Intending to file a complaint, two open carry activists walked into a Michigan police department with one of them wearing a ski mask and strapping firearms Sunday, including an assault rifle, when they were taken down at gunpoint by cops fearing for their lives.
There is no law against open carrying inside a police department in Michigan, but that didn’t stop the cops from ordering them to the floor at gunpoint, threatening to kill them by daring them to make a wrong move.
James Baker and Brandon Vreeland were arrested around 3 p.m. Sunday and released shortly before midnight.
Dearborn police charged them with resisting, breach of peace and failure to comply and did not return their guns, their cameras and even Vreeland’s car.
Baker was recording on Facebook Live, so video of the arrest survived.
Baker was carrying an AK-47 while wearing a ski mask. Temperatures were in the 30s in Dearborn on Sunday. He was also carrying a sidearm.
Vreeland was unarmed but police obtained a search warrant for his car and found his AR-15 in the trunk.
Michigan law allows citizens to open carry except in the following places:
(a) A depository financial institution or a subsidiary or affiliate of a depository financial institution.
(b) A church or other house of religious worship.
(c) A court.
(d) A theatre
(e) A sports arena.
(f) A day care center.
(g) A hospital.
(h) An establishment licensed under the Michigan liquor control act, Act No. 8 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1933, being sections 436.1 to 436.58 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
Another video they live streamed shows they had been pulled over earlier in the afternoon, but Dearborn police did not appear to have had a valid reason to pull them over.
“Someone saw us getting ready to conduct a First Amendment audit,” Vreeland told Photography is Not a Crime.
“We were gearing up and they called it in. Then the police followed us and tried to get us to let them search the car. I refused and told them to fuck off. Then we went to file a complaint and this happened.”
Before they entered the police station to file their complaint, Baker began live streaming, telling viewers the following:
“We felt a little afraid for our lives when we were pulled over so we figure we better protect ourselves,” Baker says as they are walking into the building.
But it almost got them killed.
Put it on the ground or you are dead!” one cop yelled while pointing his firearm.
Then the video goes dark as cops can be heard saying, “I will shoot you!” and “I will put a round in you, sir!”.
Vreeland has set up a Go Fund Me account to raise money for legal fees.
PINAC correspondent Nathan Dimoff contributed to this report.