In Michigan, open carry is legal without a permit or a license. Here, a young officer stops a citizen who is openly carrying. The citizen immediately asks if he is being detained and the officer tells him he is not being detained, whereupon the citizen turns to walk away. The officer clearly wasn’t expecting that and orders him to stop, telling him that he is being detained. Thus far there has been nothing to indicate that the officer has any sort of reasonable suspicion of a crime to justify the stop. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 22 (1968); People v. Jenkins, 691 N.W.2d 759, 764 (Mich. 2005); People v. Custer, 630 N.W.2d 870, 876 (Mich. 2001).
Note that in Michigan, the Michigan State Police have issued a legal update that clearly states that the open carry of a firearm is not a crime. Michigan also does not have a stop and ID law, meaning that the officer cannot stop someone and demand identification without reasonable suspicion for a crime.
The officer asks for ID, stating that the citizen may have a “mental injunctive order” or something. The citizen refuses to provide ID, as is his right. See People v. Williams, 234 N.W.2d 541, 545 (Mich. 1975); People v. Rivers, 202 N.W.2d 498, 501 (Mich. 1972). Further, if the officer does not have a reasonable suspicion that the citizen has a “mental injunctive order”, or something, that is not the default position, that the possession of the weapon is illegal. United States v. Black, 707 F.3d 531, 540 (4th Cir. 2013) (“Being a felon in possession of a firearm is not the default status. More importantly, where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot justify an investigatory detention.”).
The officer is obviously irritated by the refusal to provide ID, and wants to know what the citizen’s problem is, that he needs to see the citizen’s ID. He then tries to get the citizen to turn off his own video, and the citizen wisely refuses, citing the First Amendment. At that time (about 2:15 in the video), a second, more experienced officer shows up and tells the citizen that if he doesn’t want to give ID it is OK, he is free to go.
The younger officer looks like he got kicked in the teeth at that point. He does, however, follow the citizen for the next 15 minutes.
From my perspective this is fairly clear cut. The young officer was not prepared nor trained to handle this. He had no idea what he could or could not legally do, and the fact that the citizen stood up for his rights surprised him. He hesitated due to his confusion, which was actually a good thing. Some officers are much more assertive in what they believe their authority is, and would have stepped off into a minefield by making an arrest or taking other illegal actions.
Officers are not used to be confronted in a calm and reasonable way where their authority is being questioned. They don’t like it when it happens. The young officer was also lucky that the more experienced officer showed up, because you could see that the younger one was losing his patience.
That is also the reason that the officer followed him for the next 15 minutes or so (the videos are available at the citizen’s Youtube channel). Had the citizen jaywalked or spit on the sidewalk, the officer would have made contact under the guise of the minor violation.
- 18-Year-Old Considers Civil Suit After Jury Finds Cops Illegally Arrested Him for Openly Carrying Rifle in Mich. (theblaze.com)