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Video: Fla. Police Sued Over Arrest of CC Holder

July 24, 2013  | 

VIDEO: Fla. Deputies Arrest CC Holder

Florida Carry has filed a lawsuit over the arrest of a concealed carry holder by Citrus County (Fla.) Sheriff's deputies at a vehicle stop in 2009.

The group filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Friday naming three deputies and Citrus County over the stop and arrest of Joel Smith and his wife. The dash-cam video of the stop went viral at the time.

Deputy Andy Cox observed Smith's concealed firearm as he reached into his van to retrieve his license and registration. Deputy Cox ordered Smith to the ground and eventually arrested him for open carry of a firearm. The charge was later dropped, as was a complaint against the deputy, reports the Herald-Tribune.

Comments (13)

Displaying 1 - 13 of 13

Tom Ret @ 7/25/2013 4:00 PM

If the driver had a concealed weapons license and made that known I can't understand why the officer would order him to the ground under arrest. This appears to be a total over reaction by the officer who had no legal standing to do what he did. I could possibly see him taking the weapon temporarily while investigating but once it is known that the subject was legally carrying then he had no basis to take it any further. I couldn't tell by watching the video what the subject communicated to the officer prior to being ordered to the ground. It doesn't mention how long the deputy has served but this sounds like a rookie mistake and it is going to cost the county.

Mark @ 7/25/2013 4:31 PM

@ Tom Ret,

This happened near where I live. I saw a local news report on this story. This deputy is a total moron. He stopped the guy for an expired tag. For some reason he then orders the guy out of the vehicle. Then once out he asks him for proof of insurance. Which that is not standard to ask for insurance in Florida. When the guy turns around and reaches inside for his insurance card his shirt lifted up a little and the deputy spotted the bottom of the holster. Then said deputy proceeds to flip out including cursing up a storm. Deputy dumb-azz tries to charge him for open carry. The charges were dropped quicker than anything by the state attorneys office. The guy did file a complaint but it went no where. Only now has this deputy been suspended and an investigation launched since this has gotten media attention. Keep in mind this happened about 4 years ago. Nothing was done at the time to the deputy.

I have worked with some cops who are against guns and against people having them. I am guessing this is one of those cops.

gawoods @ 7/25/2013 6:42 PM

I hope officers learn from this video. As a retired officer I hate to see a brother treat a citizen in this manner as it appears that it was totally unprovoked.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/25/2013 7:51 PM

The deputy saw the weapon before Numnuts, told the deputy he had a permit for it. You don't walk around a officer carring a firearm without giving the officer a explanation. I agree with the deputy drawing down on the suspect, because the deputy did not know who this guy was. I disagree with proning the suspect down and arresting him. The motorist (Numnuts) should know that the deputy can not read his mind.

Bob @ VA @ 7/26/2013 5:31 AM

There's no duty to inform in FL, so it's perfectly legal to carry around an officer without explanation there. The driver's legally carrying was not pertinent to the reason for the stop. A proper response from the deputy would have been to ask to see the man's permit after spotting the holster if the deputy was concerned.

This past year, FL explicitly clarified their law that momentary, inadvertent revealing of a concealed firearm does not violate the prohibition against open carry. Hopefully this clarification will prevent future abuses like this incident.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/26/2013 10:53 AM

To [email protected], I don't care what state you are in, if a police officer sees you with a firarm he/she will question you. If you have a CC permit and say you are at a shoe store and a LEO, is in the store also, then no you do not have to go up to the LEO, and tell him you have a CC permit. But Numnuts, was stopped for a vehicle violation and the LEO, spotted the gun. Rember this " a gun in the hand is worth 6 in the holster".

Mark @ 7/26/2013 5:22 PM

@ Capt. Crunch,

You sound exactly like the kind of BAD officer I am talking about. Let me guess, you are OK with LEO's having guns but no one else is allowed to. Let me further guess that EVERYONE is a "numnuts" or "sh!tbag" or "bad guy" out there but you and your fellow officers at just your department. The charges were dropped, public opinion is against the deputy, the deputy is suspended and under investigation, and he is being sued. Sounds like you are wrong, Capt. Better learn from this or you may also find yourself a defendant in a lawsuit. With your bad attitude I hope you are not in LE.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/26/2013 8:06 PM

Mark, there is no reason to insult me or any other person. What the hell did I write that makes you think I'm, a bad officer. All I said was Numnuts, should have told the the deputy he was carrying as soon as he got stopped. Also the investigation is still on and what is the deputy going to be sued for (trying to protect his life). Before you judge someone but yourself in their shoes. I would whould rather get time off then be carried by six.

Mark @ 7/26/2013 9:11 PM

@ Capt. Crunch,

You answered you own questions and for anymore read the previous posts above. He IS CURRENTLY BEING SUED, NOT going to be. AH, and it's for violating the man's civil rights. Man, I hope you are not a cop.

Capt. Crunch @ 7/27/2013 9:52 AM

@ Mark,

Anyone can sue anyone, that does not mean they will collect. The way you write,sounds like you have somthing personal against this officer. Everybody has a right to their own opinion, but I think you take joy in this man's suffering. As far as your last question goes, I'm, a retired police officer and probability arrested you at one time during my career. Have a nice day.

Kevin @ 7/27/2013 12:21 PM

It seems odd that you complain, "Mark, there is no reason to insult me or any other person" then in the same breath you insult an "other person" by using a derogatory and demeaning name ("Numnuts"). You ask, "What the hell did I write that makes you think I'm, a bad officer." (sic) You demand just treatment for yourself while denying the same to others. It is our job to protect these "Numnut" (the name you apply to citizens) in a fare and equitable way, not abuse them just because we can. I'm with Mark on this one; you actions lead me to think you are a "BAD officer." Hopefully it will not bite you like it did Deputy Cox.

Tom Ret @ 7/27/2013 2:02 PM

I was sued once during my career which was subsequently thrown out after numerous appeals. I didn't get sued normally because I operated with a solid legal footing. In this particular case, not notifying the officer that he had a concealed weapons permit, may be more a matter of not using common sense rather than a violation of law. It sounds like the driver did not intentionally expose his firearm but did so as he was reaching back into the vehicle which pulled up his shirt and revealed the holster. Therefore, he didn't expect the officer to see his firearm. I can see the officer taking preliminary precautions while investigating the situation. However, once he discovered that the driver was legally carrying, he needed to disengage and let the subject be on his way. If he instead continued with the arrest, he has opened himself up for suit. The subsequent charge of carrying a gun openly is lame on its face and no jury will buy that one since the exposure was inadvertent. An officer has to be able to distinguish the good guys from the bad when encountering armed people. It might make his job more dangerous but he still has to stay within the parameters of the law. In my view, this deputy went to far. I saw no evidence that the driver threatened the officer in any way and was compliant when ordered to prone out. If you arrest someone and at the end of the day no charge will hold up, which appears to be the case here, count on being sued and sued successfully. On another forum, I read a response that the officer could have justifiably shot the driver if he didn't comply. More than likely in such a shooting the officer would face a manslaughter or murder charge. Officers need to ask themselves before they shoot, what crime is being
committed and am I being threatened.

Ima Leprechaun @ 7/29/2013 3:23 AM

Amazing how often I am deleted

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