Peter Steinmetz was arrested in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on July 25 when he open carried an AR-15 to the airport to get a cup of coffee. Authorities claim that Steinmetz pointed the rifle at two women, and he was arrested on suspicion of committing two felonies.
Airport security video, however, shows that Steinmetz was followed closely by three airport police officers, trailing just feet behind him. He never pointed the firearm at anyone (he exhibited good muzzle control unlike many rifle open carriers). It also shows that the officers who followed him engaged in conversation with two couples on either side of Steinmetz, and it was apparently after talking to these customers that he was placed under arrest.
First, here’s the video. Ignore the commentary from the anti-gun local news anchor and the pro-gun attorney, and focus on the video segments they show repeatedly in the first half of the video.
Here are the images that stand out to me.
The first is that Steinmetz takes his Starbucks drink and his AR-15 and goes to a row of terminal seating to sit down and drink it. In the image capture below, Steinmetz is behind the column of arrival/departure monitors and can’t be seen, but three security officers can be seen trailing him, just feet behind.
At least one officer then apparently talks to passengers on the left center of the frame, and another and engages two passengers sitting at the end of the row of seats to the right side of the frame in conversation. Moments later, Steinmetz was arrested.
The screen-capture below captures the moment of Steinmetz’s arrest. He is in the red shirt and blue shorts with his hands behind his back. There is an officer standing behind the column of arrival/departure monitors handcuffing Steinmetz, another in from of him, and another on the right side of the frame, still talking to one of the couples.
Did airport security officers solicit a complaint to arrest Steinmetz because he annoyed them? Is his arrest a case of police harassment?
It sounds like a distinct possibility, and Steinmetz is now claiming that he does not face charges. He says that he is having a press conference tomorrow.
It will be interesting to see how this develops, and to see if Steinmetz will turn the case around and go after officers who apparently arrested him for no legitimate reason whatsoever.