Friday, August 24, 2012

Man Charged as Terrorist for Toy Rifle

evidence
A young man wearing a ballistic vest and military camouflage, armed with a training rifle, two knives and several unloaded magazines, was seen running in the area of two schools.

    William Everett Alemar, 23, was charged with committing a terrorist act and wearing body armor while committing a felony offense following the incident. He is being held on a $50,000 cash-only bond.

    Alemar, who is a member of the National Guard, told police he was out running and jogging with his gear on, which is the way he was taught. Many military personnel run in full gear to build strength and to get accustomed to the weight and feel of the heavy and bulky equipment.

    At about 7:17 a.m., the Martinsburg Police Department received several calls in regard to an individual running and carrying a rifle near the area of Bulldog Boulevard and Raleigh Street in Martinsburg, which is located near Martinsburg High School and South Middle School.

    “One of our primary concerns was that he was sighted in the general proximity or area of the high school on Bulldog Boulevard and we also believe that’s what generated a lot of calls,” Lt. G.B. Swartwood said.

    Officers responded to the scene and located Alemar near the intersection of Silver Lane and Raleigh Street. When Patrolman Michael Jones, Patrolman C.M. Richmond and Patrolman First Class Erik Herb encountered the individual, he was wearing full military desert camouflage and a ballistic vest. He also appeared to be armed with an assault rifle across his chest, which police subsequently determined was an AR-15 training rifle.

    All three officers engaged Alemar at gunpoint and ordered him to his knees to be taken into custody.

    “The subject was then ordered to lie prone on the ground and the officers secured his weapon, an AR-15(M-4) training rifle. The suspect also had two knives and several unloaded magazines, (and) his ballistic vest also contained ceramic panels to make it more bullet resistant,” a police news release said.

    Upon examination the police discovered that the training rifle fires small pellet projectiles and not bullets, similar to an airsoft rifle. He said the rifle is used for training purposes, but looks like a real AR-15.

    Alemar was handcuffed and brought to the Martinsburg Police Department. All of his accouterments and camouflage were photographed upon his person and seized as potential evidence.

    After consulting with the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Alemar was charged with “committing a terroristic act under 61-6-24 subsection (b) and subsection (d) of the West Virginia State Code,”.

    “With him being in that proximity, in that area of the school, we believed that he was causing a significant threat with his actions and his gestures by his own choosing,” Swartwood said.

Come on guys! He had a toy gun.  It wasn’t a real weapon.  He had some empty magazines, and for some added weight he wore his body armor including his SAPI plates, like most Marines and Soldiers train.  Now he is facing terrorism charges? Really?

Look, I think we can all agree that a man jogging near two schools and carrying what appears to be an assault rifle and wearing body amour, is more than enough reason for the police to respond and find out what the heck is going on. But, once they found out who he was and that he was carrying a toy rifle, and didn't even have ammunition for it, that should have been the end of the story. They should have told him to have more sense then to run in that area, scaring the neighbors, and to confine this kind of training to his Nation Guard weekends (for some reason, the sight of 20 or 30 men jogging in those outfits doesn't scare people the way seeing a single gunman running up the street does).

But to charge this young man with felony terrorism charges? That is going way too far. In the end, when all this winds it's way through the judicial system, the good people of Martinsburg are likely to see a big chuck of their tax dollars being paid out in a lawsuit -and when that happens I hope they send 'thank you' notes to the district attorney for a complete lack of common sense.










Live Long and Prosper...

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