Man with CCW arrested for carrying weapon

| February 1, 2013 | 46 Comments

Brian sends us this video of Joel Smith who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon when he was pulled over by Citrus County, Florida deputy Alan Cox. After showing the officer his license and registration, he puts his wallet in his hip pocket and the officer sees his weapon and goes ballistic;

When the case went to court, the prosecutor wouldn’t press charges because he didn’t think the jury would prosecute. Yeah, I guess not since Smith was legally carrying his weapon and not brandishing it.

That’s why my concealed carry permit is with my driver’s license, so if I get stopped for something by the authorities, I can hand over both so they can see that I have a weapon and I’m within my legal rights to carry it, without giving them time to wonder about me. And I don’t have to say the word “gun” in case there’s a rookie cop on the other side of the car with his itchy trigger finger.

Yes, the officer in this case was wrong. I can understand cuffing Smith until he can prove that he’s legally carrying a gun concealed, but arresting him and letting it get to the prosecutor was a misstep. I’m sure there was something else going on in Citrus County that day which needed more attention than Joel Smith. But Mr Smith should have handed the officer his permit with his license to preclude the drama he got to participate in that day.

Deputy Cox is currently on suspension according to the news report while the Sheriff’s Office investigates his actions that day.

Category: Guns

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  1. SJ says:

    Was taught in my CCW class that we should (must…North Carolina?) tell the LEO immediately that we have a CCW permit and are/are not carrying. Also to do what you said: hand the LEO the permit with the drivers license (a military ID might help too).

    I’ve heard that the response usually is “thanks” or “I already knew it when I ran your tags before the stop but thanks for telling me anyway”.

  2. Hondo says:

    Am I the only one here who kinda hopes the motorist files a wrongful arrest claim?

    Don’t get me wrong – I support the hell out of the police. They have an incredibly difficult job, and generally do it very well.

    But on occasion, someone gets hired who’s not suitable – and who either intentionally or through stupidity abuses members of the public. When that happens, IMO the hammer needs to fall.

  3. FreddieLounds says:

    The threat of “I will shoot you in the back!” is a bit beyond the pale, don’t you think? I don’t think the Deputy has quite the right disposition for law enforcement.

  4. ohio says:

    In most states, when a license plate is run for information, the fact that the owner has a CCW permit is listed and passed on to the driver.
    It never hurts to let the officer know up front that you have a CCW permit and that you are or or not carrying.

  5. AverageNCO says:

    Not excusing the officer, but like SJ, it’s my understanding that the proper protocol in dealing with law enforcement is to immediately inform them that you have CCW permit and you have your weapon. I only know from anecdotal stories from friends who have CCW, so I’m no expert. Not sure if Flordia has any specific regulations on the matter.

  6. ItAllFades says:

    Another case of a cop who’s terrified of guns because that is what they teach them in the academy. They don’t teach them to react to contact or situational awareness. Just “OH MY GOD! A GUN! HE’S GOING TO SHOOT ME!”

  7. Old Trooper says:

    @1: Exactly. When the officer approaches, keep your hands on the wheel and tell them you have your carry permit and have a gun on you and ask them how they would like to proceed. That way, you are giving them control of the situation immediately. Most times it goes the way Jonn explained.

  8. MikeD says:

    “I will shoot you in the back.” Is really the telling line there. That officer was out of control. In what world would that be justified? “I was in fear for my life! He had his back turned and a holstered weapon, clearly he was about to kill me!”

  9. USMCE8Ret says:

    @2 – I was thinking the same thing about the “wrongful arrest” – but that’s just me.

    If the department doesn’t do it, LEO’s should be getting training about the possibility of making contact with CCW holders. Times are changin’. CCW holders responses should be as such that’s outlined above.

    Quick story: I was pulled over 2 years ago, and I produced my DL and CCW (but wasn’t carrying) and my military ID. The cop handed my military ID back to me and said, “I don’t care about that.” Fair enough, but it was kind of funny in my mind at the time. I didn’t get cited.

  10. crucible says:

    The (legal) obligation to inform an LEO of the CCW and weapon on one’s person varies from state to state. Here in Virginia, it’s not a legal mandate (but as others have stated, it’s aprobably a good idea).

    In North Carolina (where my family and I go to vacation and where I also carry), thier laws state that one must inform an LEO.

    Tje officer here clearly is worng and there’s probably some good reason he’s suspended.

  11. In Florida it is not manditory to tell the LEO that you have a CCW permit. If Mr. Smith had kept his butt in his seat this would not have happened. The deputy needs another job.

  12. UpNorth says:

    In Michigan, it’s a requirement to notify a LEO if you’re stopped. If it wasn’t, it’s still a good idea, as others have stated.
    #4, that’s right. In most states, that info is sent back when the plate is run.
    This jackwagon should have his badge torn from his uniform and then be marched to the main door of the PD/SD, and have his ID card cut to pieces as he’s told not to come back.

  13. Twist says:

    Someone had emailed that to my wife last night and she showed me. I thought you guys might want to see it.

    Last time I got pulled over I informed the LEO that I had a permit and before I reached for my registration in my glove box I informed the officer that there was an unloaded pistol in there. When it was all said and done I got my warning and went on my merry way with no fuss.

  14. GruntSgt says:

    As a retired cop all I can say is this deputy has a bad case of what we called “John Wayne syndrome” and probably has to load his badge through the passenger door to sit on the seat as it’s too big for his chest. If you get stopped tell the officer you’re carrying first thing. The first thing this guy should have done was demanded to see the Watch Commander when things started going South.

  15. Cacti35 says:

    This deputy needs to find another line of work. I would get rid of him ASAP! My god the way he panics with some old fart carrying a concealed weapon and not displaying any aggressivness is pathetic.

  16. AverageNCO says:

    @6 I’m with you. He kind of went into Freakout mode when he saw the gun. Cops need to keep their wits about them when they encounter the unexepected.
    I’m reminded of Sean Connery in The Untouchables when he realizes Kevin Costner has a gun in a shouler holster. No nerves…just as simple, “Ok pal, Why the Mahaska?”

  17. Eagle Keeper says:

    Some people (myself included, probably) don’t deal with adrenaline well. These people simply shouldn’t be cops.

    That said, Mr. Citizen sure didn’t help matters none when he (by all appearances) stepped out of the vehicle uninvited. Every gun class I’ve taken taught us to remain in the vehicle with your hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel — whether you carry or not. No rifling around in the glove box for your proof of insurance. Wait to be asked for your docs, then include your carry permit along with them.

    Regardless, Mr. Citizen’s lapse in judgement certainly didn’t warrant Officer Jerkweed threatening to shoot him in the back.

  18. Flagwaver says:

    I was pulled over in Oregon (I know, I know) and handed the officer my CCW with my driver’s license and insurance card. I wasn’t carrying at the time. The cop looked at my I.D., opened my car door, ripped me out, threw me on the ground, cuffed me, then practically tossed me across the hood of his car. I got the roughest pat down of my life with him yelling for me to shut my mouth every time I tried to ask what was happening. He then started going through my car.

    About this time, two other cruisers pulled up and one of the guys jumped out of the car and walked up to me. I informed him that I did not give permission for a search of my vehicle and was wondering what the hell was going on.

    Apparently, the cop that cuffed me saw my CCW and made a call for armed suspect before even asking me if I was armed. He is no longer a cop, though. Less than a year in uniform and he tried telling his supervisor that I had a threatening manner… but, his supervisor, was my First Sergeant before I got out.

    Personally, I think the guy SHOULD sue for wrongful arrest. I think he should take that police department for as much as he can get. Mostly because this arrest will show up on his records now and might make it a little difficult to purchase another weapon.

  19. A_Proud_Infidel says:

    I’m a National Guardsman nowadays, and I know a fair number of LEO’s. I think the vast majority are dedicated professionals, but there’s always that one or two that think their badge is a permit to bully, badger, and intimidate whoever they please, and that doughnut guzzler is a fine example of the latter. His Department will be better off without him!

  20. SGT Ted says:

    All too often, bad LEOs are allowed to remain on the job after many complaints of unprofessional behavior from citizens are swept under the rug. It usually takes video evidence like this for the proper action of either suspending them or firing them takes place.

    I think the laws granting offical immunity should not cover illegal acts committed by LEOs or prosecutors. We might see better law enforcement if they would have to answer to a judge when they screw the pooch on purpose.

  21. PALADIN says:

    Just the fact that after the guy tells him he’s carrying a weapon and is licensed to do so, and the officer says “i’ll shoot you in the back” is cause to get rid of him.
    He’s not fit to be a deputy.
    In LE training, you don’t escalate the situation unless warranted.
    This guy clearly did’nt give this deputy any reason to escalate to the point he did.
    Theres always “some’ who sneak through the cracks, and are given authority when they never should have been.

  22. Just Plain Jason says:

    I always thought that you tried to keep the situation from escalating rather than making it worse. Hell I guess I could be wrong…

  23. jon spencer says:

    If the officer is ever involved in a dispute, does anyone not think that the lawyers will show this video?
    Not to mention the “I will shoot you in the back” quote.

  24. David says:

    Here in Texas you are required to give the cop your CHL when you give him your license if you are carrying… supposedly if you are not carrying you do not need to. BUT I am told when they run your license number, a big red box flashes on the screen indicating you have a CHL. Since I got the license, I have been pulled over twoice – once the cop never asked, and once a traffic cop pulled his gun out right after I stopped the car. His later excuse was that he was in fear for his life… apparently he thought a white guy in his ’50s driving by a church in his Hyundai Sunday morning fit the gang-banger profile, and since my window was down he felt it was an imminent drive-by.

  25. David says:

    also might note that many of us older drivers were originaly taught when pulled over to slowly get out of the car and keep your hands in plain sight… the ‘stay in your seat and keep your hands in sight in the wheel’ would have been considered suspicious. “You got somethingto hide? Get out here, let me see you” was not an uncommon police response.

  26. Common Sense says:

    Sorry, I’ve had enough bad experience with cops regarding my kids that I don’t have any respect for them anymore. Our city doesn’t have enough real crime to keep them busy, so they spend their time harassing good kids. I tell my kids to be respectful only so that the cop doesn’t make something up to get them in trouble, because they WILL, and we don’t need that kind of hassle.

    I’ve met some county sheriff deputies that ARE what good cops should be.

  27. FatCircles0311 says:

    “I’ll shoot you in the fucking back”

    WOW

    Literally ANYONE else but a legal gun owner would have already been paid millions by this police department via a settlement.

    SUE THE PISS OUT OF THIS DEPARTMENT, PLEASE.

  28. palolojo says:

    My opinion on why he should be fired is his comment “I’ll shoot you in the fucking back”. If that is not enough to fire him I don’t know what is.

  29. jonp says:

    In North Carolina if you have a CCW you must inform an officer immediately if he/she stops you. Seems a prudent thing to do.

  30. Ex-PH2 says:

    A retired police detective named Jon Burge is now sitting in jail because he overstepped his authority, tortured detainees, coerced confessions out of men especially black men, and lied about it all. A great many of those victims, starting back in 1972, are getting out of jail and suing Chicago.

    He is costing the city of Chicago millions in compensation to his victims.

    Any copy so out-of-control should be fired on the spot.

  31. Ex-PH2 says:

    That should be ‘cop’, not ‘copy’. Can’t type today.

  32. streetsweeper says:

    Yep, that deputy definitely needs to be relieved of duty and POST certification yanked. I did hear the deputy telling the driver he had an expired tag, but the driver should have remained seated in the vehicle and his sidearm should have been in a holster on his hip or in waistband. One thing is for sure, he certainly blew the concealed portion of it all to hell.

  33. John11b says:

    Yes the cop overreacted. No the man should not have been arrested.
    That being said, the driver should definitely have stayed in his car and informed the officer he had a weapon on him. As a deputy sheriff, anytime someone steps out of their vehicle they have escalated the situation. At that point it is extremely dangerous to allow them to reach back into their vehicle for anything and I will have a heightened state of alert.
    Regardless of what the man says, the officer has no way of knowing that the man actually has a CCW. All he knows at that point is that he stopped got out of his vehicle without being told to (unless I missed something), the man has a gun on his hip which he didn’t tell him, and the man is reaching in his vehicle.
    At that point I definitely would have drawn my weapon and cuffed the man up.
    The “shoot you in the back” remark was quite stupid and unprofessional but saying the department should be sued and the officer should lose his livelihood over it is a bit much. The sue happy nation we have become is quite sad. It’s not like he threw the guy down and beat the crap out him.
    Who knows what the officers previous experiences are? Does that negate the fact that he should act professionally? Absolutely not. It does however mean that perhaps he has been in similar situations where his life was put in jeopardy with an encounter like this.
    Its amazing how easy it is to judge a cop who has to make split second decisions that could mean life and death Its kind of like, I don’t know…… Soldiers in combat being Monday morning quarterbacked.
    I am a combat decorated Infantryman and I have been around guns all my life. Contrary to what some might think, I don’t fear guns because of what I was taught in the Academy but I damn well fear a gun that I didn’t know about especially when your hand goes anywhere near it.
    I only served one tour and my service was very limited but I have been in combat and I will tell you that I feel much more vulnerable on a traffic stop than I ever did in firefights in Iraq

  34. MAJMike says:

    What SJ said.

  35. SJ says:

    John11b’s summary is a great summary. I can only imagine that it takes big ones to do a stop all by yourself not knowing what you are finding. Alaska State Troopers hits that home when the LEOs there rarely have no back up any where near and the correct presumption is that everyone is carrying a cannon.

    I really haven’t had but 1 LEO encounter (a positive one) in my 71 years but teach my kids and bride at a stop to roll all the windows down; turn on a inside light and keep your hands on the wheel and in view. I tell her to tell the LEO that her husband has a CCW permit (which the LEO already knows from the tag) but he ain’t here and no weapons on board.

    David @25 is right: in my era, it was insulting to stay in the car…you were supposed to get out.

    Make it easy on the LEO. If he/she is a jerk like this one, deal with it later at the station.

  36. streetsweeper says:

    Damn it boy! Tell us how you really feel, John11b! I like that though, come roaring in guns blazing like somebody lit yer Fruit of the Loom briefs on fire in the barracks. Young sheepdog here is touchy, you are amongst brother and sister vet’s John. Chill lil bro.

  37. NHSparky says:

    Here’s hoping that the deputy in this video’s next work-related question will be, “Do you want fries with that?”

    Absolutely ZERO need to threaten this guy. And a similar situation happened in Ohio a couple of years back. No call for it, ever.

  38. Dirt Dart says:

    John 11b,
    you should know – the first and last thing they teach at POST is DONT BE the NEXT US vs So and So. Over reacting and false arrest- Come on: No cause or need for the use of deadly force. No cause for the arrest. The moment he found the CCW permit, he should have been sent on his way.

    Besides if you cop in the south: you damn well know that half the folk you run across are armed- legaly. I never drew down on people who were carrying: i made it very clear dont reach for yours and wont reach for mine.

    i understand caution- but we understand the inherrent danger of our chosen occupation when sworn in. But the price for failure is always spelled out by our trainers- every time, all the time

  39. John11b says:

    @Dirt Dart, I agree the officer overreacted and I agree that there should not have been an arrest.

    I don’t work in the south, I work in Southern California. in a city that resembles Somolia. a guy I used to work with was shot in the ribs at very close range in a situation very similar to this.

    Drawing a weapon does not equal deadly force, firing it does. I don’t make it a habit to draw down on people who are carrying, but its a different story when someone steps out without being told to and when the first indication of a gun I see is when I see it concealed on someone’s hip. Every CCW encounter I’ve dealt with has started with the holder IDing themselves, me asking what are where they’re carrying, verifying their status, and semding them on their merry way.

    This officer definitly overreacted. In my opinion. As for understanding the inherent dangers of our profession- you are absolutely right. That does not mean that I won’t take all the caution necessary to make sure my daughter has a daddy to raise her. The price of failure is death.

  40. jonp says:

    john11b: for any officer to shout “I’ll shoot you in the fucking back” for any reason is way out of bounds no matter the situation. We all depend on the police to keep a modicum of calm in situation. The person getting out of the car obviously was not threatening in any way. The cop could have yelled halt, stop or freeze or something and that would have defused the situation right there. The cop was very wrong in this one and should be immediately suspended and retrained and a public and written apology to the man should be made. Unless this police officer has a history of this type of over reaction then I don’t think he needs to be fired for this. If he does have such a history I’d think long and hard as to whether he is suited to be in law enforcement. Not everyone is.

  41. Dirt Dart says:

    jonp,
    i wish it was that simple- but he violated this guys rights- the the 2 and 4th were thrown out the window. The city/county will have no choice but to save fcae – their gonna fire him- as for criminal charges- well am seeing a 50/50 split their. but i soo see a civil right lawsuit in the pipeline. the whole color of law thing comes to mind- all you vet LEO’s know that.

    … today police trainee’s is a example of what not to on a traffic stop.

  42. Joe Williams says:

    A good friend of mine on Arlington,Texas (population 250,000 Plus) says he is in his guns and gonads stage . If he makes it thru this stage he might make a good LEO. Joe

  43. Old Trooper says:

    @33: I disagree on a couple of points and agree on a couple. The officer, if he had wanted him to stay in the vehicle, had the opportunity to tell him so, before asking him for his license and telling him he had expired tabs. So, the thought on the man being out of the vehicle escalating the situation doesn’t fit the circumstances in the video. He complied with all instructions immediately, which didn’t escalate the situation, either. When he asked what the man had a gun for, he didn’t wait for a reply before starting to scream at him. If you ask a question; shouldn’t you wait for an answer before going into Gunny Hartman mode? Although I would have done things entirely different (and have when stopped, even though when the officer approached my vehicle, he already knew I was a permit holder), had I been the driver, it doesn’t excuse the boot camp DI behavior of the officer, either. You know as well as anyone that some officers have been afflicted with the king of my domain disease. I have run across some of them in my years, but I have run across more that are just as pleasant as can be and very professional. In years past, cops used to interact with the people in the areas they patrolled and got to know them and trust and respect were built up between them. These days, you don’t get that and it makes it hard for both sides to respect and trust each other, which, you know, makes it more difficult for you to do your job. The “us against them” attitude has been allowed to take hold and flourish. This officer shows the results of that.

  44. Dirt Dart says:

    hell yeah old trooper, that speaks legions.
    I always told folks that i didnt want to be there longer then i had to.

    after a while folks passed word- and as my godfather told me: let your reputation be your first weapon.

    And i asked God that i be fair and just

  45. John11b says:

    Ok, good points by all and I appreciate the polite discord.

    I would again like to reiterate that this officer was very wrong, but I don’t think he should lose his job.

    As for the us vs. them mentality, I agree 100% that this is extremely detrimental to peace officers and society as a whole.

    As for me, I realize that I am not going to change anyone’s mind and everyone clearly has some strong opinions here. All I can do is do my job the best of my ability and do my best to improve the negative perception of law enforcement through positive law enforcement contacts and by treating people with the respect they are entitled to.

    To those who this applies to, thank you for your service–as military veterans and as first responders

  46. John11b says:

    On an unrelated note, I was reading the comment section on another post on this site and saw some comments by another “John11b.” I just want to make it clear that that is not me and I have only posted once before with this name and it was several months ago.
    Not that I agree or disagree with anything he is saying, I just don’t want my comments/opinions/history being misconstrued as something he said.

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