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Gun owner receives apology from police chief

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by E.L., Oct 16, 2007.

  1. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    HomeNewsLocal News

    Gun owner receives apology from police chief

    Chief's letter, more training follow officer's confusion, threat of arrest

    By Matt Lakin (Contact)
    Saturday, September 22, 2007
    [​IMG] Michael Patrick
    Trevor Putnam, who was stopped while he legally carried his gun inside a Wal-Mart by an officer who was mistaken about the state’s gun permit laws, received an apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.


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    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.”
  2. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Good that they're going to give more training.

    Officers cannot defend nor enforce a law that they're not familiar with.
  3. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    “The Knoxville Police Department takes pride in the training offered to its officers, and the training provided far exceeds state requirements."

    And none of the other cops knew either.... what a joke.

    These are the kind of cops we've been talking about.

    Don't even know the law, but... "I can put you in jail".
  4. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    yeah that's been going around alot lately.." hey you;","bbut officer I didn't break any laws?" " So, I can put you away for er,er, something"...
    Still even though he was within the law I feel numbnuts shoulda' had a shirt over it(for the same reason I keep my hand in plain view on the wheel during a traffic stop. Don'twant a rookie trooper going off and overreacting). It would be highly unusual; to see some one openly carrying around here especialy in walmart at 10p.m.It would draw my attention too.
  5. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    “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.”

    I wonder if he lets the people who have to deal with him 'secure a weapon' before they deal with him or if he makes sure not to open carry?

    He needs to know the law if he's going to take money for enforceing it. In a lot of areas open carry is legal and the fact of the matter is that MOST of the time the average person isnt worried by it simply because the people who open carry will generaly be comfortable with it and not think anything of it and carry in a holster rather than just tucked in their waistband, so most folks when seeing the person isnt nervous and isnt trying to hide it just assume the person is a cop or something similar. The main ones that are likely to realy freak out are the cops who know the other cops in the area and know its not a cop and get wierd if they arent the only one around with a gun.

    I know here in MO open carry is legal without a permit but the cities can ban it and it rare for people to open carry in town. If you have a permit though then you have been through at LEAST as thourogh of a background check as any LEO and have at least basic training with firearms saftey and law and have to prove you can shoot about as well as you could throw the gun at least. Point being if you have the permit it should tell any intelegent person you are not a threat unless threatened since if you have criminal or mental health history that the county sherif, highway patrol or FBI can find in a search on you then you cant get one, so its basicly a 'good guy' certification.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    All true. However, the population has an inate fear of guns in public. Possibly excepting in the field, where the "normal" population is seldom found.
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