Monday, June 19, 2006

Gonzales, LA - Nazi Police force?

Nazi SS Troopers - WWII

A Baton Rouge man has filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Gonzales Police Department, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and five Gonzales police officers.

In the lawsuit, Mark Edward Marchiafava claims he was the victim of false arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery and unlawful seizure of property.

Marchiafava said Friday afternoon that on Jan. 28 he was in the parking lot at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Gonzales and was wearing an unconcealed blue-steel .357-caliber Magnum in a holster on his right hip.

A Gonzales police officer asked Marchiafava why he was carrying a gun and asked for Marchiafava’s driver’s license. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges that the officer checked Marchiafava’s license for violations and returned it. Marchiafava claims that he left as a passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend along with his adult daughter and a child.

According to the lawsuit, as the vehicle Marchiafava was riding in approached the exit at La. 44, an unmarked Gonzales police unit and four marked police units forced the vehicle onto the median. Five officers surrounded the vehicle and at least one of the officers drew a weapon and aimed it at Marchiafava, the lawsuit says.

Marchiafava claims he was arrested and taken to the Gonzales police station where he was shackled to a wall.

He was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison in Donaldsonville on a count of illegal carrying of a weapon. He posted the $200 bail within a few hours and was released.

Marchiafava, in his lawsuit, claims his constitutional rights under the Second, Fourth and 14th amendments were violated.

Marchiafava said Friday he also carries a gun for protection. “If you ever need one (a gun), you don’t have time to run home or run to your car,” he said.

Gonzales Police Chief Bill Landry declined to comment Friday afternoon.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Now, let's hear the story in Marchiafava's own words:

After meeting my youngest daughter, Christie, and my adopted daughter, Kelly, along with Kelly’s 2 year old daughter, Isabella, Kelly drove us to Gonzales, La. to visit my oldest daughter, Michelle. Needing to pick up something, I asked Kelly to drive into Tanger Factory Outlet. She dropped me off in front of the store, I ran in and out in less than 2 minutes while Kelly circled the parking lot.

While waiting to check out, I noticed an older guy standing right outside, staring intently at me. I KNEW he was either an off duty cop or he had just CALLED the cops on me. Yes, I WAS openly carrying a gun, which is quite legal in Louisiana. The state constitution CLEARLY states so. It does, however, retain the right by the state to regulate concealed carry, something that doesn’t come into play here.

Sure enough, as I was paying, a Gonzales police car came cruising by slowly. After exiting the store with my purchase, I got into Kelly’s car and within seconds, the cop turned on his lights and blipped his siren. Kelly exited and the cop told her it was ME he wanted to talk to.

Carefully, I approached officer Rome, and he asked why I was wearing a gun. After telling him EVERY citizen had that right, he just stood there, speechless.

I asked if he was aware of that, but STILL there was no answer.

It took THREE further queries before he finally answered, “No, I didn’t know that.”

Seemingly satisfied, he handed my driver’s license back to me, and I heard him tell headquarters to print him out a copy of my driver’s license info. At that point, I knew “they” were about to do “something.” I got back into Kelly’s car, not wanting to alarm them.

Sure enough, as soon as we exited the center’s parking lot, FOUR Gonzales cop cars swooped in and, in true TV cop fashion, with guns drawn and lots of loud shouting.

I slowly exited the car, hands away from my side. Yes, I was roughly handcuffed to the point of having red marks on both wrists 3 hours later. I was transported to Gonzales Police headquarters. There, Officer David Breaux was trying to figure out just what to charge me with. Since he was holding Louisiana revised statutes, title 14 (criminal code) in his hands, I suggested he read 14:95, “Illegal carrying of weapons,” which he did.

I tried, in vain, to explain to him there is nothing in the entire book which prohibits anyone from openly carrying a weapon in Louisiana.

His response: “Tell it to the judge.”

Another “officer,” Billiot, transported me across the Mississippi river to the jail in Donaldsonville. On the ride over, I tried to explain to HIM what the law states and the rights of any citizen.

He said, and I quote, “I don’t care what the laws or the Supreme Court say. WE are NOT going to have people running around, wearing guns, with women and children everywhere.”

I was fingerprinted, photographed and released on a $200.00 bond. Yes, all this for a MISDEMEANOR and a $200.00 bond.

District Attorney, Tony Falterman, obtained a copy of the arrest report and, after reading it, dismissed the charge. According to his assistant, Melissa, "Mr. Falterman has read the report and considers it complete BS."

A local reporter, Steve Ward with the Advocate, contacted chief of police Bill Landy concerning my arrest. According to Steve, the chief stated "We have a policy of arresting anyone carrying a gun without a permit. We don't care what Mr. Falterman says or does."

I attempted to retrieve my gun, only to find out the Gonzales police department has a "policy" of sending all seized weapons to the state police crime lab for ballistics testing.

Check out the post at The Liberty Zone.

There are stories like this all over the country. Take this one for example, from Ohio.

Is America moving toward a Police State? Many, such as this website, say we are. I am not so inclined to believe that this is 100% the case, due to the recent law that Governor Kathleen "babble-on" Blanco signed.

However, if it is my legal right to carry a firearm openly, or concealed with a permit, then what the hell right do the police have to take away my weapon? I understand and agree with the temporary confiscation during a traffic stop for the officer's safety, but the weapon should be IMMEDIATELY returned after official business is concluded... at least, that's what THE LAW says is supposed to happen.

What kind of country do we live in when the very people who are sworn to protect us and our laws don't follow the law???

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