Here’s what happened. It was a Sunday afternoon about 4 p.m. when Kalamazoo 9-1-1 got several calls from citizens concerned about an intoxicated man with a gun walking around a coin laundry and “stumbling around a little bit and kind of bumping into some stuff” on the street. The police arrived shortly and confronted the man by saying, “Hey, partner, how you doing? Can you set that down real quick and talk to me?” (The officer didn’t have his gun drawn.) The armed man refused to set it down. The officer told him that he was jaywalking and was being detained. At that point the officer radioed that the armed man would not drop the weapon. He tells the man again that he just wants to talk to him and says, “You’re walking around here scaring people, man.”
A second police car arrives at the scene. The man refuses to identify himself and demands to know if he’s free to go and the officer says no, that he is resisting and obstructing, a misdemeanor, for jaywalking and failing to identify himself. The man says, “Why don’t you fucking shoot me?” The officer gently replies, “I don’t want to shoot you; I’m not here to do that.”
This back and forth continues, with the man refusing to give up his gun and the cops patiently trying to talk him down from his position. The whole time he’s rambling about revolution and accusing the cops of being “gang members.” It becomes clear that he has conceived this drunken episode as an “open carry” demonstration. He’s proving to the community how important it is that “good guys” be allowed to carry guns on the street to protect themselves.
Soon 12 police are on the scene, including a supervisor and SWAT negotiator. The street is shut down in both directions. Police recordings describe the man as agitated and hostile and although he is holding his gun at “parade rest” he’s switching it back and forth and fumbling in his pockets for chewing tobacco. After much discussion, he finally agrees to give up the weapon.
Do the police then instantly swarm him and wrestle him to the ground? Do they handcuff him, throw him in the back of the police car and arrest him for the trouble he’s caused? Did he get roughed up or put in a chokehold for resisting arrest and being uncooperative?
None of that happened to this man. The police took his gun and then said he could have it back immediately if he agreed to take a breathalyzer test on the spot. (You can be arrested for carrying a firearm while intoxicated in Michigan if you blow a .08 or above, the same legal limit for DUI.) The man refused. They carried on for a while longer with the man objecting to having his gun taken away even as the police explain that he is free to walk home and retrieve it at the police station the next day. They spar over whether he’s mentally unstable and if it’s a good idea for him to “demonstrate” this way, particularly being hostile to the police. He finally apologizes and leaves the scene without his gun. No charges were filed. Nobody was hurt. He got his gun back.