Federal Lawsuit Over Philly Open Carry Incident

The federal complaint can be found here. The media story about the lawsuit is here. I’ve read over the complaint. In addition to suing over the February 2011 incident last year, he’s also suing over two prior incidents with the Philadelphia police. He’s suing up the chain of command to reach Ramsey, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner. Section 1983 doesn’t just allow you to sue the individual officers, you can sue all the way up the chain to anyone responsible for overseeing and training officers. The agents of the PPD are being sued in their individual capacities, which means the plaintiff here needs to overcome qualified immunity. If successful, he will be able to recover damages. This is looking like it’ll be an easy case here:

60. During discussions with PPD Internal Affairs Sergeant Maria Cianfrani (Badge #8704), which occurred after Mr. Fiorino filed a written complaint with Internal Affairs relating to the Second Incident, Sergeant Cianfrani specifically stated to Mr. Fiorino that what happened to him with regard to the First and Second Incidents was “outright illegal.”

61. Sergeant Cianfrani also admitted to Mr. Fiorino that the Policy was illegal, and admitted that the officers involved in the First and Second Incidents were following the Policy when they detained Mr. Fiorino and when they confiscated his firearm, magazines and ammunition.

Even better:

Furthermore, in a May 18, 2011 radio interview with Michael Smerconish, which aired live on 1210 AM WPHT Philadelphia, Commissioner Ramsey admitted that at the time of the three aforementioned incidents, PPD officers were not aware that open carry was legal with a valid LTCF and that training on the issue was necessary and would be given to all officers.

The lawsuit asks the court to enjoin the city from confiscating firearms unless a crime is committed, and unless it’s necessary for an investigation. It would be a huge victory for everyone if such an injunction is forthcoming from the court. It also asks for damages and attorneys fees from each of the defendants. The complaint is rooted in the 4th Amendment rather than the 2nd. That’s a good thing here. His 4th Amendment rights are what was violated.

15 thoughts on “Federal Lawsuit Over Philly Open Carry Incident”

    1. @David, its the state branch of the ACLU, not the national one. Still a good first step.

      Also, reading through the complaint, the PPD seems like a bunch of morons and I can’t see how they’ll defend themselves against this, especially the admission that they arrested and charged the guy because he posted something on youtube.

      1. I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with the PPD. They are the biggest bunch of jackwagons you’ll ever meet. The avg street cop has an IQ that is borderline retarded.

  1. Is anyone even remotely surprised the city of Filthadelphia is involved here ? Good Lord everything about this town reeks of Anti-Americanism and total disregard for common sense. I must also be brutaly honest, that 9 out of ten times that I comment on this website, Philly is the subject. I say we sell Philly to New ersey for a dollar, Be gone Philly, your welcome has worn out !

  2. “I say we sell Philly to New ersey for a dollar, Be gone Philly, your welcome has worn out !”

    I don’t think that’s a good idea, it gives the Gestapo State Police in NJ a foothold on our side of the river. It’s bad enough there are bridges connecting us to NJ as it is……

  3. I think that a fair settlement is that Fiorino gets $50K plus lawyers fees and one free kick in the nuts to everyone from the patrolman all the way up to the Mayor.

    We should be fair, Fiorino should be allowed to rest at least 5 minutes between each time he kicks the next person in the nuts. He should be allowed to enjoy them writhing on the floor like they wanted him to.

    1. Sean, i agree with the last part of your ‘fair settlement’, but I believe that the first part needs to be ratcheted up significantly.

      50 large to a big city like Philly is a rounding error …

      1. How about $500K and TWO kicks to the nuts for each one? One now, and one more at a later date?

        That’d make them all spend the rest of their lives living in fear that today might be the day that Fiorino would suddenly appear and apply the second kick.

        Kind of like they want us to fear the sudden appearance of an out of control anti-gun cop.

        Let the punishment fit the crime, I always say.

        1. Well, look at it this way; the first kick came in the cops being held accountable for behaving badly. The second will come when they’re punished for doing so.

  4. In light of the SCOTUS McDonald v. Chicago decission he should also sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since Cities of the First Class have different open carry rules under state law. This is a violation of the “equal protection” provision of the 14th Amendment.

  5. The damages will be proportional to the harm. In the case of stops of 15 minutes, that’s not much of a big deal. The damages for the harm to reputation by the false charges could potentially be much larger.

    The big win for us would be to get an injunction. The city has been taking guns unlawfully for a while, and a federal injunction against the practice would mean anyone who violates it is in contempt, and could go to jail.

  6. You should read up on Maria Cianfranni’s backround. You’ll be shocked. It’s public record in Philadelphia’s court records. It’s amazing she ended up at Internal Affairs investigating complaints regarding police misconduct.
    She helped get someone convicted of falsely swearing against the police about ten years ago after they went to IAB to make complaints.

  7. I have those records if you’re interested in reading them. She was found liable for civil rights violations, yet got to keep her job, advance to segeant, and then got assigned to the Bureau of Internal Affairs.

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