Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gun owner receives apology from police chief

This is how it goes when the police gets over zealous don't know the law and over reacts. Maybe the new training they will recieve will help them when they approach a lawful concealed carry citizen next time.

Trevor Putnam knew the gun laws. The officer who stopped him didn’t.

“When I told him that I hadn’t done anything, he said he’d find a reason to put me in jail,” said Putnam, 24, who works with guns every day as vice president of Coal Creek Armory in West Knoxville.

“It’s not that I have a problem with police officers. I deal with police officers nationwide from Arizona to Maine every day. But I lost my confidence in a legal right that I knew I had.”

Knoxville police officers will get a refresher course on the state’s gun permit laws after an officer who didn’t know the law stopped, frisked and threatened to arrest Putnam for legally carrying a gun inside a Wal-Mart this summer.

Officer Glenn Todd Greene’s actions June 21 at the store on Walbrook Drive in West Knoxville earned him a written reprimand and remedial training for rudeness and not knowing the law, Internal Affairs records show. He’s worked for the Knoxville Police Department for about seven years.

Putnam got a written apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.

“The officer was wrong I want to personally apologize to you for any embarrassment or inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of this incident,” the chief wrote.

“The Knoxville Police Department takes pride in the training offered to its officers, and the training provided far exceeds state requirements. Unfortunately, officers aren’t perfect, and sometimes mistakes are made. As you can see from the remedial measures taken, we want to learn from our mistakes so they won’t be repeated in the future.”

The trouble started when Putnam and his girlfriend, Samantha Williams, stopped at the store to buy groceries around 10 p.m. Putnam, who holds a gun permit, carried his Colt handgun inside with him, holstered on his right hip.

“It’s like a seat belt or a fire extinguisher,” he said. “It goes everywhere with me. It was warm that night, so I left my jacket in the car.”

State law allows gun permit holders to carry their guns openly or concealed. Putnam said he usually tucks his shirt over the gun but forgot to that night.

As they walked out, Greene, who’d gone to the store to investigate a shoplifting call, told Putnam to stop. Greene asked for Putnam’s identification, grabbed his arm when he reached for his wallet and then asked why he carried a gun in public, records show.

Putnam ended up against a concrete wall being frisked as Greene took his gun.

“It’s called a concealed carry permit. State law says you carry it concealed, not in plain view (with the) hammer back,” Greene said. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I can put you in jail for something. It’s called inducing a panic.”

Greene ultimately let Putnam go after talking with another officer but told him to pull his shirt over the gun. He told Internal Affairs investigators he thought Tennessee and Ohio, where he previously served as a police officer, prohibited open carrying. Neither state does.

“There’s an issue there where there could be panic,” he said in a recorded statement. “I’m thinking the law is a concealed law. I’m not going to deal with a guy that has a loaded gun until I secure a weapon.”

Greene said he asked other officers about the law and that they didn’t know, either.

Investigators reviewed video from Greene’s in-car camera and found him in violation of KPD policy. They sustained part of Putnam’s complaint but ruled Greene hadn’t used excessive force in putting him against the wall.

Putnam questions that decision.

“On the one hand, I’m glad they didn’t ignore it,” he said. “On the other, I don’t feel it was a wholly appropriate response to everything the officer threatened to do.”

The department trains all recruits on the state’s gun permit laws, said KPD Lt. Jeff Stiles, who oversees training for the department. All officers will get another dose of training during the next annual session, he said.

“We don’t get that many questions about it over here,” Stiles said. “But we cover that aspect. We go straight to the experts to teach the law. We don’t guess, and we don’t speculate.”


The Merry Widow said...

You know, I wouldn't have been freaked out, just curious as to why the open carry.
I would actually feel safer knowing that there was an armed citizen able to stop any serious foolishness!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!

But then, I'm better at putting puzzle pieces together than the majority of Americans! And the spirit of lawlessness is alive and kicking!

Almtnman said...

The police that gets a little aggressive like that needs to stop and think, one of their armed citizens might have to back them up sometimes or help in an arrest when there's no other help available at the time.

tmw, I'm having a hard time getting to the comments section of your blog as they don't seem to open for me.

The Merry Widow said...

Hmmmm, I don't understand, it happens to me sometimes when the server is messed up.
Nanc couldn't comment for almost 24 hrs. last week. Is it only mine, or are you having trouble at others?
Heck, I even have problems checking on profiles at times...


Almtnman said...

I managed to get one comment posted, but when I tried to make another comment, the popup browser came up blank several times and I finally gave up. I haven't had any trouble with any of the other blogs, but most of them have the comment box off to the side, not a separate browser.

nanc said...

mt. man - disable your add-ons - see the little tool thing at the top right on your browser - it has a little gear? that's where you go.

i'm having trouble with mine and found this resolved it and until i figure out which add-on has bugged my p.c., i'll just leave it off.

or, when you start up i.e., right click on it and it gives you the option of starting internet explorer without add-ons.

our children must have added something on without our knowing.

Almtnman said...

I tried that and it still doesn't work. I then allowed popups from her site and still can't post a comment or read any comments. Must be something else blocking me out from the comments section of that blog.

The Merry Widow said...

I haven't blocked you, wouldn't know how...
I don't understand! Waaarrrrrrrrreen!
Where is my big brother when I need him?


The Merry Widow said...

I asked my big brother, and he said,
"I don't see anything that would cause your comments not to show.

Tell him to clean out the cache in his web browser and try again."
See if that helps.
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!


Almtnman said...

It's probably something on my computer that has me blocked out, either my virus program, firewall or one of the other programs that I run. I'll have to figure out what it is.

The Merry Widow said...

AoW has been having trouble with loading my site, it is possibly something with ie? If you have Firefox you might try that...ever since blogger/gargle 'upgraded' blogspot, there have been some strange glitches.


Always On Watch said...

Sometimes our police officers have a bias against citizens' having handguns. I've personally experienced that bias, though I've never been hauled in, harassed, etc. Unless snide comments are harassment, that is.

The last officer who made a disparaging comment as to my having a loaded handgun got this reply from me: "An unloaded pistol makes a very poor club. Is there anything less useless than an unloaded firearm?"

The officer walked away, shaking his head. But he had no come-back.

Almtnman said...

That was a great response from you to him. I'll have to try to remember that if one questions me about my handgun.

The Merry Widow said...

Yesterday I went and picked up an application for a CCP, now to find a clas...

I think that sometimes police officers develope a 'them' vs. 'us' attitude, and it shows with their queastioning us about a firearm! They are always thinking, "Will they us it on me?" Which in the majority of cases is, "No!"

The Merry Widow said...

Egads, I think I had a brain poot! That or I've worn too many letters off of my keyboard...
class, not clas and
questioning, not queastioning...sheesh!


Almtnman said...

You might call your local police dept. or sheriff's dept. and see if they have any classes open. Sometimes, some of them offer classes.

The Merry Widow said...

I'm county, so I would best do it through the sheriffs dept. They seem to be a decent bunch! The 'small' town near me is loaded with people with 'small man's complex'. They LOVE to boss everyone around! And they have no classes.
On the other hand, the deputy sheriffs tend to be Christians and want to help, not hinder law abiding folks...


Almtnman said...

That sounds like a winner.

Alabama Mountain Mans Blog

This Blog has had -- Site Meter --visitors since April 14, 2007