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Posted: 10/10/2002 9:29:20 PM EDT
[url]http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_1469998,00.html[/url] Pro-gun protester wins lawsuit Cops ticketed driver en route to home of Columbine victim By Kevin Vaughan, Rocky Mountain News October 10, 2002 A self-described "political agitator" who was cited for several traffic violations as he prepared to protest outside the home of a Columbine victim won a $20,000 settlement from two sheriff's deputies in a civil-rights lawsuit. Duncan D. Philp, 45, accused Jefferson County sheriff's deputies Kirk Beaulieu and Donald Estep of violating his constitutional rights protecting him from unreasonable search and seizure and guaranteeing him due process. Philp's attorney, Vincent Todd, also alleged that Beaulieu and Estep pulled Philp over, detained him and ticketed him as part of a concerted effort to deny him and other protesters their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. "In my experience, it's a fairly large settlement for something that started as a traffic ticket for someone that wasn't actually jailed," Todd said Wednesday afternoon as he prepared to pick up a $20,000 check from Jefferson County authorities. Assistant Jefferson County Attorney Patricia Gilbert said officials decided to settle the lawsuit for "a variety of reasons." "We don't admit these deputies did anything wrong," she said. Estep said he could not comment until he had spoken with sheriff's administrators. Beaulieu defended his handling of the situation. "I saw what I believe to be a traffic violation and I acted upon it," he said Wednesday evening. "The judge didn't agree." Beaulieu said he does not believe he violated Philp's rights. "He still was able to do what he set out to do that night," he said. Philp, who has a New Mexico driver's license and a Fort Collins post office box, says he's a resident of Wyoming. He could not be reached Wednesday. The lawsuit stemmed from a protest last Dec. 14 outside the home of Tom Mauser, whose son, Daniel, was murdered in the Columbine library in the April 20, 1999, killings. Tom Mauser joined SAFE Colorado after his son's killing and championed a law requiring background checks at gun shows and called for measures imposing requirements on the storage of weapons. On the day of the protest, members of a group calling itself the Tyranny Response Team planned to gather outside Mauser's home and rally for the Second Amendment. The protesters gathered in a parking lot in the 7500 block of South Pierce Street and planned to march to Mauser's nearby home. Shortly before the protest was to begin, according to the lawsuit, Philp decided to drive to Mauser's neighborhood and make sure some demonstrators hadn't already gone there. As he pulled out of a shopping center parking lot onto Pierce Street, Beaulieu followed and pulled Philp over a short time later. The deputy alleged that Philp hadn't used his turn signal when he pulled out of the parking lot, which is on private property. Beaulieu, who was later joined by Estep, wrote Philp a ticket for making an improper left turn, driving without insurance, driving without a seat belt and driving without a valid license. Philp did show the officers a New Mexico driver's license, according to court documents. However, Estep believed that Philp had lived in Colorado for more than 30 days, meaning that he needed a Colorado driver's license. Philp and his attorney filed a motion in Jefferson County Court alleging that the traffic stop and everything that followed was illegal. Their argument: that state law did not require the use of a turn signal on private property, and, consequently, Beaulieu did not have probable cause and could not legally stop Philp. "The problem here was that the sheriff's deputies were basically clueless," Todd said. "They never bothered to read the statutes under which they made their stop and arrest. They didn't apply." On Feb. 8, Judge Charles T. Hoppin granted Philp's motion to suppress the traffic stop and any evidence gathered from it. On Feb. 25, prosecutors dropped all the charges against him. After that, Philp filed suit against the two deputies in federal court. On Sept. 24, Jefferson County authorities agreed to settle it for $20,000. Although the suit had named only the deputies, Jefferson County taxpayers will foot the bill for the settlement. Part of the lawsuit alleged that the traffic stop was part of a concerted effort by sheriff's deputies to "chill" the First Amendment rights of the protesters. "I don't think there's any question about that," Todd said.
Link Posted: 10/10/2002 9:41:36 PM EDT
I bet one of those cops wrote the "letter" in this thread: [url]www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=148110[/url]
Link Posted: 10/11/2002 7:49:12 AM EDT
BTT
Link Posted: 10/11/2002 8:20:59 AM EDT
However, Estep believed that Philp had lived in Colorado for more than 30 days, meaning that he needed a Colorado driver's license.
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And how the hell would he know that? Dionne Warwick and the Psychic Friends Hotline?
Link Posted: 10/11/2002 8:33:45 AM EDT
"Although the suit had named only the deputies, Jefferson County taxpayers will foot the bill for the settlement." [>:/]
Link Posted: 10/11/2002 8:57:21 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Imbroglio: I bet one of those cops wrote the "letter" in this thread: [url]www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=148110[/url]
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No Shit!
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