When a police officer driving the opposite direction at night does a 180-degree turn and arrests a man for having a “concealed weapon,” any reasonable person is forced to ask, “if was ‘concealed,’ how could you see it in the dark driving by in the first place?”
A Michigan judge apparently had the same thought, and acquitted open carrier John David McMorris in a directed verdict:
A man who claimed he was wrongfully arrested while legally open-carrying his pistol has been acquitted of a felony gun charge that stemmed from a Christmas Eve police stop in Flint Township.
John David McMorris was found not guilty Thursday, April 2, after a trial on a single charge of carrying a concealed weapon following his Dec. 24, 2013, arrest.
Jury selection in the trial began Wednesday, April 1, but the case never made it to deliberations because Genesee Circuit Judge Archie Hayman issued a directed verdict after prosecutors were unable to meet their burden to obtain a conviction.
The basis for the arrest by the unnamed Flint Township officer was a steaming pile of bovine excrement in the first place.
The officer who made the arrest claimed that he saw McMorris when he drove by 15 minutes earlier while responding to another call, and that he didn’t see McMorris have a gun, but that when he came back by and hit his lights, he saw then a gun. Therefore, the officer surmised that McMorris must have illegally concealed the handgun hidden the first time the officer drove by.
That the officer simply didn’t observe the firearm for any number of valid and utterly logical reasons (such as the gun being on the opposite side of McMorris’ body, in the dark, while the officer was focused on responding to a call for assistance) never crossed his mind.
Sadly, the case reeks of vindictiveness on the part of the local authorities. McMorris was only charged with a felony seven months after his arrest, and only after he had filed civil charges of improper arrest against Flint Township police.
McMorris’ civil case against Flint Township for the improper stop will now move forward, and it will be interesting to see if there is an investigation into the office of Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton over what some may construe as a “revenge”-based felony charge.
While we’ve had our differences with the “open carry a rifle to stir up controversy” crowd, we’ve always supported the open carry of firearms for self defense, and we’re thrilled to see McMorris successfully defend himself against this pathetic prosecution.