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A gunowners group is protesting the seizure of a legally armed citizen in a bookstore by two police officers who responded to an anonymous caller alarmed by the weapon.
Michael Pelletier was browsing a Manchester, N.H., Barnes & Noble with his wife March 27 when a police officer, assisted by a colleague, suddenly grabbed him by the right shoulder and his holster and pushed him toward the corner of a bookcase, says Gunowners of America.
The Manchester Police Department officers, Chris Byron and David DuPont, ordered Pelletier to place his hands on his head, which he did at once, the group said.
Pelletier was carrying a pistol openly at the small of his back, which became apparent after he took off his jacket.
The officers then disarmed Pelletier and escorted him out of the
store. Background checks revealed no record, but officers and
detectives issued a barrage of questions about why he carries a gun
and what kind of training he had, the gun group said.
Pelletier received back his firearm then reloaded it and put it on his belt, under his shirt. He then went back to the store to complete his purchases.
The group said the police were responding to an anonymous complaint
from someone “alarmed by the sight of a private citizen possessing a
Pelletier’s attorney has been prohibited from learning the caller’s
identity, citing emergency services regulations.
The gun group said: “The cops assaulted Pelletier based on this flawed complaint in spite of what their own eyes revealed to them — a family man wearing his gun openly and legally, peaceably browsing in a
The police, however, claimed it was reasonable for someone to feel
alarmed and threatened.
But the gun group said “the reckless behavior of the cops resulted in a violation of Pelletier’s Fourth Amendment rights and defamed his
character, making a spectacle out of him in public.”
The police department has offered no explanation for the actions of
the officers, Gunowners of America said.
An internal investigation is under way, but police have not disclosed to the public any details.
“We believe the reason for Mr. Pelletier’s complaint being classified as an internal investigation is to allow the police to keep the 911 call and other pertinent information secret from Mr. Pelletier’s attorney,” the group says.
It notes that “as long as the investigation is categorized as ‘internal,’ the RSA 91-A Right to Know law is said not to apply.
“To challenge that determination and interpretation of the law would require Mr. Pelletier to file an expensive and time-consuming
lawsuit,” the gunowners say.