Off Duty Arkansas State Trooper Accosts Man Legally Open Carrying; Has Him Arrested After Complaint is Filed

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Drew Tanner, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The video contains lots of commentary, so it’s fairly self-explanatory.

Tanner maintains that he was at a local Walmart in Searcy, Arkansas shopping and minding his own business when he was accosted by a stranger. That stranger was eventually identified as Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn of the Arkansas State Police, although at the time he was off duty, not in uniform, and had not yet provided a badge or police ID. Ziegenhorn also failed to even verbally identify himself prior to physically confronting Tanner, apparently because he was not aware that it is legal to open carry firearms in Arkansas.

After the initial contact, Tanner called 911 to report the incident as he was being followed around the store by Trooper Ziegenhorn. Shortly after, Walmart management asked them to leave the store. Once outside, they were met by officers from the Searcy Police Department. Those officers subsequently determined that Tanner had not broken any laws and released him.

A few days later, after discussing Walmart’s policy on open carry with corporate headquarters (and being told it was not prohibited on their property), Tanner went back to the same store, this time unarmed, to discuss whether he could carry his weapon within the story with the local manager. Before Tanner was able to talk to the manager, Ziegenhorn, who seemingly was following him, also showed up. Tanner was then illegally detained and searched after being handcuffed and removed from the store. During that illegal search his CHCL, which he had legally attained, was stolen from him by Ziegenhorn. He was, however, then released by Trooper Ziegenhorn without any charges or citations being issued.

Tanner then filed a complaint with the Arkansas State Police against Ziegenhorn. About seven weeks later he was arrested in an act of retaliation on a warrant for “obstructing governmental operations.” The basis given for that charge was that he had not immediately indicated to Trooper Ziegenhorn that he had a concealed carry firearms permit (known as a Concealed Handgun Carry License in Arkansas), even though he was not actually carrying a concealed weapon at the time and Trooper Ziegenhorn had not definitively identified him self as a law enforcement officer at that point.

Although he was initially found guilty on that bogus charge in the local courts, Tanner was later acquitted and completely cleared of any wrongdoing on appeal. In spite of that the Arkansas State Police revoke his CHCL in another act of retaliation. He is currently still trying to regain it, over two years later.

(NOTE: There seems to be a fair amount of confusion among police within Arkansas regarding the legality of openly carrying firearms, as evidenced by this previous series of video posts involving a man who was unlawfully arrested for open carrying in Bald Knob, Arkansas.)

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Date(s) of Incident: Nov. 29, 2014; Dec. 04, 2014, Ongoing
Officer Involved: Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn
Department Involved: Arkansas State Police
Department Facebook Page: Arkansas State Police
Department Twitter Account: @ARStatePolice
Department Email: info@asp.arkansas.gov
Department Phone No.: (501) 618-8000
Office of Professional Standards Contact: Lieutenant Paulette Ward
OPS Phone Number: (501) 618-8929
OPS Email Address: paulette.ward@asp.arkansas.gov

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On Nov 29, 2014, I was shopping in Walmart when Arkansas State Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn attacked me, while off-duty and out of uniform, because he didn’t know that it was legal in the state to openly carry firearms. I called 911 on him and was eventually asked to leave the store by management, where we were met by two uniformed Searcy Police Department officers outside.

I was never placed in handcuffs in this incident, nor was my weapon taken from me at any time. I was free to go. However, a few days later I went into the store unarmed after I had discussed the store’s gun policy with their corporate office and was assured that I was allowed to carry in the store, and I wanted to clear it up with the manager. The same trooper was there again, and handcuffed me, took me out to his car and confiscated my Concealed Handgun Carry License (even though I was not carrying at the time).

He then let me go. Seven weeks later, police came to my door with an arrest warrant of “obstructing governmental operations” for the first incident. I was eventually found not-guilty in circuit court. However, the state police refused to return my CHCL (which I fought and lost). I filed a FOIA request to get the incident reports from the state police regarding the second incident, but they DENIED the FOIA request.

I can provide additional evidence of false claims by Trooper Kurt Ziegenhorn that the video clearly contradicts. (Saying I reached for my gun, etc, etc.)

– Drew Tanner

EPN

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Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada CopBlock, Editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official CopBlock Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ If you appreciate Kelly's contributions to CopBlock, consider donating to the CopBlock Network and/or visiting the CopBlock Store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.