Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gun owner receives apology from police chief

"Trevor Putnam knew the gun laws. The officer who stopped him didn’t.

“When I told him that I hadn’t done anything, he said he’d find a reason to put me in jail,” said Putnam, 24, who works with guns every day as vice president of Coal Creek Armory in West Knoxville.

“It’s not that I have a problem with police officers. I deal with police officers nationwide from Arizona to Maine every day. But I lost my confidence in a legal right that I knew I had.”

Knoxville police officers will get a refresher course on the state’s gun permit laws after an officer who didn’t know the law stopped, frisked and threatened to arrest Putnam for legally carrying a gun inside a Wal-Mart this summer.

Officer Glenn Todd Greene’s actions June 21 at the store on Walbrook Drive in West Knoxville earned him a written reprimand and remedial training for rudeness and not knowing the law, Internal Affairs records show. He’s worked for the Knoxville Police Department for about seven years.

Putnam got a written apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.

“The officer was wrong I want to personally apologize to you for any embarrassment or inconvenience you may have suffered as a result of this incident,” the chief wrote.

“The Knoxville Police Department takes pride in the training offered to its officers, and the training provided far exceeds state requirements. Unfortunately, officers aren’t perfect, and sometimes mistakes are made. As you can see from the remedial measures taken, we want to learn from our mistakes so they won’t be repeated in the future.”

The trouble started when Putnam and his girlfriend, Samantha Williams, stopped at the store to buy groceries around 10 p.m. Putnam, who holds a gun permit, carried his Colt handgun inside with him, holstered on his right hip.

“It’s like a seat belt or a fire extinguisher,” he said. “It goes everywhere with me. It was warm that night, so I left my jacket in the car.”

State law allows gun permit holders to carry their guns openly or concealed. Putnam said he usually tucks his shirt over the gun but forgot to that night.

As they walked out, Greene, who’d gone to the store to investigate a shoplifting call, told Putnam to stop. Greene asked for Putnam’s identification, grabbed his arm when he reached for his wallet and then asked why he carried a gun in public, records show.

Putnam ended up against a concrete wall being frisked as Greene took his gun.

“It’s called a concealed carry permit. State law says you carry it concealed, not in plain view (with the) hammer back,” Greene said. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I can put you in jail for something. It’s called inducing a panic.”

And there you have it. A member of law enforcement admitting that the sight of a gun caused him to panic. Click the headline for the full deal, but suffice to say that the cop was not only wrong, but assaulted the young man, and for you or I to have done the same thing means criminal charges would soon follow. And while the mea culpa offered by the Chief was a nice touch, he's obviously too dimwitted to realize that bragging about the high level of training in the same breath as apologizing for the lack of training isn't the wisest of moves. This officer was so very wrong in so very many ways it boggles the mind to think that there police are so poorly tutored, but it STILL gets down to them believing themselves to be ABOVE us on the food chain, and this sends them into an absolutely terror-stricken frame of mind upon seeing a gun and that can be VERY dangerous.

Have a look at poor little Trevor; just a kid and Mr. Only One figured he'd roust him merely for the sake of a good roust.

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