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February 27, 2013
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Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief 10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief

Open-carry viral video: The law student vs. the cop

I thought Groundhog Day was earlier in the month — I know for certain we’ve seen this movie before

Yet another encounter between an open carry advocate and local law enforcement has gone viral.

This one is apparently from Portland, Maine, and has the old, familiar feel we’ve come to know and love...

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The video stars a mouthy, irritating kid — in this case, an alleged law student, no less — who straps on his sidearm and goes for a stroll down the sidewalk.

The kid thinks he knows everything there is to know about the Constitution of the United States (and all relevant court decisions) and, it seems, has a pre-existing beef with authority in general and police officers in particular.

During his walk on Congress Street, one or more citizens observe his weapon and calls police, expressing some concern (newsflash: not everybody likes guys with guns wandering around their neighborhoods).

The kid is soon stopped by police. Not surprisingly, he videotapes the encounter in the hope that it makes the officers look bad.

Also not surprisingly, he’s memorized a list of court decisions. He’s prepared himself with scripted responses to the types of statements and/or questions one might expect a reasonable officer to utter during the contact.

Watch the Video

I thought Groundhog Day was earlier in the month. I know for certain we’ve seen this movie before.

These cops did a great job. They were reasonable and professional and knowledgeable. 

Videos such as this provide great opportunities to review things to keep in mind about encounters with open carry advocates. 

Most of these folks are well-meaning people who simply want to “demonstrate” their rights under the law, such as it is, wherever that is. However, some of them are out on the streets with the sole purpose of provoking a confrontation with law enforcement.

They want nothing more than to trip you up, make you flustered, and get you irritated.

That way, they can post the video of their encounter to the Internet. So, remember:

1.) Know your local law
2.) Know your weapons
3.) Keep your cool
4.) Use command presence
5.) Use verbal judo
6.) Remain professional
7.) Maintain your 360
8.) Remember ‘plus one’
9.) Call for backup
10.) Watch the hands

Add your comments below. And as always, stay safe out there. 


About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 750 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.

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