Gun rights group claims Detroit police improperly arrested man for open-carry; protest planned

PoliceGun080914.JPGMLive – by Gus Burns

DETROIT, MI — Hell’s Saints, an activist organization of gun rights activists, claim Detroit police improperly arrested member Elijah Woody for legally and openly carrying his handgun.

The organization is now planning a march to protest the arrest. They’re asking supporters to meet at the Family Dollar store, 19737 Mound in Detroit, at 2 p.m. Sunday with “flags, banners, signs, sidearms, battle rifles, cameras, water and a will to protest injustice.”  

The plan is to walk from the business to the Detroit Police Northeast Precinct, where the officers who arrested Woody are based, they say.

“This past weekend, an experienced open carrier, Elijah Woody, was arrested while open carrying his handgun only in Detroit,” Hell’s Saints posted to their Facebook page Tuesday. “This activity is of course legal in Michigan and not at all an unheard of occurrence.”

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office confirms a warrant was signed Monday charging Woody with illegally carrying a concealed weapon. He is due back in Wayne County’s 36th District Court Sept. 25 for a preliminary exam before Judge Ronald Giles.

Hell’s Saints say Woody previously “walked through Royal Oak, MI, a predominately white suburb, with an AK-47 variant in July and had no police contact.”

The group alleges racial prejudice in the Detroit arrest. Although participants are urged to record all of their interactions with police, there is no video of Woody’s arrest, Hell’s Saints said.

Hell’s Saints are known for strapping rifles to their backs and handguns to their sides, which they then openly display while walking through public streets.

The hope, they say, is to educate the public — and police in some cases — that it is legal in Michigan to openly carry legal firearms. In fact, someone who does not have a permit to carry a concealed weapon must openly carry their guns.

In a recent video posted to the group’s YouTube site Sept. 2, members are seen walking through Detroit near the Packard Plant. Along the way, interactions with sometimes-confused or concerned citizens and police are recorded, usually ending with a mutual understanding that the participants mean no harm.

MLive Detroit confirmed the arrest of Woody with police, but is awaiting comment from the department and word from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office regarding charges.

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