In fact this is the way all encounters should be handled between police and citizens, patiently and deliberately, but unless you’re an armed white man it never does. If you’re black the least you could hope to happen is being assaulted; the most likely thing to happen is you’ll be shot and possibly killed.
On May 4, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officers responded to multiple reports of a man, possibly intoxicated, carrying a rifle along East Cork Street in the city’s Milwood neighborhood. Joseph Houseman, 63, was eventually persuaded to hand over the gun, which was returned to him the next day. Police considered but ultimately decided against seeking a misdemeanor charge of brandishing a firearm.
It is legal to openly carry a gun in Michiganbut illegal to brandish one, which KDPS Assistant Chief Donald Webster described as essentially “waving or displaying the firearm in a threatening manner.”
Police reports and recordings from dash-mounted cameras in patrol cars and body microphones on officers, obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, reveal how officers deliberated over how to enforce the law and protect public safety while respecting the man’s right to bear arms.