Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nassua county firearms dealer win suit

The story starts here:  Notes in RED are mine comments~bpb



What Was Really Behind Nassau County’s Gun Store Raids?

12/8/11 EDIT: Here’s a recent update on the case.

Nassau County raided four Gun Shops in a $80,000 tax-payer funded sting operation on Wednesday. The owners and employees were arrested and charged with selling illegal “assault weapons” to undercover Nassau County investigators.

All of the owners insist that they were following the law. Martin Tretola, the owner of T&T Gunnery, was captured on undercover video demonstrating how to hypothetically alter a rifle by removing the pin to make a fixed stock collapsible, but he clearly explains that the weapon is “law enforcement only”, and added “you take that pin out, I’m telling you, you’re in trouble with this gun.” Tretola was charged with criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree, a class B Felony, and a misdemeanor charge of firearms licensing provisions. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

But there’s more to this story than most are reporting. In 2008, Martin Tretola filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit in federal court against Nassau County for violations of his constitutional rights. The County was unable to dismiss the lawsuit, and it is scheduled for trial soon. Right before the jury is selected is an awfully convenient time for another raid and arrest.

The History:

According to Tretola, in March 2006, Tretola received a telephone call from a Police Officer Faltings from the NCPD. Officer Faltings ordered Tretola to turn over possession of a particular firearm to a friend of Officer Faltings without the purchase documents for that particular weapon. Tretola denied Officer Falting’s request, at which point Officer Faltings allegedly responded “Do you know who I am? I am the head of the Pistol Licensing Bureau of Nassau County.”. Tretola responded in words or substance that “I do not care who you are or what you are. What you are asking of me is against the law and I will not do it.”

Shortly after the telephone conversation, the two men met in person at police headquarters. During the meeting, Officer Faltings stated “when I ask for something you need to do it”, and further stated that if Tretola didn’t do as he asked, he would strip Tretola of his license to sell firearms. Tretola refused.

On May 9, 2007, Officer Faltings and five police officers orchestrated a massive raid involving the Nassau County Fire Marshal, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF), the Town of Hempstead Building Department, and the Nassau County Bomb Squad. The raid was conducted without a warrant, and was completely beyond the purview of the Nassau County Pistol Licensing Bureau. Despite the failure to discover illegal activity, the Nassau County Police seized many weapons, and Martin Tretola was arrested for Reckless Endangerment. All charges were later dismissed. Tretola’s seized inventory has not been returned.

Shortly after the charges were dismissed, Officer Faltings arbitrarily suspended Martin Tretola’s licenses, including his pistol license, dealer’s license, and gunsmith license. His store was temporarily shut down, causing massive financial harm. Eventually, Tretola was able to restore his licenses, and he filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Nassau County.

Nassau County made several attempts to have the lawsuit dismissed, but were unsuccessful. In December 2010, the matter was marked ready for trial, and is currently awaiting a trial date. Jury selection will be scheduled soon.   Epic failure and they all keep their jobs!   http://www.longislandexchange.com/articles/news/nassaucountyloses-082012.html  


News: Nassau County Loses $5M Lawsuit

(Long Island, N.Y.) The courts sided with the owner of a gun shop on Merrick Road in Seaford in a $5 million suit against Nassau County. The decision was upheld Wednesday in a Central Islip federal court. The $5 million was broken into $3 million compensatory and $2 million punitive damages.

The suit had been filed in 2008 and the owner was represented successfully by an attorney from Lake Success. According to reports, he owned a second gun shop in New Hyde Park and was arrested in June of 2007. The charge, which was later dismissed, was for reckless endangerment in the case of having a gun range inside his shop.

Conflicting information was presented about the charges. Some sources claimed that the gun range was a legal bullet trap and used to safely absorb bullets and scattered shards to conduct tests. Nassau County contests the verdict and claimed to have had a legally-sound probable cause for the arrest.

Ultimately, the courts decided in favor of the owner, who claimed wrongful allegations were made against him. Reports stated that a specific police officer, who still works in the pistol license section, was targeted in the suit. It was said that the arrest was related to a firearm issue between the gun shop owner and a friend of the officer.
Other sources claimed that the arrest was not a result of police harassment, stating that the gun shop owner had been selling illegal weapons. Charges including Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree, Unlawful Disposing of an Assault Weapon, and a misdemeanor violation of the Firearm Licensing Provisions were filed with a possible fifteen-year sentence. The business was charged with both first and second-degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm.

The gun owner's license was suspended and later restored. His attorney argued that the business suffered from stigma associated with the arrest. An estimated nine-hundred guns could have been sold, as part of a figure pulled from sales of the previous year.

Another argument in the suit was that police didn't check to see that the natural gas line located near the shop had been disconnected for decades. Amidst of all the charges against the gun shop owner, possible penalties included a $10k fine and double what the company allegedly gained by illegal means. The gun shop owner's son, an employee from Bellmore, faced two counts of Manufacture, Transport, Disposition, Defacement of Weapons and Dangerous Instruments and Appliances.

Three other employees from West Islip, Oceanside, and North Babylon were also affected, the youngest of whom is in his twenties. According to reports, the gun shop owner is ready to get his life together. Some followers of the case claimed that the suit's outcome had more to do with the courts aiming to send a message against police harassment.

For now it ends here & naturally no one in government will lose their jobs over this epic faiure!   bpb

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