NJ Assn sues NY port authority over abuse of gunowner
The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Inc. has sued the NY & NJ Port Authority (which administers the airports around there) over the false arrest of a Utah gunowner.
Basically, Gregg Revell was scheduled on a flight from Salt Lake City to Allentown, PA, connecting in Newark, NJ (which is near NYC). He possessed a firearm in conformance with the 1986 Firearm Owners' Protection Act (which allows a person to take a firearm interstate if it is legal where the journey begins and ends and it is unloaded and secured along the way). Due to airline error, he missed the connection in Newark, and the airline required him to claim his baggage there. When he tried to check in again, and declared the firearm as required by FAA regulation, he was arrested under the local gun laws and spent five days in a hellhole of an NJ jail (where friendly inmates told him that his life was in danger -- the real thugs might just kill him for the fun of it).
Makes me puke. And to think we are killing them in Iraq to bring them this same crap. Officers should be fired and officials heads should roll.
Posted by: jug at February 28, 2006 06:47 AM
I've posted on this subject elsewhere but will repeat my thoughts here: I think the damage claim should be made as large as is even remotely allowable under state law (if accident victims can sue for hundreds of times their maximum lifetime earnings, this kind of intentional, official outrage deserves at least as much.) And it should be directed not only against the official agencies involved but also each "law enforcement" individual even peripherally involved.
If the litigation is successful, collection of damages should be pursued to the maximum extent possible against the individuals involved, to the point of personal bankruptcy, if possible. The purpose of this tactic would be to demonstrate to the "law enforcement" community that there are consequences to trampling on the constitutional rights of citizens, and that they cannot hide behind the "just following orders" excuse.
I'm not a tort lawyer, so there may be defenses that individual cops can raise against personal liability. But I think there are exceptions and limits to the "offical duty" sorts of defenses, and this is the sort of case that might be the place to start exploring those limits. For example, if a chief ordered his cops to confiscate Bibles whenever they saw one in a car they stopped, would any reasonable person believe the individual cops ought to escape personal liability on some "official duty" or "following orders" defense? I don't think so - cops are citizens too, and should be held to the same "presumed to know the law" standard that they apply against the citizenry.
Posted by: wrangler5 at March 1, 2006 05:27 PM