Embarrassing The Police Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

While they are essential to keeping the public safe and investigating crimes, police officers do not like to be told they are wrong. What’s more, they often react badly when their mistakes are exposed publicly; especially on the internet.

Back in February, Mark Fiorino, a Philadelphia resident — and apparently a law-abiding one — was walking to a store and minding his own business, only to be stopped by two police officers because he was wearing a holstered firearm on his hip. Fiorino has explained that the reason he open-carries a firearm is because several of his friends had been mugged.

What should have been a legitimate query by a police officer, quickly resolved by a civil question and answer, instead morphed into an ugly incident that nearly turned fatal.

In the profanity-laced recording of the incident, you can hear how quickly the situation escalated. Within seconds of police asking Fiorino, “Yo, Junior, what are you doing,” they were pointing a gun at him, yelling at him to get on the ground. Fiorino civilly offered to give the officers his driver’s license and firearms permit, as he tried to explain he was no threat and possessed a valid firearms carry permit; for this, he was told, “You make a move, and you’re going down.”

The officers obviously were misinformed about Philadelphia’s own gun laws. They wrongly told Fiorino he could not open-carry in the city, notwithstanding Fiorino citing to them their own internal directive, which acknowledges that Pennsylvania is an open-carry state, and all that is needed in the City of Brotherly Love for a citizen to exercise that right, is a concealed-carry permit. The directive does allow for police to investigate someone they encounter open-carrying, but it does not indicate they should pull out their own weapon and point it at the gun owner while yelling profanities and threatening to kill them.

Despite making no arrest during the stop and subsequent detention, the Philadelphia police have since issued a warrant for Fiorino – two months after the incident took place – on charges of disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment. A police spokeswoman says that Fiornio “allegedly became belligerent and hostile”; an accusation clearly not supported by the audio recording of the actual encounter.

Fiorino’s only “crime” appears to have been embarrassing the police — who clearly threatened to kill someone legally carrying a firearm — and posting the audio of the incident on YouTube.

This is the latest in a disturbing trend of discouraging or shutting down audio or video recordings of interactions between law-abiding citizens and police. And this is not exactly what is meant by “community policing.”

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

76 comments Add your comment

Dabir Dalton

June 1st, 2011
5:42 am

What more can we expect when voters put dishonest politicians into office who then hire thugs to harass innocent people going about their business.

Misty Fyed

June 1st, 2011
5:52 am

The law cannot dictate when an officer pulls his weapon. An unknown person walking down the street with an openly carried weapon gives the officer reason to believe he is a possible threat. A reasonable person would draw his weapon. After a citizen however has followed procedure and identified himself they should have backed down. As for the officers use of profanity…..that’s just low class. You get what you hire.

Escaped from Email Purgatory

June 1st, 2011
7:40 am

Tough job is being a cop. If you want evidence, just refer to the myriad of incidents typical of the one described here. Many cops are either psychologically unfit for the job in the first place, undertrained or overworked. Any way you cut it, they’re not.

Take the recent three AM dust up at the Buckhead IHOP as an example. When two male cops have to practically call in a SWAT team to get three drunk college girls under control, then there’s something wrong with the way those cops did their job.

In this particular case, the officer slaps a woman before decking her with a right cross.

Clearly, cops use whatever force they deem necessary to bring a situation under control. I guess a reasonable person can argue that’s righteous procedure. So good job officer for cold-cocking a 110 pound woman who was windmilling you with girl punches.

But lets step back a few seconds. Why was the woman punching the cop? Inexcusable behavior – hence the haymaker – but what provoked it? The cop slapped the woman when she touched his shoulder.

A slap is a provocative act plain and simple. If the officer’s intention was to discourage the girl from further obstruction, he failed miserably. If his intention was to gain control of the situation, he failed on an even greater scale as the ensuing melee proved.

And the fact that this officer’s superiors deigned it necessary to give him a public attaboy for his efforts is discouraging to say the least.

Seems there’s a line drawn between cops and the public. They’re always right and we’re always wrong.

DebbieDoRight

June 1st, 2011
8:05 am

Such indignation on behalf of a law abiding citizen Barr! I’m almost impressed!! I don’t recall any of your faux indignation on behalf of Amadou or MOVE or Kathryn Johnston. Perhaps I missed your comments over them. That’s probably it, huh?

Yo.

Publius

June 1st, 2011
8:27 am

When it comes to videoing the cops, I mean, if they’re doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to worry about, right?

David Shivers

June 1st, 2011
8:29 am

While the vast majority of police officers conduct themselves with integrity and decorum, there are unfortunately also those who simply don’t have the appropriate temperament, as well as some who consider their badge a license to bully. Looks like Mr. Fiorino had the bad luck of encountering two in the latter categories.

carlosgvv

June 1st, 2011
8:49 am

The founding Fathers clearly meant “the right to keep and bear arms” was for a military purpose and not civilian. Guns should only be allowed for the military and the police. This would save thousands of American lives every year. Of course, it would cost the gun industry a lot of money and it would mean less bribe money to the politicans so, as always, it’s money first, lives second.

(ir)Rational

June 1st, 2011
8:56 am

carlosgvv – So I guess the Supreme Court got it incorrect when they ruled that that was not what the 2nd Amendment covered? Also, and I’m sure this could go right over your head, if you outlaw the guns, only the law abiding citizens will turn them in. The criminals won’t. They are already living outside the law, as their description says, why would they suddenly decide to turn in the weapons they possess. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Guns are merely a tool.

the watch dog

June 1st, 2011
9:01 am

I know what your thinkin punk, did he fire all 6 rounds. Well, punk I don’t rightly know myself. Do you feel brave, punk, do you, tHIS IS A mAGNUM 50, THE WORLDS most powerful handgun, it could blow a hole in you that you could walk through, well punk, “make my day”!
Now that discourages crime.

LeeH1

June 1st, 2011
9:06 am

With power comes the desire to protect that power. The police divide the world into three races: cops, bad guys and civilians. They should realize that they work for and with the civilians.

Not Blind

June 1st, 2011
9:06 am

The founding Fathers clearly meant……… hhhahhahhahhahahhahahhahahhahhahhhahhhhahhaaahahhahhahhaa

What part of ‘….shall not be infringed.” do you not understand ???

Sorry Carlosgvv if I should dismissive, you’ve clearly earned it.

(ir)Rational

June 1st, 2011
9:11 am

watch dog – If you’re going to quote Dirty Harry, make an effort to get the quote correct.

“I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

(ir)Rational

June 1st, 2011
9:12 am

Not Blind – carlos obviously hasn’t read any of their other writings that promote the rights of civilians to own weapons for self defense and to keep the government in line. If we were completely unarmed, and there was no threat of revolt, how out of line would the government be? I don’t want to imagine that.

Not Blind

June 1st, 2011
9:14 am

LeeH1, there are just as many types of police as there are types of people. Good, evil, smart, stupid, naive, jaded,,,,

azazel

June 1st, 2011
9:14 am

asassins in uniforms

Dr. Humbolt

June 1st, 2011
9:15 am

Guns should only be allowed for the military and the police. This would save thousands of American lives every year.

…and morons should stay quiet and not identify themselves.

Not Blind

June 1st, 2011
9:22 am

(ir)Rational, just look to Mexico. The citizens had their guns taken away long ago. Government, military and police corruption then became unstoppable. Now you have anarchy that is spreading to our states on the southern border. Of course the idiot libs would laugh at me if I tried to enlighten them on the relationship between the 2nd A and our mostly safe and stable society. If not for the liberals own ideas about criminals we could make our society even more safe.

godless heathen

June 1st, 2011
9:23 am

carlosgv: Well you know this blogging business needs to be controlled. The Constitution clearly states that the free exercise of the Press shall not be prohibited. The founding fathers clearly meant professional members of the Press like our own Mr. Bookman, and not commoners such as you and I.

Not Blind

June 1st, 2011
9:33 am

Op ed. IMO open carry is stupid. A guy with a gun will probably have other things a hardened criminal would like to possess along with the gun. The first thing the hardened criminal does is shoot the open carry guy in the back. Then he robs him of his money, credit cards, cell phone AND THE GUN.

If the person is carrying concealed he probably has a better chance of surviving. The perp doesn’t feel threatened so you are less likely to be shot out of hand. Give the perp your wallet and back away and assess the situation.

Concealed carry also means you don’t end up in situations like the one in the article.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

June 1st, 2011
9:45 am

Decent police everywhere will be horrified by the Philadelphia example, stained by the actions of the worst of their genre.

Escaped from Email Purgatory

June 1st, 2011
9:48 am

And there’s hamburger all over the highway in Mistic, Connecticut.

carlosgvv

June 1st, 2011
9:59 am

(ir)Rational, Not Blind, Dr. Humbolt

The Republican Party learnd the tactics of propaganda and brainwashing on the simple from their corporate sponsors in the Advertising Industry. You three are definitely poster children for the results of their efforts. This site clearly is way over your head. Might I suggest you to to Issues and The Nancy Grace Show. There, you will get a generous dose of the tabloid trash your limited mentalities can understand.

dougmo2

June 1st, 2011
10:39 am

carlosgv

Are you okay with a society in which the government and police are the only ones allowed to have guns? If so, you should move to such places as Cuba or China. Or, if so inclined, make a time machine and transport yourself to the Soviet Union in the 1950’s or Germany in the 1930’s. I read great stories about their freedoms and how wonderful it was back then.

Dr. Humbolt

June 1st, 2011
10:41 am

The Republican Party learnd the tactics of propaganda and brainwashing on the simple from their corporate sponsors in the Advertising Industry.

The only brainwashing is with simpletons like you. Your explanation for anything you disagree with is corporate bribes. Go back to your play pen until you have an original thought. And don’t forget to turn in your gun, peon.

Dr. Pangloss

June 1st, 2011
11:02 am

Open carry puts the cops in a bind. It’s a legal to open carry in some states, but how do they know whether the open carriers are legit or not? It’s a pretty edgy situation for them.

In Iowa, they recently passed open carry, then the police said, “Hey, wait a minute. This means that every time we make a traffic stop, the stoppee could legally have a gun sitting on the passenger seat. Wouldn’t be any trouble at all to pop the cop when he steps up to the car window.”

It’s not good judgment to make a policeman nervous.

kimmer

June 1st, 2011
11:10 am

misty fred @5:52 what percentage of people openly carrying a firearm would you say are doing so legally? I would put it at near 100% for obvious reasons thus an unknown person openly carrying a firearm (undrawn) should not lead a reasonable person to draw his or her weapon as you assert.

Not Blind

June 1st, 2011
11:21 am

Kimmer, a smart cop would know this and there not be a problem. Stupid cops on the other hand would not be able to make this connection.

Not Blind

June 1st, 2011
11:26 am

Carlosgvv, at least Forrest Gump knew he wasn’t bright. You haven’t figured it out yet and probably never will. Anybody that would actually read the 2nd A and decide what it meant by what the words say would have to come to conclusion that the Supreme Court has come to. On the other hand, your typical liberal fails -reading with comprehension- and needs less stupid liberal to tell them how to think.

SaveOurRepublic

June 1st, 2011
11:31 am

Ah yes…good ol’ “Filthadelphia”. What’s the benefit of following the legal procedure of obtaining a carry license + permit, etc. when the police are going to treat you like a criminal anyways. Kimmer makes a good point (above)…you’d think police would be less apprehensive w/ someone with a holstered firearm…then with someone that could have one hidden.

Forrest Gump

June 1st, 2011
11:51 am

Not Blind…I resent you comparing me to Carlosgvv. I am shonuff smarter than he is…even with my left arm tied behind my back. I resent that comparison as an insult to my dignity. And so does Jenny.

J. Wellington Wimpy

June 1st, 2011
12:36 pm

Kimmer makes a good point (above)…you’d think police would be less apprehensive w/ someone with a holstered firearm…then with someone that could have one hidden.

kimmer and S.O.R. ; so if you were a police officer the both of you would be content to go into a poor neighborhood, (let’s say black or mexican — good scapegoats); responding to an emergency call with a crowd standing outside as onlookers and find that 95% of the onlookers of that neighborhood have weapons openly holstered? Now let’s say since it’s a black or mexican neighborhood that there is a good chance that there may be some criminal elements in the crowd who might not like cops, you still feel comfortable? You want to bet your life on the fact that since their guns are openly holstered that they’re “legal”? If so, I’d take that bet.

I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today…..

Jefferson

June 1st, 2011
12:46 pm

Ruby, don’t take your guns to town…

Escaped from Email Purgatory

June 1st, 2011
12:49 pm

A tough job it is being a cop. Tougher still it is to be a good cop. Incidents involving bad judgement, overreaction and downright abuse of authority by police officers happen all too often these days – with some captured on video for all of us to see.

Look at the Buckhead IHOP incident last month for an example of the dubious conduct of some Atlanta cops and the “us-against-them” mindset of their superiors.

Two male officers caused a near riot while trying to control three rowdy college girls. A simple “Keep the noise down or leave” edict turns into a prolonged struggle by an officer to restrain one girl he deemed worthy of arrest. Enter the silly, drunken woman who comes to the aid of her friend – initially just to plead with the cop for her release.

In response to a subtle violation of his person (the girl touched his arm) that occurred early in their exchange, the cop deems it necessary to SLAP her. At that point, IHOP patrons are subject to the spectacle of the now-provoked drunk windmilling girl-punches in the cop’s general direction. That’s followed by his subsequent haymaker to her face and a body slam that ultimately subdued her.

I guess a reasonable person could claim that the cop’s rough treatment was righteous. Cops often justify excessive force as acceptable force necessary to gain control of a situation.

But back up a second. Why was the girl punching at the cop in the first place? Because he slapped her. A slap, plain and simple, is a provocative act. The cop’s unprofessional reaction led directly to the fracas that followed. Heck, another reasonable person could claim the cop caused the fracas by his actions and that none of the violence would have occurred at all were it not for his ham-handed tactics.

Of course the APD review of the incident concluded that the cop’s behavior was appropriate. That, in my opinion, betrays the general, systemic contempt cops have for the civilian population.

Of course, once the thin blue line is accused, they circle the wagons and absolve all but the most egregious offenses.

BS Aplenty

June 1st, 2011
1:16 pm

You know my parents were like that, too. When one of them would make a seeming mistake in judgement, say, and then discipline the wrong sibling (not me, I ne-e-e-evah got in trouble…). Good ole Mom and Dad would simply circle the wagons, claim parental license and cover each other’s back. I never did figure out the need for that “parental license” until I becommae a parent.

I don’t claim to know the scope of all the shite that a normal cop deals with every day but in the ebb and flow of cop-life, I’d give the cops some leeway in exercising their judgement. They rarely deal with the righteous and holy of society. Mr. Fiorino is unharmed, still armed and has had his say on You Tube. Case closed.

Jimmy62

June 1st, 2011
1:41 pm

CarlosGV, you obviously haven’t read The Federalist Papers or other things written by the authors of the Constitution explaining their reasoning.

Plus, you seem to be anti-freedom. Move to Europe if you don’t like it.

Snafu

June 1st, 2011
2:03 pm

You have good cops and you have idiots who should never ever carry a badge but should be behind bars period. The problem with many of these egotistical maniacs is they have been shunned as a child and they feel they are above the law when they carry a badge and gun. That same person would be a coward otherwise. Now the problem lies with the Police Chiefs, Sheriffs and the people who allow this crap to go on. These bad cops are not above the law and sometimes people will react to those bad cops in a very lethal manner. Sometimes its the good cops who fail to police their own who end up a victim while the crooked bastards is still alive in uniform and continuing to put others in harms way.

When will the public say enough is enough with these bad, crooked cops and police departments. People fail to realize they have more power than these cops when in numbers. They can’t shoot everyone. Many police departments are so corrupt and are revenue collectors. Just take a look at what Kasim Reed is proposing..as he indicated they NEED REVENUE..which is not what the police is for.

mpercy

June 1st, 2011
2:07 pm

It seems to me that carlosgv has made the same comment before…

A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.
— Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1785. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them.
— Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;
—Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. Memorial Edition 16:45, Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
—Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776.

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
—Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
—Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
—James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46.

Very Very

June 1st, 2011
2:10 pm

I once tried to make a citizen’s arrest on a woman openly carrying two .38s. She didn’t have a permit. She was also carrying a gun. She did have a permit for that. What ensued was video-taped and the whole thing went viral and now the people who produce the “Girls Gone Wild” videos want to buy the rights.

What would the fondling fathers do? I hate 2B a sellout, you know?

Hillbilly D

June 1st, 2011
2:35 pm

One time I was sitting in a restaurant eating. There were some guys sitting at the counter, apparently a work crew and their boss, eating their lunch and all of a sudden several deputies come in. They grab one guy at the counter. The guy, who appeared to be the boss, turned very calmly to one of the deputies and asked, “What’s going on?” The deputy, in a very loud voice, responded, “You wanna go too?”. This guy was either poorly trained or in the wrong job.

The overwhelming majority of people in law enforcement are good people, trying to do a difficult job well but there are those who have no business, to be in a position to have power over other people.

voicelesscontra

June 1st, 2011
3:02 pm

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://GoGetBids.com

Just Facts

June 1st, 2011
3:26 pm

Dr. Pangloss, the recent law passed in Iowa had absolutely zero to do with Open Carry. All it did was take Iowa from a “May Issue” state to a “Shall Issue” state. Open Carry has been legal in Iowa for years.

Dr. Pangloss

June 1st, 2011
4:21 pm

Just Facts, you’re using the wrong screen name. Iowa activated an open carry law on January 1, 2011.

See http://goo.gl/c0Nwy

TruthBe

June 1st, 2011
4:24 pm

Law enforcement has been abusing it’s power thru-out America for decades. The country has become a “Police State”. Just look at the jackbooted thugs in the federal law enforcement agencies. ATF, CIA, IRS, FBI, NSA, HSA, TSA, Secert Service, Justice Department. Just ask the folks in Waco and Ruby Ridge. Shoot back is that the answer???

Very Very

June 1st, 2011
6:32 pm

This incident is worse than when Der Heetler unt his frauline Teetler took all the German People’s civil rights away and started world war two, man.

SaveOurRepublic

June 1st, 2011
7:13 pm

J. Wellington Wimpy @ 12:36 PM (6/1/11) – No sir…if I was an officer, my “comfort level” would vary based on surroundings & element(s). If I was in a high-crime area, I’d be more guarded & alert, etc. Common sense & street smarts go a long way…for everyone.

TruthBe @ 16:24 (6/1) – Well stated regarding the police state. In my estimation that’s been in the cards for a long while (in conjunction with the (intentional) destruction of the middle class & erosion of our sovereignty). The answer should be defense of the Constitution, but far too many of the pawns on “Cr@pitol sHill” don’t adhere to such (sans rare patriots like Dr.Ron Paul).

GB

June 1st, 2011
7:21 pm

At the end of the day the city will have to pay this young man a lot of money.

poison pen

June 1st, 2011
8:49 pm

Bob,Why is Bookmans name in front of your blog??? is that devil everywhere.

Ted

June 1st, 2011
8:52 pm

I’m really getting tired of reading about crooked, corrupt, criminal or thug cops making news for themselves. I hope this guy sues the pants of those thug pieces of dog squeeze. I’d really like to see some stats of the percentage of cops who fit one of the the profiles above compared to the population as a whole.

Enemas for Easter

June 1st, 2011
8:53 pm

Happens here……Police mistakes with no concern for the innocent citizen. Guilty until we can’t prove anything,

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/man-wrongly-arrested-for-963866.html

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama, BEND OVER, here comes the CHANGE!

June 1st, 2011
9:16 pm

You get what you pay for.