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WVCDL Challenges Open Carry Harassment in Wheeling -- Campbell v. City of Wheeling

JimMullinsWVCDL

State Researcher
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Lebanon, VA
Under West Virginia law, no license is required to openly carry an unconcealed handgun; an adult who is not prohibited by federal or state law from possessing firearms may lawfully carry a handgun in most places if the handgun is carried openly and unconcealed. WVCDL believes the decision on whether and in what manner (openly or concealed with a license) to carry a handgun in a lawful manner is a personal decision.

On May 11, 2011, WVCDL joined WVCDL member Keith Owen Campbell and his father, Larry Campbell, in a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia against the City of Wheeling, its police chief, and 4 individual Wheeling police officers, challenging numerous violations of the Campbells' constitutional and civil rights while Keith Owen Campbell was lawfully and openly carrying his handgun on December 4, 2010, and the ongoing threat of further harassment of individuals who choose to open carry in the City of Wheeling.

A copy of the complaint in Campbell v. City of Wheeling, which includes a thorough statement of facts, is available at WVCDL's litigation page.
 
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Dreamer

Regular Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
5,360
Location
Grennsboro NC
Guess I've been lucky... I've OCed in the Wheeling area multiple times over the last few years, and never once had a single issue. Most recent time was at the Cabela's in Elm Grove in Christmas of 2010, and in various locations around Wheeling and the 'Grove over that holiday.

I have family in Elm Grove, Dallas, Tridelphia, and Sistersville, and I grew up in Paden City so I'm back that way several times a year for visits.

I'll have to be sure to keep my voice recorder handy when I get back that way again...
 

SgtC

Regular Member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
10
Location
Wheeling, WV
Wheeling OC

I am one of the plaintiff's in the Campbell v Wheeling suit.

I was stopped at the Quaker Steak and Lube at the Highlands last year by a Sheriff's Deputy who told me to cover my gun (since children were present). He was at all times professioal, but just did not know the law. a letter to the Sheriff fixed that and I have yet to be bothered by them again. I was more amazed that the asst. manager, who saw I was on a motorcycle and had a 7-yr old girl with me told me that they did not mind my having a gun but asked that I lock it up if I was going to drink (apparently it is ok by them to get hammered while on a bike with a 7-yr old sitting on the passenger seat).

Also, I was stopped in Moundsville and told that Moundsville does not allow open carry. A trip to the clerk to pull the ordinance proved that the officer was wrong. There is no prohibition in Moundsville.

I was also told by a bank manager in Elm Grove that she did not like guns as they made her nervous. She suggested that she put up a"no guns" sign. I told her that she certainly could but I would pull all my money out within minutes and be at the corporate office the next day (located in Weirton) asking why she was allowed to set corporate policy. I also informed her that although I had a pen in my possession, I did not write on any walls in the bank.

My favorite though was the Walmart (Highlands) Tire & Lube express mechanic who told me that I could not enter the store since I had a gun on my side. That was fun. I demanded to see the manager and explained that I was in that store countless times with my gun on, even in view of police and sheriffs officers. He called corporate and apparently (judging from his attitude shift) was told in no uncertain terms to let me in and leave me be. I wish I could have heard both sides of that call.

Since WVCDL initially posted the suit I will leave it to them to post updates.

(Open) Carry On!
Keith
 

luv_jeeps

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
136
Location
Thornton, Colorado, USA
I stopped reading the complaint after the part where the Sgt. tried to unholster a loaded weapon, and then tried to rack the slide to eject the round from the chamber....... IMO, that was completely stupid and dangerous.
 

SgtC

Regular Member
Joined
May 25, 2011
Messages
10
Location
Wheeling, WV
All Too Common

I am amazed at how often Sheriff's officers want to "make safe" my weapon when I turn it in to them at the court house (Washington, PA). If there was EVER a time when a gun would go off, it would be while it is being handled. There are a couple of deputies who just look to make sure the safety is on and put it in the box - that is how it should be done (IMHO)
 
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Dreamer

Regular Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
5,360
Location
Grennsboro NC
Wow...

The incident in that complaint is the most Barney Fife-like display of firearms incompetency I think I've ever read.

I have three questions for you:

1) When is the trial date, and it this trial going to be open to the public?
2) Do you still OC in the Wheeling area, or have you gone to just CCing until this case is decided?
3) Were you or your father running a voice or video recorder during this incident? If not, WHY?


Is there anything I can do to help? I have family in Elm Grove (Sister, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandmother), and visit there several times a year.

I'm a graphic designer with over 20 years experience, a Graduate student in Graphic Design. If there are any sort of displays you might need, please contact me--I'm particularly good with info graphics, floor plans, and even have experience drawing accident scene graphics for LEA training manuals...

I am also the president of my university's "Students for Concealed Carry on Campus" chapter, and I have CC permits in NC, PA and UT. And as you may or may not know, I'm a pretty vocal member here on OCDO, and have testified before the Maryland General Assembly on CC reciprocity, as well as been a radio guest on several talk radio shows in NC on the issues of OC, CC and campus carry.

And since I travel frequently in WV (and lived there for over 25 years total), I know WV firearms law pretty well (not as well as the WVCDL guys, but well enough to speak and write pretty convincingly on it...)

Good luck.
This case appears to be a "slam dunk" in your favor, and I hope you get the courts to put this rogue Police Department in their place. When you win, this will set a HUGE precedent in WV to prevent other LEAs from trying to get away with the same sort of thing. Go get 'em!!!

Next time I'm going to be in the "Grove", I'll drop you a PM, and maybe we can meet for lunch somewhere. If you bring the voice or video recorder, I'll be glad to bring my OC'd ParaOrdnance S-14.45 in a tan Serpa for all to see. I'd like to see them try and draw that, after all the trouble they had with a Fobus... :uhoh:

And if you don't have a voice recorder, maybe you should go get one soon...

Good luck to you and WVCDL!I'm pulling for you--for the sake of ALL OCers in WV, but I'll admit that I have a personal interest in this case, because of my ties to the Wheeling area, and the fact that I OC there several times a year. As an "out-of-stater", I'm particularly concerned with the rights of OCers, and the policies and practices of LEAs in areas where I visit...
 

JimMullinsWVCDL

State Researcher
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
676
Location
Lebanon, VA
I have three questions for you:

1) When is the trial date, and it this trial going to be open to the public?
2) Do you still OC in the Wheeling area, or have you gone to just CCing until this case is decided?
3) Were you or your father running a voice or video recorder during this incident? If not, WHY?
1. The complaint was just filed a couple of weeks ago. We're months--if not years--away from a trial or summary judgment.
2-3. No comment at this time at my direction. I do encourage everyone to carefully read the entire Statement of Facts in the Complaint. Even if you are amazed beyond belief at any given point, there's more--all the way through Chief Metheny practically daring my client to sue (Paragraphs 144-147).
 
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user

Accomplished Advocate
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
2,516
Location
Northern Piedmont
Very well-written complaint. I'm not an attorney in W.Va., yet (the application to waive in is about three inches thick), but if I can be of any assistance, second pair of eyes on a document, or what-not, please let me know.

Btw, have you started doing discovery?
 

jmelvin

Founder's Club Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2008
Messages
2,195
Location
Lynchburg, Virginia, USA
Wow, that is really chilling! Good luck WVCDL and plaintiffs! Please let us know if there is any need for financial assistance in this case.
 
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peter nap

Accomplished Advocate
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
13,551
Location
Valhalla
I just finished reading this and I'd like to congratulate you on this case. WVCDL seems to be on the ball.
A big pat on the back for all involved.
 

Glockster

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2010
Messages
786
Location
Houston
Wow. Just finished (and enjoyed) reading every single page of this masterful pleading. It will be interesting to see what spin they come back with for their response. I do hope that the Chief gets his wish in being ordered by a judge, and I hope that ultimately this becomes a very expensive lesson but from the described behavior I don't know about them learning anything from it.
 

luv_jeeps

Campaign Veteran
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
136
Location
Thornton, Colorado, USA
Good luck to you all. I haven't been in that neck of the woods for a long time......I helped setup and turn-up a call center for TeleTech many years ago.
This seems like a slam dunk to me, but you never know what the courts will do these days.
 

MKEgal

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
4,383
Location
in front of my computer, WI
SgtC said:
Quaker Steak and Lube asst. manager, who saw I was on a motorcycle and had a 7-yr old girl with me told me that they did not mind my having a gun but asked that I lock it up if I was going to drink (apparently it is ok by them to get hammered while on a bike with a 7-yr old sitting on the passenger seat).
:banghead: What an idiot. (Not you, the manager.)
Is it even legal in your state to drink & carry?
(Most states it's legal to drink & drive, to a point. Stupid, esp. on a motorcycle, but legal.)

I was also told by a bank manager in Elm Grove that she did not like guns as they made her nervous.
...I also informed her that although I had a pen in my possession, I did not write on any walls in the bank.
So you have a close enough personal relationship that she shares her feelings with you, but she still doesn't trust you to carry? Or was she being unprofessional by inappropriately oversharing & she doesn't know you? As for what she feels, that doesn't matter. The law (& corp. policy) are what matters.
I'll have to remember that line about the pen.

My favorite though was the Walmart (Highlands) Tire & Lube express mechanic who told me that I could not enter the store since I had a gun on my side.
[Manager] called corporate and apparently (judging from his attitude shift) was told in no uncertain terms to let me in and leave me be.
:cool:
Odd how often hourly-wage employees think they can set corporate policy.
There have been enough incidents with WalMart that they should have sent out bushels of memos by now: if it's legal in your state, leave them alone.
 
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Thundar

Regular Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2007
Messages
4,948
Location
Newport News, Virginia, USA
Good luck!!

The answer does not look good for the PO-lice!

The only reason for the intervention was the firearm, which they claim is reasonable suspicion.

Supreme Court has previously ruled otherwise.

PO-lice sieze (or obtained) and ran the drivers license and permit, they came up clean.

Other PO-lice then seizes handgun, even though he is informed by first PO-lice that possessor is clean. Even under their misguided (I am being kind) belief that presence of the firearm is reasonable suspicion because he might be prohibited, they knew he was clean. Seizure of the firearm was a definate Bozo No-No.

PO-lice have to go down, only question is: How hard? One big disadvantage for plaintiffs is that the US Circuit is the 4th, which I believe to be the most freedom hating, pro JBT US Circuit Court.

I predict the JBTs will try to drag this out for years and will get away with the delaying action.
 
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sraacke

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2008
Messages
1,214
Location
Saint Gabriel, Louisiana, USA
I just finished reading the complaint and all I can say is...WOW. I can only hope that should I ever be faced with a similar situation I am able to find a lawyer willing to put together something similar and be backed by a group such as the WVCDL. Our state OC group, the Louisiana Open Carry Awareness League, is still very small (~20 members) and we aren't even incorporated yet. So far we have not been faced with a situation like this but the time will probably come. I hope we are up to doing as well as you guys in WV.
 

Gunslinger

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2008
Messages
3,853
Location
Free, Colorado, USA
Excellent complaint. The answer was a pile of crap. They're asking for proof. Maybe the dimwit lawyer who wrote it should look up the word "trial." I think you have a slam dunk case. The incredible ignorance of these clowns dealing with a 1911 is mind boggling. A jury trial is just what you want, as well. Stupidity like this should have an audience. Good luck!
 
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