I would like to know more about Constitutionalists and how to handle them. You may remember the call in southern Ohio where two brothers wearing ballistic vests had a shootout with the Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Highway Patrol a few years back.
How can I prepare myself to deal with suspects like these?
—D. Patterson, Ohio
Mr. Patterson has an awesome question about a growing issue in law enforcement. What do we do about folks who call themselves Constitutionalists? That seems like such a pro-American name, huh? Odd thing is that these people are so far outside the lines, I’m not sure how they call themselves Americans.
I believe strongly in the Constitution. So strongly that I have raised my right hand and taken an oath to uphold it eight or nine times. Ol’ Bullethead takes that oath seriously, which is why I don’t stand for cops who cross Constitutional lines any more than I stand for crooks out capering.
But let’s look at these Constitutionalists for now. For anyone who isn’t familiar, these people have the belief that they can ignore pretty much all of law enforcement because the Constitution doesn’t mention cops. Interestingly, a lot of them will actually listen to a Sheriff, while others won’t listen to any cops, agents or deputies. Some of the clowns actually issue their own warrants for cops or other public officials for passing laws or enforcing them. A quick Internet search will show a major a shootout between one of these guys, his son and the cops in Ohio. I believe they hit and killed an officer and then went on the run. They were eventually taken in a mall parking lot after a lot of violence.
If you have not had the chance to personally deal with some of these idiots, you should go play the lottery because you are one lucky SOB. My last dealing with one was a few years ago. One of my troops called me and said, “Sarge, I’m not sure what to do here. Should I beat this guy silly or just walk away?” I told him and I’m telling you now that the safety of all officers in every small town and big city relies on every other officer drawing a line in the sand and enforcing that line with any means necessary. That may sound harsh, but it isn’t. Believe me when I tell you I’m more a liberal than all of you but some things are not up for debate and this is one of them.
“If they get no breaks and no slack, they will eventually go away.”
This cop was pretty green, so I told him to sit tight and I hauled ass up there faster than a K-9 chasing a guy running from a rolling stolen. When I got there I had him give me a full brief on what he was dealing with. It was a radio call for some sort of disturbance and this chump was the cause of it. He was breaking a few minor laws and refusing to identify himself to the officer or leave the area. Not really a big deal except for what I mentioned above. He was also reciting the rhetoric of these Constitutionalists: “I don’t recognize your authority.” He even handed a written pamphlet to the officer explaining why he refused to deal with him.
It seemed simple to me, but then again Ol’ Bullethead has been around the block a time or two. I told the cop to be ready to fight and not bother talking anymore because I would tell him when it was time to get to work. I walked up to the guy and explained that his beliefs were fine but that as long as he was standing in the city where I work, the officer and I are the law. I told him he had about six seconds to comply or we would arrest him—using force if necessary—and add that charge to whatever else we were dealing with. He started to puff up and I told the officer, “Grab his right arm and I’ve got his left.” As soon as we stepped forward, the guy folded and complied and we conducted our business. Obviously, this guy was an idiot who wasn’t packing the type of firepower as the father and son gang in Ohio, but the principal applies.
We can’t give these morons an inch. I don’t know their history in Ohio, but I’ll bet it includes some slack. That slack makes the father and son team harder and more ready to act against cops. If they get no breaks and no slack, they will eventually go away.
Got a question or complaint?
Let Bullethead hear about it. He’ll give you his opinion with both barrels.
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