The Daily Tribute reports that Michigan teenager Sean Combs won a not-guilty verdict after being placed on trial for brandishing a firearm a public.
We covered this story a while back and we’ve been cheering for Combs ever since. For those of you who missed our original article, Combs was walking through a public area with a M1 Garand slung over his shoulder. And just to be clear, openly carrying a weapon in legal in Michigan.
So, why did three police officers stop Combs and ask for his ID? Officer Rebecca Springer, who testified in the case, said “I had no problem with him having the gun. If he looked 32 (years old) he would have enjoyed the night.” Michigan law requires that anybody carrying the rifle be 18 or older, and the officers feared that he might be younger. The only flaw in their plan is this silly old thing called the Fourth Amendment, which means that cops can’t just search and seize property based on a hunch.
Combs initially refused to produce ID, but he eventually complied when police threatened him with a citation. This earned him three charges: brandishing a weapon, disturbing the peace, and obstructing police. Judge Marc Barron threw out the obstruction charge when the police couldn’t supply any evidence, but he left the other charges. That’s another funny thing about the US legal system. As it turns out, cops also need to supply evidence for the charges they file.
District attorney Mary Kucharek, lacking any actual evidence of illegal actions, rested her case on the argument that Combs was a broody teenager, as if that somehow made what he was doing less legal. She said that Combs was carrying the rifle “ostentatiously” and she highlighted his emotions: “You felt frustrated. That’s a reasonable emotion, yes? And you felt angry, yes?”
We searched through Michigan legislature, but we couldn’t find anything in the books about it being illegal to carry a gun ostentatiously, or laws against getting angry when the police stop you.
Jurors met for two hours and returned with a not guilty verdict. So, a person who broke no laws and who had no evidence against him was found to be not guilty. Sounds good to us!