July 14, 2012

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Troy teen calls acquittal in gun case ‘the right verdict.’

A recent Troy High School graduate was acquitted Thursday of all charges in his arrest for carrying a rifle through downtown Birmingham.

A jury in 48th District Court found Sean M. Combs, 18, not guilty of brandishing a firearm and disturbing the peace. Wednesday, Judge Marc Barron issued a directed verdict dismissing a charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer after Combs’ attorney, James Makowski, argued that city attorney Mary Kucharek had not proven that offense.

“I think they came up with the right verdict,” Combs said after his acquittal. “It took them a while, but at the end of the day, I think it was the right decision.” . . .

Combs, the son of a retired Ferndale police officer, said he and a girlfriend had gone to Birmingham to see a movie and had some spare time, so he decided to walk around the business district with the rifle to exercise his open carry rights under Michigan law.

He said he was walking to a parking lot to return the rifle to his car when he was confronted by officers Rebekah Springer and Gina Potts, who demanded to see his identification.

He drew a crowd of teenagers when he refused, prompting the officers to call in another officer, who subsequently arrested Combs.

“It was about freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” Combs said as to why he was carrying the rifle around. “It’s my way of saying what I believe in.”

I hope he’ll follow it up with a lawsuit, and demand proper training on gun rights for the police officers.

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