From the Washington Times May 23, 2012
Army 1st Sergeant Matthew Corrigan was woken in the middle of the night, forced out of his home, arrested, had his home ransacked, had his guns seized and was thrown in jail — where he was lost in the prison system for two weeks — all because the District refuses to recognize the meaning of the Second Amendment.
This reservist was forced out of his home, not read his Miranda rights because of the guns not registered with the City. Maybe its because his name isn’t David Gregory. This is also not the first time the DC police has gone after a US serviceman. Here is the order of events:
It all started a few hours earlier on Feb. 2, 2010, when Sgt. Corrigan called the National Veterans Crisis Hotline for advice on sleeping because of nightmares from his year training Iraqi soldiers to look for IEDs in Fallujah. Without his permission, the operator, Beth, called 911 and reported Sgt. Corrigan “has a gun and wants to kill himself….” Beth told the cops that, “The gun’s actually on his lap.” The drill sergeant told me he said nothing of the kind, and his two pistols and rifle were hidden under clothes and in closets, to avoid theft. So around midnight, the police arrived at the row house at 2408 N. Capitol Street. Over the next two hours, several emergency response team units were called to the scene, calling in many cops from home…. None of the cops’ documents indicate a threat that warranted a “barricade” and the closure of several streets to create “an outer perimeter that prohibited both traffic and pedestrian access.” With dozens of cops on the scene, they created a “staging area” two blocks away.
First of all I am hoping that “Beth” has lost her job. Corrgian expressed no intention to kill himself or hurt anyone, he asked for advice on dealing with his nightmares. Having served myself and subject to violent dreams once in a while I can understand him seeking help especially after missing 4 and 5 nights worth of sleep. MPD (Metropolitan Police Department) sure seemed a bit over zealous in preparing to talk to Corrigan, but wait, it gets better:
Around 1 a.m., the police knocked on the door of Tammie Sommons, the upstairs neighbor in the row house. Ms. Sommons had lived there since 2008 with her three roommates and, in that time, had become a close friend of Sgt. Corrigan. She had a key to his apartment and often walked his dog Matrix. “I opened the door to this scene with three cops with guns pointed at Matt’s door,” she recalled in an interview this week. “One officer told me that Matt called a suicide hotline and was about to kill himself. I said that was impossible, he wasn’t that kind of guy. I told the police I see him every day and would know if he was suicidal.” Over the next hour, Ms. Sommons repeatedly told the police she was sure that Sgt. Corrigan was merely sleeping. She knew he took prescription sleeping pills because of repeated nightmares from his year in Iraq. The cops wouldn’t listen to her.
“I said to the police, ‘You guys are making a big mistake. He’s not what you think,’” recalled Ms. Sommons. She offered to go downstairs and clear up the situation, but the police would not let her. The officers asked her whether Sgt. Corrigan owned any guns. “I said, of course he has guns, he’s in the military,” she replied. Ms. Sommons had never seen the sergeant’s guns, but she is from a military family, in which gun ownership was the norm. She was truthful with the police because she was not aware the District requires registration of every gun.
Distrust of the citizenry? Surely not. All the SWAT team members had to do was listen to this woman talk about Corrigan and realize that maybe, just maybe they have some bad intel. Oh but that couldn’t possibly be the case, the police always have good information don’t they? They had tons of time to gather information on David Gregory and decided to not prosecute him even though it is an “important law.” It gets even better than this:
MPD told Ms. Sommons that someone had reported that there was the smell of gas coming from Sgt. Corrigan’s apartment. “I told them that there was no gas in his apartment — it was all-electric,” she recalled. “I said if they smelled something, it’s just my roommate who was cooking chicken parmesan. Still, the police refused to accept the simpler explanation. “The cops said we needed to leave our house because Matt was going to shoot through the ceiling,” Ms. Sommons said. “They painted this picture like Rambo was downstairs and ready to blow up the place.”
At 3 a.m., the police called in an EOD unit — the bomb squad. They brought in negotiators. They had the gas company turn off the gas line to the house. A few minutes before 4 a.m., they started calling Sgt. Corrigan’s cell phone, but they got no answer because he turned it off before going to bed. They woke him up by calling his name on a bullhorn. He then turned on the phone and was told to surrender outside.
Wow, just wow. I honestly don’t know what to say about this at this point. Seems MPD SWAT was just looking for a scrap at this point. I can relate from my former military experiences. Now Corrigan is awake and his seeing what is outside his door:
“Matt Corrigan, We’re here to help you, Matt,” the voice said in the darkness. An experienced combat soldier, he assumed a bunker mentality and hid in the dark room.
He turned on his cell phone and a police detective immediately phoned and said, “Matt, don’t you think this is a good time to walk your dog?” The SWAT team outside could obviously see the 11-year old pit bull, Matrix, a rescue from dog fighting, who had been with Sgt. Corrigan since graduate school in Northern California.I’ll come to the window and show myself,” he offered on the phone. Sgt. Corrigan still didn’t know why his house was surrounded, but he knew exactly what he should do in such situations. “I’ve been on the other end of that rifle trying to get someone out,” he explained.He said that the cop on the phone answered that, “‘It’s gone beyond that now.’”
When the police wouldn’t accept Sgt. Corrigan’s word that he was fine, he was forced to leave his home and surrender. When he stepped outside, he faced assault teams with rifles pointed at his chest. He immediately dropped to his knees, with his hands over his head. Officers in full protective gear zip-tied Sgt. Corrigan’s hands behind his back and pulled him up from his knees, forcing him into a large tactical command center called the “BEAR” which was parked at the staging area.
Although police did not read Sgt. Corrigan his Miranda rights, they questioned him inside the tactical truck. They asked the Iraq veteran basic questions about his life from various angles to get him to admit to owning guns. He remained silent about his two handguns and one rifle, which he had not registered after moving into the city. Suddenly a police commander jumped in the truck and demanded to know where Sgt. Corrigan put his house key. He refused.
No warrant? That’s some tough luck and also Corrigan is exercising the 4th Amendment that’d be the one that protects, “against unreasonable searches and seizures, ” and the, “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects….” But it would seem that the 4th Amendment isn’t enough for this particular police commander:
“I’m not giving you the key. I’m not giving consent to enter my house,” Sgt. Corrigan recalled saying in an interview with me last week at D.C. Superior Court after the city dropped all 10 charges against him. “Then the cop said to me, ‘I don’t have time to play this constitutional bullshit with you. We’re going to break your door in, and you’re going to have to pay for a new door.’” “‘Looks like I’m buying a new door,’” Sgt. Corrigan responded.
Well played Sgt. Corrigan, well-played. You can see from the officer’s statement above just how much he desires to, “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States….” It would also seem that David Gregory doesn’t even have to think about things like this because after all, “some animals are more equal than others.” Seems Sgt. Corrigan wasn’t equal enough?
Since Sgt. Corrigan refused to permit a search of his house, the police had to break down his door. The cops, however, didn’t bother to wait for a search warrant before doing so. “They were all keyed up because they had been there and ready to go all night,” surmised Sgt. Corrgian’s attorney, Richard Gardiner. The first to enter the supposedly dangerous apartment was the Emergency Response Team, which secured the dog Matrix and gave him over to animal control, according to police reports. Only then did the EOD personnel enter to search using portable x-ray equipment.
During the “explosive threat clearing efforts,” police reported finding the sergeant’s “hazardous materials,” which included two pistols and a rifle, binoculars and ammunition. The report also details how it took the combined efforts of the police, EOD and the D.C. Fire Department to seize the “military ammunition can that contained numerous fireworks type devices.” These were fireworks left over from the Fourth of July.
Also taken into evidence was what the police described as a “military smoke grenade” and “military whistler device.” This smoke-screen canister and trip wire were put in Sgt. Corrigan’s rucksack in 1996 by his squad leader and had long been forgotten over the years. EOD took custody of the smoke grenade and whistle. The rest of the the materials were handed over to the crime scene search department at 7:30 a.m.
Sgt. Corrigan checked himself into a VA hospital and stayed for 3 days. Upon his discharge he was arrested and finally read his Miranda rights. He spent 2 weeks in jail which was unusual for this type of “crime” because somehow he got “lost” in the “system.” As a result of the experience Sgt. Corrgian hired a lawyer and sued:
Sgt. Corrigan, 35, and his attorney Richard Gardiner appeared before Judge Michael Ryan at D.C. Superior Court on Monday. The District’s assistant attorney general moved to dismiss all ten charges against him – three for unregistered firearms and seven for possession of ammunition in different calibers.