A video is making the rounds that captures the mistrust many Americans have for their government, while highlighting what police are up against in trying to do their job.
The real question here being, is this a question of harassment or due diligence?
In the clip, two men identified as Virginia state police officers are questioning a man about a recent trip to the state’s capitol building in Richmond.
Tensions are high in the city ahead of Monday’s rally by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a pro-Second Amendment group with a history of advocating for the rights of Virginians to keep and bear arms.
The group is planning a “Lobby Day” to advocate against several gun control bills being considered by the Democrat-controlled state legislature, as rumors swirl over the threat of violence from militia groups, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
Citing law enforcement intelligence, Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said that “armed militia groups plan to storm the Capitol” and declared a temporary state of emergency that includes a ban on the carrying of weapons at the gun rights rally.
The man being questioned by the state police was not a Northam fan, by no stretch.
“I understand we have an unconstitutional, Second Amendment *sshole governor who is taking away our rights,” he told the officers, when they mentioned Monday’s rally.
One of the officers then explained why they were there.
“The reason that we are here is we got a tip that somebody was coming down to the Capitol, and there was video footage of you at the Capitol, walking around the Capitol, which appeared to be checking into structures and just seeing — just getting a general surrounding of the Capitol and seeing what’s going on, knocking on pillars, most likely to check densities, who knows.”
“We got a tip and we’re following up on some leads,” he added.
The comment prompted a loud chuckle from the man, who proceeded to explain that he was knocking on the pillars because they’re actually trees that were plastered and as a builder, he was interested in how that was done.
He proceeded to explain why he was in Richmond.
“I walked the capital, as a free citizen and a free man, because I’m going to attend the rally. And because I wanted, for my safety, to know the surroundings,” the man said. “You two are a fine representative of what’s going on here now, you have driven over a hundred miles to harass a citizen on his front porch in Northumberland County based on a tip, which is exactly why these red laws are so bad — these red flag laws.”
An officer responded to say that it “wasn’t just a tip.”
“There were many law enforcement officers present that day — and have been for a while — and what they saw was what appeared to be pre-operational planning,” the officer continued.
This enraged the man, who told the officers that he’s “an intelligent American citizen who is situation-ally aware of what a piss-poor job that y’all will do with my security” at the event.
State Sen. Amanda Chase, a Republican, warned gun rights supporters that they are being “set up.”
“Sadly, I am posting this, knowing that the Governor of Virginia has declared a State of Emergency in our state,” Chase wrote on Facebook. “I want you to be aware of how we are being set up.”
Chase said Northam was using the media to “set the stage” should outside instigators cause things to spiral out of control at the rally, having already “laid the groundwork to make the entire movement look like insurrection.”
The questioning of the man above went on for some time. Here is a longer YouTube video of the encounter:
The incident prompted plenty of commentary online, with strong opinion on both sides of the issue. Caught in the middle are well intended police officers.
Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
Tell them to get the fuck off your property!
— Anita (@Anita30997593) January 20, 2020
Seriously? They were following up on a tip. That is there job. What if they got a tip and didn’t follow up and people were hurt?
Do any of you understand that police officers are HUGE 2nd Amendment supporters?
— ?♀️ Mrs Stacey ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Piglet_scooter) January 19, 2020
This is bad..Virginia is the test drive. This man is being harassed. Asshats.
— MzzRedfield2.0 (@mzzredfield2) January 19, 2020
Intimidate? Sounds like they were doing their job. Casing a government building is always going to look suspicious and it’s law enforcement’s job to follow up on credible threats. I bet if this man had been a POC you’d be fine and dandy with the police questioning him.
— David Wilson (@dave94704999) January 19, 2020
I believe in backing the men and women who wear the blue. But this is such bullshit antics created by this Democratic Gov. too purposely harass free people who have the right to go anywhere they wish. What’s next the SS and Brown Shirts showing up putting people on trains?
— Mark Anthony (@Markanthony0855) January 19, 2020
This is really sad. Hard to back the blue when folks like this are out there. If cops that day were concerned why didn’t they confront on the spot? How did they find this person??
— SouthernBelle ❤❤❤ (@BoenShane) January 19, 2020
Minority Report in real life! It’s unbelievable that we as Americans are at this point. Tyrannical governments and their evil dictators love what the left is doing to America!
— Goonielov (@cintary1) January 19, 2020
LOL “we got a tip”, first time see something say something worked and it’s complete nonsense. FYI those who promote Red Flag laws, this is what will transpire. Someone saw something or heard something, because they dont agree with you or something you stand for.
— Footy Fun (@itsadoodleparty) January 20, 2020
This so-called threat at the protest by 2nd Amend supporters is absolutely bogus. There would be no more self-defeating act than illegal gun violence at this event. This is being made up out of whole-cloth by the governor to tar and feather the law abiding, legitimate protest.
— Malmo (@61JZ) January 20, 2020
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