On February 5th, 2017, open carry activists James Baker and Brandon Vreeland were arrested while trying to make a complaint after being invited to file it by other officers.
Being open carry activists and having the knowledge of the law, James Baker went in to file the complaint open carrying his guns wearing a ski mask due to temperatures being in the 30s. Brandon Vreeland went in carrying just his camera’s.
There is no law against open carrying inside a police department in Michigan, but that didn’t stop the cops from ordering them to the floor at gunpoint, threatening to kill them. One officer can be heard stating, “I will put a round in you!”
Bail was set for Mr. James V Baker and Mr. Brandon Vreeland at $50K and $20K cash surety respectively.
According to Photography Is Not A Crime Dearborn police charged them with resisting, breach of peace and failure to comply and did not return their guns, their cameras and even Vreeland’s car.
Baker was recording on Facebook Live, so video of the arrest survived.
Michigan law allows citizens to open carry except in the following places:
(a) A depository financial institution or a subsidiary or affiliate of a depository financial institution.
(b) A church or other house of religious worship.
(c) A court.
(d) A theatre
(e) A sports arena.
(f) A day care center.
(g) A hospital.
(h) An establishment licensed under the Michigan liquor control act, Act No. 8 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1933, being sections 436.1 to 436.58 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
Another video they live streamed shows they had been pulled over earlier in the afternoon, but Dearborn police did not appear to have had a valid reason to pull them over.
In an interview with Photography is Not a Crime, Vreeland told them, “Someone saw us getting ready to conduct a First Amendment audit. We were gearing up and they called it in. Then the police followed us and tried to get us to let them search the car. I refused and told them to fuck off. Then we went to file a complaint and this happened.”
Before they entered the police station to file their complaint, Baker began live streaming, telling viewers the following: “We felt a little afraid for our lives when we were pulled over so we figure we better protect ourselves,” Baker says as they are walking into the building.
This is not the first interaction with police where Vreeland has had his camera ripped from him without getting arrested. You can read about that here.