August 4, 2013 10:10pm PST
A Vermonter who was openly and legally carrying a firearm in his neighborhood says he was illicitly detained and handcuffed by the Rutland, Vermont police and is now questioning his treatment.
Joshua Severance says his Second Amendment rights that are assured by both the U.S. Constitution and the firearm laws of the state of Vermont were violated by the over-the-top actions by police. For their part, the Rutland police say that recent violence in the neighborhood led them to be more cautious.
Severance, 26, was walking down the street in Rutland when police began to question him after they saw he was armed. But instead of merely questioning him, something Severance said he would fully expect and not object to, the cops immediately handcuffed him and threw him in the back of a squad car.
“I figured they wanted to run the serial number and do a background check which is all well and good and part of being a responsible gun owner,” Severance said Thursday. “The next thing I knew I was being handcuffed, told I was ‘not under arrest’ and was put into the back of a cruiser.”
As to the law, in Vermont it is legal to open carry in The Green Mountain State. So, technically Severance was breaking no laws at all.
“It is my right to carry and there’s no way around that. It’s the law and where I’m from we were taught to follow the law no matter what,” Severance said.
Rutland Police Chief James Baker defends the actions of his officers.
(For more police abuse, see: Family Sues Police For Seizing Home & Violating Third Amendment)
“In this situation,” the chief said, “you have someone walking around with no shirt and wearing a gun in a neighborhood where there have been three reports of shots fired recently.”
Severance is set to meet with chief Baker and has not said what he’ll do after that. Many expect a lawsuit to result.
What do you think? Are police overstepping their role more and more often?