what the MDA types want. They’re generally too cowardly to confront an open carrier in person, so they use their favorite means of oppression, the police power of the state.
The way to make this ineffective is by making it known. As more and more police become aware of these SWATing efforts, more and more false 911 calls will be prosecuted. Or one would hope.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.