Last night (Oct. 7) I attended the Norfolk City Council meeting for two purposes. First, to document a proposed test case to Norfolk’s requirement that everyone entering City Hall sign in and present identification, an unlawful requirement to enter a public building, and second, to support the Virginia Citizens Defense League complaint to the Council regarding repeated harassment of citizens legally bearing arms. The results of the effort in both instances were incredible.In the first effort, the plan was for me to arrive early and submit to the ID request to get inside, and then to record, with a camcorder, the results of the refusal of my fellow VCDL and Libertarian Party member’s attempt to enter without giving the unlawfully demanded ID. However, before my associate entered, another VCDL member refused to provide ID and insisted on entering against the instructions of the security guards. For a moment, I thought I might wind up witnessing more of a confrontation than we had planned on, but as soon as the VCDL member declared his intention of entering, the haed security guard pulled back his associates and told them not to interfere with anyone entering without giving ID.
At first flush, I thought “Victory!!” but then, on thinking about it, I realized that their immediate surrender meant they knew it was unlawful all along and were just doing it anyway until someone challenged it. It will be interesting to see if the checkpoint is permanently removed or if they go back to business as usual as soon as they think no one with knowledge of the law is looking.
The second part of the effort relates to the repeated harassment of VCDL member Dan Moore. Dan had been detained and handcuffed last year while legally openly carrying a sidearm in downtown Norfolk. Approximately 100 VCDL members and other 2nd Amendment advocates went to the city council to complain and Councilman Riddick turned his back on them and walked out. Moore sued and had accepted a $10,000 settlement only recently when he was again harassed when he boarded an HRT bus. The bus driver refused to move the bus with him on board, and called the police. Amazingly, one of the same officers from the first incident responded, and yet handcuffed and detained him unlawfully a second time.
Several VCDL members addressed the council and this time, at least, Riddick listened and then responded, though other council members remained mute. Riddick rambled about his support of the 2nd Amendment and the willingness of Norfolk Police to learn the law and comply with it, but then reiterated that Norfolk was ‘different’ and had urban problems so the Law and State Constitution didn’t really matter.
I have just learned this morning that after the meeting a number of VCDL mmebers went for dinner at Waterside and on leaving, Mr. Moore, legally carrying his sidearm was again detained and handcuffed outside the restaurant. I will ad details as I learn them.
A second citizen attempted to video-record the incident, but was threatened by the police. I am unaware of any legal basis for them to forbid a citizen from recording such an incident on a public street.
At this point, I just don’t know what to say. It appears the Norfolk Police and city council see themselves as above the law.
The danger posed by criminals is inconsequential alongside the danger posed by a criminal government.