Jeffrey Weinsier update

Following up my post from yesterday about the Miami area reporter that was arrested for allegedly packing at a school while covering a story, here is the press release on the issue from the Second Amendment Foundation. From Alan Gottlieb:

He appears to have remained on a public sidewalk, where he had a right to be as a citizen, and a responsibility to be as a reporter doing his job.

“He never exhibited the handgun,” he added, “nor does it appear he entered any school facility. The only threat he seems to have posed to anyone might have been his already-proven ability to flesh out a story that perhaps school authorities would rather not see on the evening news.

Read the entire presser; because it also details some attempted abuses of the First Amendment by the local authorities.  Yesterday, I was a little harsh with the reporter, because quite frankly I assumed that he had flashed his gun or done something explicit to indicate that he was packing.

However, I’m inclined to believe the information provided by SAF on this issue, as they’ve always been a source of pretty good information.  Unfortunately, if SAF is correct with the facts of this case, in that the reporter remained on a public sidewalk and did not enter school property, than his arrest is completely out of order.

This causes me to revisit my question from yesterday – namely how did the police know he had a firearm?  If he didn’t exhibit his sidearm, then probable cause for the arrest goes right out the window right there, and with it goes the entire arrest.  Add that to my extreme distaste for the possibility that law enforcement was being used by the school board to silence dissent, then I am lead to the Shakespearean conclusion that “something is rotten in Denmark”.

7 thoughts on “Jeffrey Weinsier update”

  1. There are a couple of possibilities that the article isn’t clear on.

    Did the officers discover the firearm before or after arresting the reporter?

    Did the officers request and run a check on the reporter’s ID before arresting him?

    If they ran a check on his ID (presumably a driver’s license) and if Florida is similar to Virginia, the ID check would identify him as a CHP holder.

    Even if they didn’t know he had a CHP, they may have “detained” him to deter him from seeking the story, discovered the firearm and then used that as a pretense to actually arrest him.

    The AP article simply isn’t clear or detailed enough to draw any conclusions. I got the SAF release this morning as well and according to it (as yet unverified so nothing to hang my hat on in my opinion) he was never on school property which would make all the charges, except possibly resisting arrest, invalid.

    This one is just going to have to flesh out a bit more before any real conclusions can be drawn. I’m waiting to actually view the video myself or at least see a transcript before deciding what actually happened and who was in the wrong.

  2. I was thinking about that post some yesterday. The other scenario that came to mind was that the firearm wasn’t visible in any way, and that it was found as a result of search. Such would seem to be the case, here.

    There are often a number of laws about what can and cannot happen within a certain range of a school, with the range extending beyond the physical grounds of the school. He could easily have been in violation of one of these statutes.

  3. Well, there are a lot of problems with the whole thing. If the firearm was discovered as a part of a search, than the probable cause for that search has to be clearly explained in the arresting officer’s report. If there wasn’t sufficient cause to detain the reporter and search him, than the gun is fruit of the poison tree.

    Like I said, this whole thing stinks to me.

  4. The reporter was originally arrested for trespass. The gun was found after the arrest, when the reporter was searched. So really, the gun charge (place of nuisance) is ancillary. It’s the trespass charge that needs to be disputed, although thh nuisance charge makes it that much more important.

  5. Well, it’s my understanding that he was on public property when he was arrested for trespassing; so that means that the cops have a serious problem.

  6. Kalium:

    The federal restriction on firearms within a given distance of school property does NOT apply if you have a state-issued license that requires a background check. If FL requires a background check to get a CPL, and he never entered school property, then he did not violate the federal “Gun Free Schools” law.

    State law might be a different matter.

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