Los Angeles County DA's Office Dismisses False Charges Against “Open Carrier” Who Exercised His Right to Remain Silent
Mission Viejo, CA (May 10, 2011) – The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop all charges against “open carrier” Ryan Burbridge and is currently considering whether it will oppose a petition for a finding of factual innocence to clear Burbridge’s record. This dismissal comes in the wake of California Assembly Bill 144, which is currently pending and would ban the practice of “open carrying” in California, leaving whether or not individuals can carry firearm in any way for self-defense to discretionary permits issued by law enforcement. Jason Davis and The Calguns Foundation defended Mr. Burbridge.
On March 24, 2011, Burbridge was charged with interfering and delaying an investigation for in incident relating to “open carry” activities. in January, 2011, Mr. Burbridge was lawfully carrying a firearm openly and unloaded in a holster at the Los Cerritos mall. Burbridge was approached by Los Angeles County Sheriffs, who sought to determine whether the firearm was unloaded. They approached Mr. Burbirdge in a secluded hallway away from the view of any witnesses.
“My client questioned the officer’s choice of not permitting his wife or anyone to witness the check of his firearm due to previous harassment by other law enforcement performing similar checks,” said Burbridge’s attorney, Jason Davis of Davis and Associates. “When the officers prolonged the firearm inspection, Burbridge requested that the officers check the firearm, which they did.”
Once the firearm was determined to be unloaded there was no longer any authority for continued detainment, Davis stated. “When the officers requested my client’s identification, Burbridge informed the sheriff deputy that he was exercising his right to remain silent, clarified that detention was over, and walked away with his family.” The entire incident lasted less than four minutes. After the incident, the deputy obtained Burbridge’s license plate number from his vehicle in the mall parking lot to identify Burbridge. Charges were subsequently filed against Burbridge for failing to identify himself and delaying a police investigation. “In other words,” said Davis, “my client was charged for exercising his Constitutional rights.”
Burbridge’s lawyers obtained the support of The Calguns Foundation and opened discussions with the District Attorney’s office in an effort to avoid an unlawful prosecution. “Though the Calguns Foundation encourages individuals to not open carry in urban areas due to law enforcement confusion on the topic, it defends those who are falsely prosecuted for exercising their rights,” said Calguns Foundation Chairman, Gene Hoffman. “Unfortunately, it is this confusion that will likely lead to the passage of Assembly Bill 144. Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police have the ability to exercise their discretion to issue carry permits in a way that complies with the Bill of Rights. Sacramento County, as well as many other jurisdictions in California, show their respect for civil rights by granting carry permits to all law-abiding applicants. Jurisdictions, like Los Angeles County, who consider the Bill of Rights optional, bring upon themselves additional police work and create dangerous situations for their officers by denying people like Mr. Burbridge the right to carry a firearm subject to background checks and training.”
“This incident really opened my eyes to what The Calguns Foundation is doing to support our rights and how easily law enforcement confusion can turn our lives upside down with the stress and turmoil of being falsely prosecuted,” said Burbridge. “Without the involvement of the Calguns community and my lawyers Jason Davis and Jason Shyres, I do not think that I would have had the same result.”
The Calguns Foundation (·www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving its members through providing Second Amendment-related education, strategic litigation and the defense of innocent California gun owners from improper prosecution. The Calguns Foundation works to educate government and protect the rights of individuals to acquire, own and lawfully use firearms in California.