Illegal Firearms Arrest in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque police arrested a law-abiding man in August 2012 simply because the man was seen carrying a firearm. The latest news and developments are added regularly to this page. The original story is at the bottom of the list of articles, or you can read it here. This story is a Police Complants Exclusive, first reported right here on our Web site.

Summary of the latest info:

Exclusive Story from Police Complaints Reported on Local News

From the story by KRQE News, Police oversight group blasts APD

An oversight group is accusing Albuquerque Police of making a very illegal arrest and they’ve posted the video online to prove their point.

The group ‘Police Complaints of Albuquerque’ claims the man was arrested for openly carrying a gun which is legal in New Mexico, but the department says the group isn’t telling the whole story.

The video surfaced on YouTube last week and so far it has had more than 460 views.

KRQE did a good job on the story and obtained some interesting comments from APD. The police department says we didn’t tell the whole story. But they also say they’re now investigating the arrest to make sure everything was done correctly. When they finally watch the entire video and compare it to the claims made in the criminal complaint, they’re going to have to decide what to believe.

See our original coverage of this story, researched and reported exclusively by Police Complaints.

May the police stop you just because you are carrying a gun?

Albuquerque police recently arrested a man for no other reason than that he was seen carrying a weapon. The criminal case has been dismissed and the arrested man is now preparing to sue the officers, the police department and the City of Albuquerque.

The arrest was illegal and unconstitutional because the officers had no reason to believe the man was engaged in any criminal activity. He was arrested only because he was carrying a gun. Bogus criminal charges were invented to justify his arrest.

An interesting article in Police Chief Magazine outlines the legal issues very clearly. From the article, Chief’s Counsel: Responding to Gun Possession Reports by John M. Collins, Esq., General Counsel, Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts:

Because it is legal in most states to carry a handgun if properly licensed, a report that an individual possesses a handgun, without any additional information suggesting criminal activity, might not create reasonable suspicion that a crime is being or will be committed. Where simply carrying a handgun is not in itself illegal and does not constitute probable cause to arrest, it follows that carrying a handgun, in and of itself, does not furnish reasonable suspicion justifying a Terry stop.

[T]he U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that an anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun is not sufficient to justify a police officer’s stop and frisk of that person…. The Court declined to adopt the “firearms exception” to Terry’s requirement of reasonable suspicion. Similarly, in another 2000 Supreme Court case, an anonymous tip with a physical description and location that a person had a gun was not enough for reasonable suspicion, absent anything else to arouse the officer’s suspicion.

The article is objective, thorough, and well-cited to case law including important Supreme Court cases. Read the complete article for all the details.

For the latest info about the local civil rights lawsuit, see the complete Case History.

Update on child-tasering, Second Amendment cases

We just got back from Metro Court where we spoke to local civil rights attorney Joseph Kennedy about two cases we’ve reported here.

The man who was arrested last summer for carrying legal firearms was scheduled to have a criminal trial today at Metropolitan Court. The man is represented by Mr. Kennedy. Prosecuting officer Marcia Benavides failed to appear. The case was dismissed, without prejudice, for lack of prosecution.

Kennedy said he wasn’t surprised the officer was a no-show, but he was disappointed. “I was hoping she’d be here,” said Kennedy. “I was looking forward to interviewing her.” He’ll have his chance soon enough. Asked if he was planning a civil rights lawsuit, Kennedy just laughed, “Oh yes.”

Kennedy also represents the Tularosa boy who was attacked by taser-wielding cop Chris Webb. We asked if there was any hope of seeing criminal battery charges filed against Webb. “They should, but it’ll never happen,” Kennedy said. “The local DA would never do it.”

In what will come as no surprise to any reader of this blog, Kennedy also said they had already caught Officer Webb lying in some of the statements he’s given so far.

For the latest news about these cases, see the complete Child-Tasering Case History and the complete Firearms Arrest Case History.

Albuquerque Police Arrest Man For Carrying Legal Weapons

Albuquerque police recently arrested and charged a man who was apparently doing nothing more than carrying a firearm.

According to public records obtained by Police Complaints, the man was seen near San Pedro and Central one evening in August, riding a bicycle and carrying a rifle. Out of respect for his privacy, we have chosen not to release the man’s identity. But we can tell you about the officers who stopped him.

At least six of them were on the scene, several with weapons drawn. Officers on the scene included Marcia Benavides, David Taylor, Peter Silva, Sergeant Bruce Werley, Sergeant Brian Maurer and Lieutenant Gregory Brachle. According to a criminal complaint obtained by Police Complaints, Officer Silva was armed with a taser. Police lapel camera footage shows cops with rifles drawn while questioning the disarmed and seated suspect.

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