A decorated Air Force veteran pleaded not guilty this morning to a charge of “trespassing with a weapon capable of producing bodily harm,” after being arrested by police in Vancouver, Washington, for legally open carrying an AR-15 rifle.
Last Saturday, Mack Worley, eager to exercise his second amendment, open carried his rifle while grabbing a soda and viewing a fireworks stand before attempting to walk back to his car.
“No one had said anything negative to me. A few people came up to me and asked a few questions about what I was doing and I just explained that I was asserting my second amendment right. I was explaining to people that it’s not against the law or a crime to open carry a firearm,” said Worley.
While walking on a public sidewalk toward his vehicle, Worley noticed an officer waiting down the street in a police car. Worley, assuming the police wanted to speak with him, continued walking down the sidewalk.
“As I started walking to them, I hear on a loudspeaker to my left a police officer telling me to put my hands up,” said Worley.
Worley then noticed as many as seven police officers pointing their guns at him, demanding he remove his firearm. Police also ordered Worley to turn off his cell phone which was recording the incident which Worley refused.
Worley then asserted his fourth amendment right by informing the officers that he did not consent to any searches or seizures of his property.
As police moved in closer, Worley, now fearing for his safety, made the decision to remove his firearm despite the police having no legal justification to demand he do so.
“I asked the officer if was being detained, he said no. I asked him if I had broken any laws, he said no. I asked him if he suspected me of committing a crime, he said no,” said Worley.
In order for an officer to detain and hold an individual, they must have probable cause to believe the individual has or is in the process of committing a crime, which open carrying is not.
Although the officers admittedly had no right to keep Worley at the scene, officers illegally detained him, claiming they needed to “check his firearm to make sure it wasn’t stolen,” despite the seizure of the firearm being illegal to begin with.
Officers then removed all of Worley’s ammunition and threw it on the grass. Worley again demanded to know if he was being detained to which officers again claimed he wasn’t.
The officers finally let Worley go on his way, or so he thought. After Worley collected his scattered ammunition and started to walk towards his vehicle, officers began demanding he go the other way.
Worley then walked back onto the public sidewalk where an officer blared commands over his loudspeaker, telling Worley he would be arrested for trespassing if he did not leave.
Worley then walked towards the only direction he could, the complete opposite direction of his vehicle. The officers immediately swarmed Worley, ordered him to the ground and placed him in handcuffs. Police are claiming that Worley refused to leave.
Another officer immediately grabbed Worley’s phone, which had been recording the entire incident.
“I look over my shoulder and Officer Hernandez is on my phone doing something… I don’t know if she was deleting my recording or not. I don’t have my phone to this point, they took it as evidence against me.”
Once Worley arrived at the police station, officers then demanded he submit to a breathalyzer test or be put in a drunk tank despite having no evidence of Worley drinking.
Worley refused and says he was then denied a phone call, an attorney, water and his inhaler, which Worley is required to use twice a day. After being locked up for roughly four and a half hours, Worley was later bailed out by his wife, who had been searching for him throughout the evening.
Worley has now set up a legal defense fund and plans to file a civil suit against the department if financially able.
“This obviously isn’t just for me, it’s for everyone’s rights. If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” said Worley.
Just last April, a decorated war veteran was arrested while on a Boy Scout hike with his 15-year-old son in Texas, after an officer claimed he was “rudely displaying” his firearm, yet another incident where untrained police were unable to legally handle an open carry encounter.
If you would like to donate to Worley’s defense fund you can visit his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/onthemoveshow