Two Sides to Every Story

Last month, Mack Worley posted a video he had taken of an incident involving the police in his hometown of Vancouver, WA. The video begins with Vancouver police officers asking him – with weapons drawn – to put his rifle on the ground. Worley first refuses, saying he doesn’t want to touch the rifle for fear he’ll be shot (indicating that the rifle is slung over his shoulder), then after a second command to put it down he does so.

Throughout the video he maintains he has committed no crime. He refuses to identify himself or give his ID to officers, and does so rather rudely – right before demanding the name and badge number of every officer on scene. In news footage, Worley claims he was merely on a public sidewalk. It sounds like a raw deal, right?

Well, as always, there’s two sides to the story, and Worley doesn’t tell you what led up to the video he posted. This is why I always tell people to give the police the benefit of the doubt when a supposed brutality video is released – there’s almost always more to the story.

According to police dispatch and witness reports, a Burgerville security guard asked Worley to leave because other patrons of the restaurant were afraid of his weapon. Worley refused to leave, causing an employee to call 911. At some point he did leave and went to a fireworks stand next door; the fireworks stand actually closed suddenly because they had a policy about only allowing concealed weapons inside and they didn’t want him coming in. Next, he went to the Big Al’s bowling alley that took up a majority of the property. They also asked him to leave, and he (again) refused. At least three 911 calls were placed before he decided to go on his merry way, and police found him as he was making his way down the sidewalk.

Worley’s claims that he committed no crime are false. He may not have realized it, but he did commit a crime. In Washington state, you are allowed to carry a rifle over your shoulder or a pistol in a holster in the open as long as you’re on public property. However, as soon as you enter private property – whether it’s a residence or a business – the owner or occupier of that property has the right to ask you to either leave your weapon in your car or leave. They set the rules in that situation. In all 50 states, if the owner or legal resident of any private property asks you to leave and you refuse, you are trespassing. In most, if you trespass with a weapon, it’s a more serious offense.

Before I go any further, I should probably voice my opinion that carrying an AR15 to dinner may not be the brightest idea. I am an ardent proponent of Second Amendment rights, however I also believe in tact. We are no longer living in the 1700′s. We now have the technology to carry very small, very powerful firearms concealed so that the sheep in our society don’t lose their minds when we walk through the door. I love AR15′s and plan to buy one as soon as I can afford it (thanks to the popularity and fears over bans, the price has skyrocketed and I’m not made of money). It is my considered opinion, however, that the AR should stay at home when you go out for some casual grub. Call me crazy. Much like your First Amendment right gives you the right to be a jackass and you should probably be wise with your words, you should definitely be wise with what you carry.

That said…Worley started this with his ignorance. It’s unfortunate, but it often takes an arrest to teach someone like him what the rules really are about carrying. If he’d done some research he wouldn’t be facing this now.

To make things even more complicated, Worley’s behavior after being contacted by officers was incredibly rude. Where I come from, if someone asks your name, you give it just to be polite. When you don’t it’s seen as confrontational. Worley, like many other in his brand of this movement, believes he is not required to give his name or his ID because of his Fourth Amendment rights. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Hiibel v Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada that neither the Fourth or Fifth Amendment are violated by a police officer who requires ID – or by a police officer who arrests you for refusing. It’s not an unlawful search or seizure of personal effects to know who you are and where you live.

There’s no reason to refuse to give officers your ID or even just your name.

What’s more is that he immediately insists that officers give their names and badge numbers. When they all point to their name tapes and give him guff, he has the nerve to complain that they’re being rude. He suffers from the mentality that he can be as rude and childish as he wants and officers still have to give him a smile. Sorry…it doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to be rude to others, those people will be rude in return, and you deserve it.

Worley doesn’t have much of an argument here. He claims that he’s on a “mission” to educate people about the Second Amendment. He says, “I want people to know that it’s not illegal to carry.” He says it’s not his fault that people are afraid. He is right about that last part. It isn’t his fault that people are afraid. It is his fault, though, that he trespassed on private property more than once.

To be fair, the police weren’t exactly being helpful when he was trying to get to his vehicle to leave. Rather than yelling at him on a loudspeaker to walk the other way they should have found out where his vehicle was and allowed him to get to it. That is on them, but the rest of this incident is largely on him.

I, and many others, would appreciate it if you would do two things, Mr. Worley. First, make sure you know what the law says before you decide that it’s your job to teach other people anything. Second, learn to be nice.

If this were a genuine case of police violating your rights, I’d be all over it. You did yourself in, though. Time to man up and accept responsibility for your ignorant actions.


6 thoughts on “Two Sides to Every Story

  1. Without knowing what actually happened I would like to point out that the trespassing charges were dropped. So if a security guard (at a burger joint…? Seriously?) Did ask him to leave he must not have testified. Most stores have security cameras, and that evidence -while not audio – would have shown a conversation between this mystery security guard and Mr. Worley. Whatever the case may be, despite your claims of witness reports there was apparently insufficient evidence to even take those charges to trial. Second point, is that the court case you cited is in an entirely different district. Washington state is NOT a stop and identify state. This also goes to provide evidence that the claims of being told to leave are untrue, because Washington state law says you only have to identify yourself if you’re suspected if committing a crime. If, as you claim, people had called in to report trespassing, he would have been forced by law to provide his legal name. (Not show ID) instead, when asked if he was suspected of committing a crime the officers reply with “no”. I fully agree that there are two sides to every story, usually there are even more than that. The cops did in fact violate his rights. They performed an illegal search of his property. They admitted to having no reason to suspect him of a crime, and even let him go after searching his magazine. Getting the serial number and checking if it was stolen is questionable, however it was in plain sight. Emptying the bullets out of the magazine is where they performed an illegal search. They were not in plain sight, nor was it necessary to clear and safe the weapon nor was the exigent circumstances. Ergo, unlawful search. I appreciate your views, and agree that Mr. Worley could have and should have A: avoided the situation all together, and B: been more respectful to the officers who were simply trying to make sure he wasn’t a loon. Perhaps, had he been more polite they would have returned the favor. I do however challenge you to find corresponding court cases in the appropriate district that state that what he was doing was illegal. Also, in the claims if trespassing I challenge you to find actual evidence and not just pass on the word of another (clearly biased) report. As I stated, I don’t know what actually happened before the video started, but the outcome matches more inline with the story Mr. Worley tells than with the claims laid out here. But I’m often wrong. 😉

  2. Law enforcement get far too much credit for the job they perform. There job is very simple, enforce the laws, the basic requirement is to know the laws. If you know the laws and enforce them you will never have a problem. These officers did not know the law to start, if they had known the law there was nothing to enforce. Police have no right to question or harass citizens because they or anyone else is uncomfortable. These officers make all officers look ignorant.

  3. Nice post, Mel. I was not aware of the distinction regarding private property. It’s encouraged me to learn more about my area, especially in light of the comment from “Ante”.

    After watching the video I think Worley cooked his goose by being parked on private property. Not knowing who it was, the officers did say that “they don’t want you on their property” which is the crux of the entire problem. I think I understand that correctly. At that point Worley needed to use his phone to call for a ride, or something.

    Tom – will you please tell me if you really believe this – “If you know the laws and enforce them you will never have a problem?”

    I was watching the video. The questions asked don’t seem any different than being stopped for driving erratically which this seems kin to. What have I missed?

    I agree with you Mel, they could have made arrangements to escort him to his car rather than escalate the problem. Now they gave the gun “martyrs” more, dare I say it, ammunition to be unreasonable in the discussion.

  4. This is where libertarians lose track of reality. The fact that SCOTUS made a ruling on a case out of Nevada does not mean that it pertains solely to Nevada. Any time SCOTUS rules on anything, that ruling sets what’s known as precedent. From now on, any court case about that very subject will be ruled on based on the SCOTUS ruling – meaning that, yes, it will apply by proxy to every state in the Union.

    And yes, seriously. A security guard. If they are employed or contracted by the business in question, they have every right to ask a customer to leave. When he didn’t, guess what? It’s trespassing. Here’s something else you don’t know about: most businesses will decline to press charges in a case like this because they don’t want to run afoul of a portion of their customer base. In many cases, the police have no choice but to arrest the offender even if the manager of said business declines to press charges.

  5. I almost forgot…in Washington State, the law requires during any contact with police that you give your name and address. Then, if you are cited, you are required to show ID.

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