Intimidation or due diligence? Man records cops at his home after he visited site of Virginia’s pro-2A rally

Screengrab Twitter

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.

https://twitter.com/MichaelCoudrey/status/1218990542320570368?s=20

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:

Tom Tillison

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