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2 men accused of having guns in cars outside club

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Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:30 am

A “bar check” at a Harker Heights nightclub led to the arrest of two men who allegedly brought handguns onto the property.

Police arrested and charged Daniel Edward Watson, 22, and Michael Lynn Griffin Jr. with unlawfully carrying a weapon on licensed premises.

Both men were arrested after a Harker Heights police officer conducted a “bar check” just after midnight Saturday at the Rumors nightclub in the 1500 block of East Veterans Memorial Boulevard, according to arrest affidavits.

The officer shined a flashlight through the windows of vehicles parked at the club and found two cars that had handguns in plain view, the arrest affidavits stated.

The officer then had club staff locate the owners of the vehicles. Watson and Griffin left the club and told the officer they owned their respective cars and the handgun inside, the affidavits stated.

They were then placed under arrest. Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin arraigned Watson and Griffin, setting their bonds at $20,000 each.

Potvin also arraigned the following:

Joshua Paul Regal, 25, on a charge of theft of a firearm. Regal’s bond was set at $25,000.

Matthew James Veach, 26, on a charge of evading arrest with a motor vehicle. Veach’s bond was set at $20,000.

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  • Bubba posted at 9:34 am on Mon, Jul 8, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    It is not relevant how long you have been anywhere, nor is it relevant how long the police have been illegally searching vehicles in Harker Heights. It's still an illegal search without probable cause. I'm all for public safety and preventing the intoxicated from operating vehicles. Wandering through parking lots in this endeavor constitutes an illegal search without probable cause as defined by the exclusionary rules for searches as outlined in well-settled Constitutional law. Using public safety as an excuse to arrest people strains credulity.

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 1:33 pm on Thu, Jul 4, 2013.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1191

    Bubba let me tell you bro, I first came here in the seventies and HHPD has been doing that since I’ve been here. If a person is too drunk to drive he/she get in their car and go to sleep. HHPD will come by and check all vehicles with a flashlight. If the key is in the ignition the driver will be charged with DWI. Key not in the ignition the driver and everyone in the car will be charged with PI. That’s one of the ways that little rat-hole of a town makes money. That’s how come you have G.I.’s take a chance and drive drunk back to the barracks. I would tell my soldiers call a sober friend or get a taxi back to the barracks. They don’t need a warrant if this is illegal I think the Texas AG would have done something by now. Maybe it’s a City ordinance I don’t know?

  • Bubba posted at 5:51 pm on Wed, Jul 3, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    The officer had no probable cause to search vehicles in a dark parking lot without a warrant. Had the officer been walking through the lot in daylight, and observed an unsecure firearm in a vehicle, this would be probable cause as an offense had been obviously committed, and the officer would then be empowered to find and apprehend the owner of the vehicle. In the above case, the officer was using a flashlight to illegally search vehicles without probable cause to be looking into vehicles. I hope the two victims in this case sue the freaking pants off the city and its police department.

  • Bubba posted at 5:42 pm on Wed, Jul 3, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    The parking lots of private businesses are predominantly private property. No one can give anyone permission to search a parked vehicle belonging to another. The exclusionary rule for vehicles does not apply as there is no probable cause for the search; this was a fishing trip by untrained police officers. Completely illegal. Your statement that the officers had authority to ignore basic law is laughable. Whether or not the weapon is in plain view is irrelevant-the officer had no probable cause to be searching vehicles and did not have consent-this was an illegal search. The remainder of your comments do not warrant a response.

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 3:26 pm on Wed, Jul 3, 2013.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1191

    Bubba I have to disagree. That club parking lot is considered a public parking lot. Let’s say it’s not the owner of the club can give permission to police to look at vehicles. Law Enforcement Officers are within their constitutional authority to look through the windows of vehicles as long as they don’t open the vehicle without the owner’s permission. This was not an illegal search. The law states, “Out of plain sight.” It’s doesn’t say except at night I can have a handgun in plain view. If him/her sees a bulge, outline, or any part of a handgun it is now considered, “NOT out of plain sight” and you can be arrested for that. So if it’s in plain view in your auto or on you i.e. a bulge/outline of a handgun you can be arrested. That’s the Catch-22 with law.

  • Bubba posted at 1:36 pm on Wed, Jul 3, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    I am well aware of the law. On point, non-intentional showing of a concealed handgun by an authorized carrier is not an offense. Read the law. Traffic stops provide probable cause for a search when illegal items are in plain view. Parked vehicles are private property and a warrant is required for a search of a vehicle-particularly if a flashlight is needed to determine "plain view". Again, I am well aware of the law and I am here to teach.

  • Bubba posted at 1:23 pm on Wed, Jul 3, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    The article clearly states that the officer requried a flashlight to illegally search these vehicles.

  • Kevin posted at 11:15 am on Wed, Jul 3, 2013.

    Kevin Posts: 7

    WHen items are in "plain view" as described in the article, then there is no "illegal search". As for jobs at Burger King, they wouldn't be hired; they would be "over-qualified" to work there.

  • Dr Strangelove posted at 8:55 am on Wed, Jul 3, 2013.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 1191

    You do not need a CHL to carry a loaded handgun in your auto. The law states it must be OUT OF SIGHT. Meaning if a law enforcement officer walks up to your car and sees the handgun—you will be arrested and go to jail. This happened to a CHL holder who got some bad advice from a police officer friend of his. Pulled over for speeding in Dallas the Officer walked up to the car. The guy had the handgun in plain sight between the seats. The Officer pulled his weapon, arrested the guy, who ended up in Dallas jail, losing his CHL, legal fees, and now has a record. Texas law says your handgun must be concealed and Texas Law Enforcement does not play. Same if I’m in Wal-Mart and reach up, my shirt comes up and my handgun is exposed—I can be arrested for that.

  • Bubba posted at 4:54 pm on Tue, Jul 2, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    I understand plenty, thank you, and the law specifically states that parking lots are not in the definition of "premises". Had you actually read the law or were qualified with a CHL, you might have avoided this error. Granted, the firearms owners had a duty to not leave them in plain view as prescribed by law. The police officer had no warrant and therefore this is an illegal search and a false arrest. From where does the officer get the idea that he/she can wander about searcing vehicles without probable cause? Time to introduce these officers to their new and exciting careers at burger king.

  • Kevin posted at 2:23 pm on Tue, Jul 2, 2013.

    Kevin Posts: 7

    If you understand the term "Premises".... A parking lot of a business can be considered a part of the entire business. Th eowner pays taxes on the parking lot, as well as the structure on the property as well. The two owners of the firearms should have placed them in a 'concealed location" to prevent someone from observing them inside the vehicles.

  • Bubba posted at 9:45 am on Tue, Jul 2, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    Is the officer claiming a violation of Sec. 46.02. UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPONS? If so, on what authority was the officer searching vehicles,potentially on private property owned by the club?

  • Bubba posted at 9:24 am on Tue, Jul 2, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 844

    just what law was violated by leaving a firearm in a vehicle while visiting a bar? On what authority or probable cause did the officer have to search vehicles in a parking lot? Has Harker Heights ever heard of the Constitution of the United States? Why did the judge allow this to go forward? Ever read Sec. 46.035. UNLAWFUL CARRYING OF HANDGUN BY LICENSE HOLDER in the Texas statutes?