Somehow, I don’t think Flint Township Police will be stopping people who open carry firearms any time soon unless they have a darn good reason.
A man who claimed he was wrongfully arrested on Christmas Eve while legally open-carrying his pistol has reached a $35,000 settlement with the officer who stopped him, according to the man’s attorney.
John David McMorris reached the agreement Tuesday, July 28, after he sued Flint Township Police and Sgt. Russell Fries following his Dec. 24, 2013, arrest. The lawsuit was forwarded to the township’s insurer.
“Mr. McMorris and I are satisfied with our result in this case,” said McMorris’ attorney, Craig McAra. “Civil rights cases for wrongful arrest can be difficult to win given the very high burden of proof placed upon the plaintiff.”
Township police Chief George Sippert declined to comment on the settlement and directed questions to attorney G. Gus Morris, who represented the officer and department in the case.
Flint Township Police maintain that this was a lawful stop, of course, and the city insists that the $35,000 settlement was the most logical way to end the case considering the high cost of litigating the case.
This was the second legal victory for McMorris in the incident, who won the criminal case brought against him in this bogus stop in April:
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.
It’s a shame that McMorris has to go through civil and criminal cases, and even more of a shame that the criminal case seems to have been filed out of spite in the first place.
Le’ts hope the incident has led to policy changes in Flint Township so that this sort of incident doesn’t happen again.