John David McMorris claimed he was wrongfully arrested on Christmas Eve, 2013. The Flint Township man claims he was legally openly carrying his pistol when he was stopped and arrested by police as he walked along the road near his house on the way to the store, MLive.com reported. McMorris spent that Christmas in jail.
Flint Township police argued the man’s gun was concealed by the man’s coat when he was stopped, and the officer was within his rights to detain the man. McMorris did not have a concealed carry license. McMorris claims his gun was holstered outside his coat. Though he also admitted to having a drink hours earlier, the police did not conduct a field sobriety test nor obtain blood samples from McMorris.
McMorris filed a civil rights violation lawsuit in state court in February 2014 and it was removed to Federal District Court in March. The lawsuit against the Flint Township Police Department and Sgt. Russell Fries claimed he was legally carrying his gun openly and the stop was improper. McMorris sought $25,000 in damages.
After the lawsuit was filed, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton issued criminal charges on July 28, 2014, against McMorris — nearly seven months after the stop. McMorris was found not guilty April 2, 2015 after a trial on a single charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Following his acquittal, McMorris agreed to a settlement of his lawsuit for $35,000.
Takeaways: 1) There are law enforcement officers who don’t know their states’ open-carry laws, so civilians have to be knowlegeable about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it; 2) drinking and carrying a gun always has the potential to cause problems of some sort; and, 3) if Law Shield members are involved in incidents such as these, our independent program lawyers will be there via the 24/7 attorney answered emergency hotline and beyond.
Click here to read about the settlement.
Click here to read about the criminal trial.