September 8, 2014 by JImbo
I was just sent this story, and Newsmax doesn’t give you more without a subscription. However, going back further to news stories closer to the time… there is a LOT more to this case than what you see.
First off, the judgement in 2012 was for 5 million dollars, not 1.3 million. The County just didn’t want to PAY $5 million. So, the guy is screwed once there.
This case actually goes back MUCH FURTHER.(see below)
Quoting from the law firm that represented him in a Dec 2011 statement:
“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.
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.”
Here’s a quick update on the case. Settlement negotiations have stalled, even though the defendants (County of Nassau, Police Officer Faltings, et al) have offered six figures to settle. Yes, that’s right. Nassau County is essentially admitting it was at fault for the botched gun store raid, and now the taxpayers of Nassau County will be forced to foot the bill.
Nassau County has filed a Multiparty Rule 68 Offer of Judgment, offering $200,000 to settle the matter, under the condition that the county and the police department will not have to admit liability. Martin Tretola and T&T Gunnery have so far declined to accept.
Jury selection and trial is scheduled for March 19, 2012, giving the county several more months to up the ante.
March 12th update: Trial is still scheduled for next week. I’ve attached a copy of the Defendants’ Trial Brief, which will give an indication of their position next week:
Update: The criminal charges against Marty were essentially dismissed. Good news for the civil suit.
August 15th Update: Verdict for Marty’s civil suit came in, and he won! Verdict for the Plaintiff on all counts, for a rumored amount of 5 million dollars. Look for some nice renovations at T&T Gunnery soon. Way to go Marty. Sorry taxpayers of Nassau County, you’ll be stuck paying the bill.”
What are we to take out of this? Who won and lost here? Well even with 1.3 million, the guy with the shop basically got back in damages what he’s lost in legal fees, confiscated inventory and lost business revenue. He’s back to square one.
The police lost. They look like idiots and the officers involved are now exposed to be corrupt frauds. Great job on the ol’ PR front guys.
The county taxpayers lost. They have to foot the bill in the end for this pay out because their police officers screwed up.
The lawyers won, but they always win. Win or lose they get money.
You and me? I would say we won… a little. Every time a judgement goes against corrupt politicians, police or ANY government agency they get that much more reluctant to abuse their power and harrass people.
We criticize huge companies for using their power and influence unethically and in a corrupt manner. We should be even MORE suspect of our government officials. They should be extra professional and beyond reproach.
Why? Because there ARE NO OTHER OPTIONS. With Wal Mart or Microsoft you have other options. You can go to a competitor.
Who is the competitor for your Sheriffs Dept? Your County Clerk? State Police? IRS? CIA? FBI? Obamacare?
They have monopolies as well as WRITING the laws and regulations. That’s a massive amount of power. THAT is why they must be watched even MORE closely than any corporation or business.
This won’t end the (UN)SAFE Act in New York. It won’t stop corrupt cops entirely. It might make a scratch in the surface though. This isn’t the first time a million dollar or more lawsuit has gone against the cops for harrassing law abiding gun owners.Let’s hope they add up to a re-evaluation of their practices and procedures.
We can only hope.
There is something inherently wrong about punishing people WITHOUT committing a true crime. Not registering a rifle sitting in your gun safe is now a FELONY? It’s WORSE legally than raping a child? How the hell is NOT doing ANYTHING now WORSE than child rape? How the hell does that happen?
I understand “Well a gun could be used to commit a crime” but that’s an insane attempt at logic. By that reasoning your car is a deadly weapon in your driveway so everyone is a potential felon if someone steals it and drives drunk. Not just talking about guns here folks but ANYTHING that is “potentially dangerous” could be used against you.
Do you realize what that precedent means? If you leave an electrical outlet uncovered in your house when a friend stops by with a baby you could be charged with CHILD ENDANGERMENT. If you have a pool, you’re instantly a potential baby killer because a child could fall in and drown someday.
There’s no limit to all the insanity that they could try to impose on us. It’s not just Unconstitutional and UNAMERICAN. It’s UNETHICAL and ILLOGICAL. You can’t punish people for crimes they MIGHT commit. Only for crimes they HAVE committed.
That’s why all this Gun Control crap is morally wrong. Guns don’t make decisions. People do. And you can’t predict what other people will do before they do it.
The authorities can GUESS what people are going to do, but there’s always free will. If they’re going to punish people based on guesses… are they going to take responsibility for making the WRONG guess too?
Most of those caught for crimes are minorities in prison. Does that mean we can just safely GUESS that young black males are most likely going to be criminals? Just lock them up before hand and save the trouble of them every committing crimes?
Or maybe just abort them altogether and save the hassle entirely? Yup, that is EXACTLY what Hitler did, and it’s EXACTLY what Margaret Sanger said that abortion was for in this country. And… oh look the vast majority of abortions are in black and minority neighborhoods!
Mission accomplished Margaret. Think that’s rather harsh? Is it a coincidence Planned Parenthood and the UN are working to get more abortions and birth control into Africa? Not so big on giving them jobs or clean water, but they sure want to stop all those little brown babies!
THAT is what you get when you move into the realm of social planning and preventative criminal mitigation. It’s the logical next step.
I’m sure they all THINK they mean well. Few people set out to do wrong. They just get so used to power that they see it as the solution for all problems, real or imagined. As the saying goes, if you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
If you know who is going to commit the crimes (more or less), you act before they commit the crimes. The earlier you act, the better right? And if there’s no way to eliminate the risk of a crime… eliminate the offender. Right? Pretty basic if horrific logic.
Hitler, Stalin, Mao… they all agreed. So did the Progressive elites at the turn of the 20th century. They thought science and sociology could “weed out the bad ones.” From before birth.
Fortunately, that’s not what your country was founded on. We founded our country on Freedom and Free Will. Everyone has the chance to act and then be judged based on their actions. This was what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech was all about.
Simply enforcing laws the “old fashioned way” (ie punishing people for actually committing a crime first) makes more sense and it avoids this problem. Unfortunately, the lure of power and convenience are seductive.
Freedom is hard. It takes continual work. You have to tolerate other people and their ideas, even if you don’t agree with them. It’s messy.
Tyranny is deceptively simple. It begins slow. It sounds reasonable to the head while it offends the heart. It speaks to the mind but not the soul.
We’ve been warned over and over.
In the 1970s we had movies like “Soylent Green” where the solution to world hunger was eating the dead.
In the 1950s we had George Orwell’s “1984” and Big Brother.
In the 1930s there was Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” where children were bred for genetic traits into “worker” and “elite” castes. Blonde haired “super humans” and black haired, dark skinned “servants?” Sound familiar?
In the 1800s Jules Verne in “Time Machine” foresaw future races of humans mutated into “Overworlders” and “Underworlders.”
Even Plato and the Ancient Greeks warned of hubris and human fallibility.
This isn’t a new problem by any means. Man is by nature prone to corruption as easily as he is humility. The solution isn’t any different either.
Ancient Greece had Democracies. They fell.
Ancient Rome was a Democracy. It fell.
Throughout time freedom has risen only to fall from essentially internal weakness.
We have a Republic now.
For now anyway.
How long can we keep it?
This lawsuit is a necessary check on those in power. it’s not just an issue for “gun owners.” Do you think that smoking won’t just as easily become a felony? Or public speech?
Already in Rochester they’ve had neighborhoods declared “gang zones” and had all public assemblies banned. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think it’s any more than 5 people in one location is an arrestable offense. It’s not even a law, just a police “rule” that changes at will and with no notification.
So, if you have a family of 6 or you have your neighbors’ family over for a BBQ you could technically be arrested for “unlawful assembly.” True story.
Want the definition of “Unlawful Assembly”? (NYS Penal Code)
§ 240.10 Unlawful assembly. A person is guilty of unlawful assembly when he assembles with four or more other persons for the purpose of engaging or preparing to engage with them in tumultuous and violent conduct likely to cause public alarm, or when, being present at an assembly which either has or develops such purpose, he remains there with intent to advance that purpose. Unlawful assembly is a class B misdemeanor.
How does this apply to YOU? (Well if you happen to live in Rochester, NY)
It’s all about INTERPRETATION. This isn’t about what you ARE doing. It’s about what they SAY YOU WILL DO.
So, if the police officer says “You were going to commit a crime” how exactly do you prove him WRONG? Yes, he can’t prove you WERE, but YOU can’t prove you WEREN’T.
So now it’s your word versus his.
See the dilemma?
As Barney Fife used to say: NIP IT IN THE BUD!
Folks with more imagined power than sense are no better than bullies. So, treat them as you would any bully. Stand up to them, together, and they’ll back down.
Or get insanely violent, in which case they’ll reveal their true selves to everyone.