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Norfolk Police "Thugs" to VCDL

Discussion in 'Glockers of the Old Dominion' started by Jerseycitysteve, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004

    Gun-rights advocates stage protest at Norfolk council meeting
    By HARRY MINIUM, The Virginian-Pilot
    © August 29, 2007
    Last updated: 12:17 AM


    More than 100 gun-rights advocates, most carrying handguns on their hips and wearing buttons saying "Guns Save Lives," came to the City Council on Tuesday night to protest what they called harassment of law-abiding gun owners by city officials.

    The protest was called by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group, after Chet Szymecki of Yorktown was arrested in June at Harborfest for carrying a gun.

    Szymecki was arrested for violating a city ordinance banning guns at Harborfest - an ordinance that officials now acknowledge violates state law. City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko said city officials were unaware of a state law prohibiting localities from banning guns.

    Video: Watch the council meeting.
    Brian Clark |
    Carrying a weapon openly is legal in Virginia, even at a large gathering such as Harborfest. Once city officials realized their error, the charges against Szymecki were dropped.

    "We made a mistake," Councilman Barclay C. Winn said. "It was unintentional."

    Most who came to protest didn't appear to believe it was an innocent mistake.

    "You know it was illegal," said Dave Vann, who drove from Falls Church to speak. "You arrested someone, and now it's going to cost you dearly."

    Szymecki, a Navy veteran, said he was manhandled and hurt and that his wife, Deborah, his three children and two other children who accompanied them were traumatized. He said he has hired Norfolk attorney Stephen Merrill.

    An emotional Deborah Szymecki told the council that after several police officers were done handcuffing her husband, she was left without money or the keys to the family car.

    Others rose to describe incidents in which they said they were questioned and often handcuffed by police for simply carrying a firearm openly.

    "Apparently you have some officers who don't understand the law," said the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Philip Van Cleave of Midlothian.

    The meeting drew more rowdy as it continued, with speakers receiving thunderous applause and some expressing disgust for the council. Some used unsavory terms to describe the police.

    Councilman Paul R. Riddick left the meeting as gun-rights advocates began speaking, he said, in protest of their protest.

    Kim Barton, who would not say where she lives, tried to speak but was told by Mayor Paul Fraim that she couldn't because she had not signed up to speak.

    "I want to hear what she has to say," Vann said.

    Fraim replied, "I'm running this meeting " and informed Vann his time to speak had expired.

    Harry Minium, (757) 446-2371,

    © 2007
  2. Dan0076

    Dan0076 Special Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Although I'm a member of VCDL and I was present at the council meeting I don't agree that a general statement like that is representative of the NPD.

  3. PVanCleave


    Jun 11, 2005
    Midlothian, VA
    I am the spokesman for VCDL and I didn't say that as it isn't VCDL's position. However, it is true of some of their officers, clearly. Those officers need to be either weeded out or given remedial training on gun laws and treatment of citizens.

    I hope to have audio, and perhaps video, on the VCDL site soon.
  4. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004
    Nofolk officers are our finest and bravest.

    I say this to you as an an 80% supporter. VCDL's confrontational tactics are a long term political loser.
  5. PVanCleave


    Jun 11, 2005
    Midlothian, VA
    We are in deep do-do then. You need to listen to all the OTHER people who came to complain of police harassment on that audio.

    A sweeping statement about the entire department being "thugs" is wrong, as Norfolk has many are fine officer. A sweeping statement about them being the "finest and bravest" is equally wrong as some should have their badges taken away. I have not seen so many reports of harassment elsewhere in the state so far.

    What would your tactics be - ignore the harassment like it never happened? If you bring it up to City Council at all, that is being confrontational.
  6. hokieglock

    hokieglock Proud Infidel

    i mostly stay out of these threads, but jersey who works for who here? law abiding citizens who the police work for expect their finest and bravest to treat them as their employers. it's pretty obvious to me some in the nfpd don't think that joe and jane six pack deserve any respect and deference much less learn the laws they're sworn to uphold. the police work for us and not some "higher" power like you seem to infer. it slays me the ignorance and elitism you seem to exude. thats all.
  7. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004
    May God protect our Norfolk cops!

  8. He needs to protect them from themselves.
  9. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Salty Dog

    Dec 4, 2004
    Stafford VA
    Okay -- what did I miss? What "general statement" are we talking about? The only quote I saw from VCDL said "Apparently you have some officers who don't understand the law," -- that seems pretty specific (and accurate) to me.

    One of my good friends is a Norfolk cop -- and even he will tell you that there are serious attitude problems in the department (like he's told me). Those attitudes are encouraged and enabled by the bungling City Council and other idiots like Paul Fraim. If he could hold down another job, maybe he would stop being mayor (but why give up on the current welfare program?). A city attorney who doesn't know that Virginia has a preemption law? Turn in your juris doctorate - or head south...I think there's an opening for a State prosecutor somewhere around Duke!

    I predict that next years' Harbor Fest will be even more confrontational -- they may not arrest gun owners for carrying, but I bet they harass them for anything and everything else they can think of. Rather than admit they were wrong on all counts, they're circling the wagons and I expect that they'll find a way to reassert their "authority" just so people don't forget who they are.

    I hope I'm wrong...

  10. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004
  11. floridaGLOCK32


    Nov 8, 2005
    Any police officer that is in clear violation of the law should be reprimanded or fired.
  12. PVanCleave


    Jun 11, 2005
    Midlothian, VA
    [sigh] Did you hear ME call them thugs, Steve?

    Members are free to speak as they wish, I am the only person that speaks for the organization.

    The 1st Amendment still exists last I checked.

    That being said, to a few of the officers in the Norfolk PD, I would say that if the shoe fits, wear it.
  13. Jerseycitysteve


    Nov 11, 2004
    I don't tell you these things not because I hate gun rights, you, or your organization. I believe the VCDL will win some battles in the short term but lose the war of public opinion. The MSM is circling around you guys and waiting for a public meltdown.

    When I used to do some political consulting, I would look at my client through the eyes of supporters, opponents, and the disinterested. I can only tell you that most of the public aren't sophisticated enough to make such fine distinctions between members and official spokesmen of political organizations.

    The tone and the language of VCDL supporters on the tapes speaks for itself. The VCDL supporters/members made Mayor Fraim appear to be a model of decorum and moderation. That's a neat trick.

    I suggest you pay for a public relations consultation because free advice is worthless.

    For example, these guys the best but you'll get the best.
  14. PVanCleave


    Jun 11, 2005
    Midlothian, VA

    The problem is that I have NO control over what a member says on his own dime. Nor would I be so arrogant as to try. Chet spoke from his heart and HE was the one falsely arrested - not you or me. Chet had every right to say what he did in my opinion.

    Overall, our members are well spoken, know the gun laws as well, or better, than most police, attorneys, magistrates and judges. They also behave in a polite and restrained manner at public events.

    You are correct - the public may not know who speaks for the group and who doesn't. That is very frustrating, but I see no alternative but to accept that as part of the deal.

    What is 'MSM' that is circling around us waiting for a public meltdown? Whoever or whatever they are, I hope they have a lot of time on their hands. :)
  15. Gunboat1

    Gunboat1 A.F.A.M.

    This situation in Norfolk has recently made me get off the fence and join VCDL, after several years of supporting their actions without being a member. The Norfolk city government and police department clearly think they can do whatever they wish with regards to harassing gun owners who choose to exercise their 2A carry rights. They are mistaken. Kudos to VCDL for taking up this fight. Please continue to hold their feet to the fire.

    Now, on to repeal of the ridiculous restaurant CCW ban. In my opinion, that should be VCDL's #1 legislative priority.
  16. Oh heavens no. We should never actually stand up for our rights. We need to just stand in the corner, with our hats in our hands, and hope they'll toss us a scrap once in a while. We'd hate to make the anti's mad.

    After all, that's worked so well for 50 years. :upeyes:
  17. Carlitos


    Dec 19, 2001
    Arlington, VA

    Excellent point. There was a time when every police car's door was printed with the words:

    "Protect and Serve"

    Those words echoed the rights (ALL the rights) embodied in our constitution. Ask any 1st year law student what the main purpose of our constitution is and they will tell you: "To protect the rights of the people from their own government." How has this lesson been lost on many of today's law enforcement officers?

    While its likely that most of Norfolk's officers are honest, well-meaning public servants, it is apparent that there are bad apples in the rank and file and that there may be a pervasive attitude problem whaen it comes to their collective understanding of citizens' civil rights.

    Perhaps these civil servants need to start over, beginning with the concept of "To Protect and Serve."

  18. keith56

    keith56 BAD KARMA

    Jun 17, 2004
    I agree, a portion of citizens are very pro gun, the same portion is very anti gun. Your not going to change their mind its the ones in the middle that need to be educated and they are the ones that watch and listen to things like this.
  19. Messer


    Jan 13, 2003
    Central Virginia
    By your logic, you could have made the statement "NRA calls Norfolk Police thugs", since most members of the VCDL are also members of the NRA.

    We the members, don't speak for the NRA - just as we the members, don't speak for the VCDL.

    All I ask of ANY police dept. is to obey the laws they have sworn to enforce - if they can't do that, they should not be on the job. :thumbsup:

    I have nothing but respect for the men and women who put on the badge each day - they do a tough job. But having a tough job doesn't allow you to break the law.

    Take care,
    Bob S.
  20. PVanCleave


    Jun 11, 2005
    Midlothian, VA
    that *all* Norfolk cops are tops, Steve. Take a look at the transcript of the incident with Dan Moore. At the end the two cops are talking amongst themselves:

    LEO 1 – I just needed him to cuss at me so I can hit him, I just wanted him to do something.

    LEO 2 – ….again, even if you pull up in a traffic stop and you can’t see it, concealed.

    LEO 1- Yeah, I know. Let’s say he’s sitting in the car like that and you walk up to the window and you can’t see it, concealed.

    LEO 2- (unable to translate)

    LEO 1 - ….when you walked away he started talking to me, asking questions…he a ****ing idiot, he’s stupid, he ****ing sits there and say “I just listened to the police scanner”…and that’s all it is.

    LEO 1 & 2 wrap out their conversation and leave.