Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wisconsin City Pays $7500 To Woman Arrested For Legal Open Carry

Back in October, I reported on the case of Krysta Sutterfield who was arrested at gun point after wearing her pistol to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brookfield. She was arrested for illegally transporting a firearm despite having her pistol in a zipped case and not on her body. Afterwards, the district attorney declined to prosecute because the officers had no probable cause to stop her and search her car and the charges were dropped.

Ms. Sutterfield and Wisconsin Carry filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin charging her 14th Amendment rights had been violated.

This week the lawsuit was settled with the City of Brookfield paying $7,500 according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and court filings. The city made the offer on December 20th and gave the plaintiffs 14 days in which to accept the offer. The plaintiffs accepted it that same day and judgment was entered on December 30th. The heart of the offer was:
a joint offer to allow judgment to be taken against them in the above referenced action in the total amount of $7,500.00, inclusive of costs and attorney’s fees. This offer is intended to resolve all claims, state and federal, arising from the incident which forms the basis for all claims by Wisconsin Carry, Inc. and Krysta Sutterfield against the above defendants. It must be accepted by both Wisconsin Carry, Inc. and Krysta Sutterfield in order for there to be a valid acceptance. This offer is not an admission of liability on behalf of these defendants, and should not be construed as such.
Despite the settlement, it does not appear that the City of Brookfield won't make a similar mistake in the future if the comments of  Greg Gunta, an attorney for the city, are to be believed.
An attorney for the city said police will still always respond in force to calls of a person with a gun, and if turns out to be an open carry situation, that's just the cost of doing business.

"These are kind of 'gotcha' cases," said the attorney, Greg Gunta. "The courts are being used for a political stage."
Mr. Gunta went on to suggest that if the plaintiffs really brought this case based on principle they should give the money back to the City of Brookfield for "gun education." To think that a city whose police force was so ready to violate the Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights of it citizens could conduct "gun education" is laughable. Whatever use Ms. Sutterfield and Wisconsin Carry find for the money I'm sure will be better than that offered by Mr. Gunta.


  1. If they use it for a fricking kegger it's put to better use than the city would put it.

  2. The City would probably spend it all on a gun "buyback" to further the compelling governmental interest of destroying crime evidence, immunizing criminals, and preventing their victims from defending themselves.

  3. JR, that's not likely.

    The City is fairly conservative (say 65 on a 100 point scale.)

    The cop shop will have to write and execute a different protocol. You DO understand that concealed-carry here is still illegal, and open carriers have only appeared recently.

    Look again at the particulars in this case. Someone called the cop shop and reported a "gun carrying woman." With ZERO open-carry incidents in Brookfield in my 50+ year memory, the cops had to approach as though there could be trouble.

    (Also recall that the last gun-incident in the City was on a Sunday, at a church meeting in a local hotel. That resulted in a couple of fatalities and serious injuries.)

    I agree with those who maintain that AFTER the woman was detained and questioned, the cops blew it. That's why they paid $7500.00.

    Not likely they'll have that problem again, but they're still going to respond with more aggressive tactics than they would to a report of a stolen bicycle.

  4. some justice at least was served