…on the VCDL front over the past week or so.
First a little background. VCDL member Danladi (Dan) Moore has been repeatedly harassed by the Norfolk Police Department for openly carrying his defensive firearm. For those who are not familiar with Virginia Law, open carry is perfectly legal with or without a permit. I believe that this is a longstanding precedent as set by Virginia Supreme Court ruling, but have no case citations to back that up, so take it for what it’s worth. Regardless, current Virginia law does not preclude open carry and localities are pre-empted from deviating from State law regarding the bearing of arms.
Dan isn’t the only one who has been harassed, but his case is relatively high profile because he sued the city and was recently awarded a $10,000 settlement. I mentioned Dan in this story about the City Council meeting at which we addressed the arrest of Chet Szymecki. The picture of the young black man wearing a black t-shirt in that post is Dan.
Just a few weeks ago, Dan was again harassed by the Norfolk Police Department. He was riding an HRT (public transit) bus. One of the bus drivers that noticed his firearm, called the Police and had him illegally detained.
As a result, VCDL members, including myself, Dan, Chet Szymecki, who was arrested during harbor fest a couple of years ago and currently has a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city pending, President Phillip Van Cleave and about 60 others converged on the City Council again to let them know that these violations of citizen’s rights will not stand.
I felt that the city council meeting went fairly well. I spoke as did several others. I posted about the meeting on The Sentinel last night after returning home. Here’s the Virginian Pilot Coverage of it. The photo that accompanies the article is of me…or, more accurately…my butt. My rear end is famous. At any rate…
After the meeting, I was invited to go to Hooters at Waterside for a bit of fellowship and food but I declined.
Boy do I regret that decision now. Guess what happened as Dan and another open carrying VCDL member were leaving Waterside:
Upon reaching the second floor and stepping off the escalator, a Norfolk police officer approached Danladi and his friend and told him that he couldn’t have a gun in a public building.
The officer then handcuffed Danladi, who is black, and issued a him summons with a charge of trespass at that point and released him. His friend, who is white and also open carrying, was escorted off the premises and not handcuffed or charged. Hmmmm.
I first became aware of the situation through the comments left on the Virginian Pilot article. I called the reporter and spoke to her about the latest developments. She said she was aware of it and was looking into it. I’ll update you if and when I hear more.
I have a feeling that it’s about time to move out of Norfolk. Not because of the harassment specifically, that I’d rather stay and fight…no, it’s time to move out of the city because I’m afraid our property taxes are going to have to go through to roof (so to speak) to pay all the legal costs, awards or settlements from the now inevitable lawsuits.
If only those could be assessed directly against the City Council members who’ve shown so little leadership, and the Police Officers who seem to delight in playing the role of authoritarian thugs, rather than against the taxpayers of this city.
I’d like to think that this would be impetus for getting rid of some dead weight on the city council, but I fear it would take more than this to stir the interest of the apathetic sheep that make up the majority of the population.