GUN Cop leaves gun in court bathroom - Judge wants to ban carrying for cops in courthouse

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by TL1000RSquid, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. TL1000RSquid

    TL1000RSquid ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    Judges to discuss tighter courthouse security
    After officer left gun in bathroom, judges may tell cops to leave guns at door
    http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/10/11/1011copgun.html
    By Steven Kreytak
    AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
    Saturday, October 11, 2008

    The criminal district judges in Travis County and representatives of the sheriff's office, which provides courthouse security, next week will consider banning outside law enforcement officers from bringing guns into the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center downtown.

    State District Judge Julie Kocurek said she suggested the discussion after an Austin police officer left a loaded gun in a public bathroom outside her courtroom Sept. 24. The gunwas found and secured by a pair of felony defendants, Kocurek said. The gun was safely recovered by the officer, who is now the subject of an internal affairs investigation.

    "It could have been very tragic," Kocurek said. "We were very fortunate."

    The proposal comes as a man is on trial in Atlanta over a 2005 courthouse shooting that led to debates at courthouses across the nation on the merits of allowing law enforcement to carry guns inside. Brian Nichols is accused of taking a gun from a sheriff's deputy when he was in custody facing rape charges and using it to kill the deputy, a judge and a court reporter.

    In an unsettling incident in Travis County this week, officials say members of a murder defendant's family tried to force their way toward the defendant and prosecutors near the judge's bench. No guns were drawn in that incident in state District Judge Wilford Flowers' court, but pepper spray was used by deputies to restore order.

    Members of the public are prohibited from bringing guns into the Travis County courthouse and are screened for weapons at the entrance, but law enforcement officers — who visit to testify, to get warrants signed by judges or for other reasons — are allowed to keep their weapons.

    Kocurek suggested that the county could institute a system similar to Austin's federal courthouse, where outside law enforcement officers put their guns in lockers by the door. That would leave sheriff's deputies who work in the courts as the only ones carrying guns.

    Sheriff's office spokesman Roger Wade said the office is always willing to discuss security improvements with the judges but said it is ultimately the sheriff's call on whether to ban guns.

    Wade said the decision on whether to allow guns is made statewide based on each individual courthouse's characteristics. Law enforcement in Hays and Williamson counties are allowed to bring guns into court.

    Wuthipong "Tank" Tantaksinanukij, vice president of the Austin Police Association, said that stopping outside law enforcement from bringing guns into the courthouse would be a mistake that would reduce courthouse security.

    "The officer (who left his gun in the bathroom) made a mistake and if they do that it's a knee-jerk reaction," he said. Tantaksinanukij said the department is addressing the issue by training officers to better secure their guns.

    In the Sept. 24 incident, an Austin officer identified by defense lawyers as Jason Bryant was waiting to testify on the seventh floor of the criminal justice center in a drug possession trial. Police Chief Art Acevedo said the officer removed his gun while going to the bathroom and left it in a stall.

    Kocurek said she had a busy docket that morning. She said a defendant facing a drug possession charge in her court found the gun. He did not speak English, though, and pointed it out to another defendant, who was facing a felony charge of driving while intoxication. While the first defendant kept anyone from going near the gun, the other defendant tracked down a sheriff's deputy.

    By the time a deputy got to the bathroom, Bryant had realized his gun was gone and returned to the bathroom to retrieve it, Acevedo said.

    It was out of his possession for only a few minutes, Acevedo said.

    Kocurek said she scolded Bryant for the lapse later that morning when he came to her court to apologize.

    "It's frightening," said lawyer Alberto Garcia, who represented the drug defendant who found the gun. "All it takes is for that one fellow who really has it out for a judge or a prosecutor or his own attorney ... to find the gun."

    County Court-at-Law Judge Elisabeth Earle recalled that several years ago an Austin officer left his gun in a bathroom in a secured area near her courtroom while he was testifying. Earle did not recall the officer's name but said that he left his gun in a bathroom adjacent to the jury room during a trial. A janitor found the gun and reported it to court personnel, she said.

    Earle said she favors limiting the number of people who have guns in the courthouse.

    Hector Gomez, the supervisory deputy U.S. marshal in Austin, said that only his officers are allowed to have guns in federal court, something that cuts out any confusion that might arise in an emergency situation.

    "We don't know who every officer is. They change their appearance, they transfer," he said, noting that officers don't wear uniforms in federal court. "We need to tell cop from criminal."

    State District Judge Bob Perkins said that allowing outside law enforcement made sense before the sheriff's office began to screen people for guns at the courthouse door in the 1990s. "Now," he said, "you already have armed guards there at the door."

    Defense lawyer Viktor Olavson, whose client reported the gun left by Bryant to deputies, suggested that even sheriff's deputies should not carry guns, as is the case in some courthouses. That would eliminate the chance of a similar incident as the Atlanta courthouse shooting.

    "What is the use of having a gun?" he asked. "If some crazy lunatic grabs one of those guns he can then shoot people. If nobody has a gun what is a crazy lunatic going to do? Beat somebody up? He will be outnumbered in no time and nobody would be shot."
     
  2. kellyclan

    kellyclan She only loves you when she's drunk.

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    Anybody ever hear the argument to disarm patrol officers?
     
  3. The Cable Guy

    The Cable Guy New Member

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    Obama will do it.
     
  4. Paul Revere

    Paul Revere OT Supporter

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    THIS is why you have guns in the courtroom:

    http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=6108669

    4/29/2008 Merced, CA (KFSN) -- An Atwater man is dead after bursting into a Merced County courtroom carrying two carving knives.

    Investigators are still trying to figure out exactly how and why this bizarre situation happened but Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin said deputies did exactly what they were trained to do.

    The unarmed security guards, metal detectors, and x-ray machine at the entrance of the Merced County Courthouse could not stop Robert Eaton Monday afternoon. "Mr. Eaton is a rather sizable individual, standing at 6'4" and 240 pounds. So he had a full head of steam heading down the hallway with two rather large knives in his hand," said Sheriff Mark Pazin.

    Sheriff Mark Pazin said Eaton was carrying one knife in each hand as he ran past security, nearly 100 yards down a hallway into courtroom number two. Judge Brian McCabe was at the far end of the room when authorities said Eaton ran in waving the weapons. "Our deputies repeatedly told the individual, pleaded with him to drop the knives, he did not comply," said Pazin.

    That's when witnesses said the deputies started shooting; killing Eaton.

    Robert Eaton has had a history of crimes including vandalism, auto theft and alcohol related incidents. Just over a year ago he rammed his car into the old Merced County court building a block away from the new courthouse. In that incident Eaton claimed he was frustrated because he was unable to obtain mental health care.

    He was recently receiving some kind of treatment. In this latest incident, he carjacked a social worker who was driving him to a medical appointment. She was not hurt. The social worker told deputies she thought Eaton was schizophrenic.

    Because of confidentiality issues the Sherriff said he can't comment on Eaton's medical or psychological problems. But said he can't rule out the possibility Eaton wanted to die.

    Investigators will be looking at surveillance video as they try to figure out exactly how Eaton made it all the way to the courtroom. Sheriff Pazin said he plans to look into funding to arm security guards at the courthouse entrance in the future.
     
  5. Paul Revere

    Paul Revere OT Supporter

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    btw, that happened like 8 blocks from my house :o
     
  6. Anders 7

    Anders 7 I aim to misbehave OT Supporter

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    yay for kneejerk reactions.
     
  7. crazynova

    crazynova OT Supporter

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    Fuck, at the courthouse here, the "security guards" are actually County Marshals who are fully certified POs, and carry guns.
     
  8. GarandBobcat

    GarandBobcat New Member

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    And I know (and currently work with) 2 of the 3 bailiffs/deputies who shot the motherfucker. 8 rounds total, all torso hits. G22c pistols w/ Winchester Ranger-T (RA40T) ammo. They said once to me that when they rolled the--dying--guy over to cuff him, per policy, some of the perfectly expanded bullets that had gone right through the guy fell out and were sitting on the floor.
    Crazy shit.

    For the record, he was 5150(W&I Code) and had a grudge against that judge whose court he busted into.

    The security guards should have had a deputy/bailiff with them at the front door to just drop him right there, but the deputy wasn't there and the unarmed screeners are located in a bad spot to actually tase or stop him.

    I got hired, as a reserve deputy there, partly as a reaction to the incident, so they could beef up security with more deputies at the courthouse.
     
  9. FusionZ06

    FusionZ06 /\__/\__/\__0>

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    Our court house only staffs fully sworn LEO's.
     
  10. GarandBobcat

    GarandBobcat New Member

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    we have non-sworn extras to run the X-ray machines and metal detectors, but that's about it
     
  11. KNYTE

    KNYTE I'm Not Kidding.

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    It seems like it's always women who are crying about things like this. Whooda thunk it.
     
  12. GarandBobcat

    GarandBobcat New Member

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    :werd:
     
  13. kellyclan

    kellyclan She only loves you when she's drunk.

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    "Your honor; everyone makes mistakes. Even the police. My client is on a new path, and this court saw proof of that today..."



    I still want to know who these morons are that take their gun out to shit.
     
  14. SmugZombie

    SmugZombie OT Supporter

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    I could understand that if your totally paranoid and wanna have your weapon out to shoot someone when they break in on your shit... but i wouldnt think about taking it off and putting it down...
     
  15. mikeflys1

    mikeflys1 New Member

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    you kinda have to take it off...to get your pants off.
     
  16. Paul Revere

    Paul Revere OT Supporter

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    its in a holster...on your belt...
     
  17. smartypants

    smartypants New Member

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    They address this specifically at FLETC.
    Put your gun in your boxers when you take a dump.
    You'll have ready access to it if you're ambushed and you won't leave it on the back of the shitter
     
  18. GarandBobcat

    GarandBobcat New Member

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    shit like this makes me glad that at Merced County Courthouse, we have individual, locking bathrooms off the employee hallway, and if I need to take a dump, I can go in there, pop off the ol' duty belt and gear, set it right in front of me in reach, have my dump behind a locked door, and get back out there when I'm done.
     
  19. smartypants

    smartypants New Member

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    I've seen some courthouses that have shitters that lock/unlock with cuff keys.
     
  20. mikeflys1

    mikeflys1 New Member

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    Meh...when i was an mp I just pulled the whole belt off...holster and all. Makes shitting much easier without all your stuff in the way.
     
  21. GarandBobcat

    GarandBobcat New Member

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    That might be nice....ours just can't be locked except from the inside, and you have to close the door fully before it'll actually lock. I'm happy enough with that, I guess.
     
  22. GarandBobcat

    GarandBobcat New Member

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    :werd:
     
  23. mtnbikekid08

    mtnbikekid08 Aime-moi moins, mais aime-moi longtemps

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    How about this:
    Specific bathrooms for officers/guards only, with a guard to make sure it's really a cop. Problem solved
     
  24. kellyclan

    kellyclan She only loves you when she's drunk.

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    and finally mall security has someone to make fun of!
     
  25. Drunken Karnie Midget

    Drunken Karnie Midget In Yeo We Trust, All Others Pay Cash OT Supporter

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    one was a felony possession charge, the other felony DWI... neither exactly violent... a guy w/ a murder wrap, or robbery on the other hand :ugh:
     

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