The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ostensibly serves to protect the civil rights of all Americans. I say “ostensibly” because it’s been the target of criticism over the years regarding its refusal to support the Second Amendment. While some have argued that the ACLU is justified by this because there are other groups who defend gun rights, others have argued its rank hypocrisy to only protect nine of the 10 amendments that make up the Bill of Rights.
In recent years, the ACLU has become more openly anti-gun. It’s not content to just ignore gun rights, it’s actively against them.
All of that makes this story all the more interesting. It seems an ACLU attorney was arrested based on his actions with a firearm.
Just one day after the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah announced it had hired Aaron Kinikini as its new staff attorney, Salt Lake police arrested him after they say he fired a gun at a car in which his children were riding.
The mother of at least three of Kinikini’s children arrived to pick them up at his residence Friday evening. The woman and three children were inside the vehicle when Kinikini “stood behind the vehicle, preventing the victim from leaving,” according to a police booking affidavit.
Kinikini told police that the woman “drove at him at a high rate of speed,” the affidavit states. Police say he then produced a handgun and fired at the vehicle, hitting the “driver side front and rear tires.”
The report does not indicate whether anyone in the vehicle was injured by the gunfire.
Kinikini was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault, three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, unlawful detention, criminal mischief and illegal discharge of a firearm.
A spokesman for the ACLU of Utah declined to comment Saturday about Kinikini’s arrest.
Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me.
Was Kinikini justified? Probably not.
While a car does count as a lethal weapon, the fact that he was standing in front of it with the intention of preventing her from going could be construed to be unlawful detention. She has a right to try to get away from someone.
Regardless, the law has typically found that if you escalate the confrontation in the first place, use of force becomes a very different thing. You can’t start a confrontation, do everything to egg it on, then scream self-defense when you end up shooting someone. You played a role.
And it sounds like Kinikini did as well.
Plus, I’m skeptical of how fast the woman could have been driving under the circumstances.
Regardless, firing at a vehicle containing your own children is…wow. It might be different if this was a carjacking and he was afraid that his kids would be harmed. It would still be less than ideal, but I could at least see the reasoning. As it stands, though? Nope.
I suspect Kinikini’s time with the ACLU will turn out to be relatively short. Then again, it’s not like it’s known for showing any kind of consistency when guns are part of the discussion, so why should they start now?