Still No Charges; Toledo Police Keep CHL-holder's Gun Anyway
The Toledo Free Press is reporting that police citing "safekeeping" policies continue to hold a gun they seized from a temporary CHL-holder despite the fact that no charges have been filed against the gun owner. In return the owner is contemplating a lawsuit against the city.
From the story:
- Thomas Szych, who has faced high levels of gang and criminal activity in his Lagrange Street neighborhood this summer, said he is working with a lawyer on possibly suing the City of Toledo.
The possible lawsuit stems not from the juvenile/gang troubles, which Szych said have “quieted down” in the past few weeks, but from an altercation Szych had with Toledo police Aug. 3.
Officers seized Szych’s gun after they arrived at his home at (redacted). Following a call reporting a man with a gun in the alley between Bronson and Dexter streets. According to police, Szych was videotaping his neighbors cleaning up garbage in the alley when he brandished his gun in front of two children.
Szych admitted to having a gun with him, which he was licensed to carry, but he denied ever leaving his front porch or taking the gun out of its holster he said was attached to a belt under his shirt.
The story goes on to say that police took an aggravated menacing report from the mother of the children but the prosecutor's office did not find enough evidence to bring charges against Mr. Szych. His case was then forwarded to the Citizens Dispute Settlement Program.
- Police are still holding the gun under “safekeeping” and as evidence, Sgt. Bob Maxwell said, even though Szych was not charged with a crime.
“The mediator said for [the two parties] to stay away from each other for 90 days, and there won’t be any criminal proceedings,” Maxwell said. “He threatened those kids with that gun, so that is evidence. Until those 90 days expire, we won’t give his gun back. If he violates the guidelines that the mediator has set forth, he can be charged criminally for aggravated menacing.”
It appears that Toledo Police are content with violating Ohio's Concealed Handgun Law and have no plans to change their ways any time soon.
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The story continues with a quote from a Buckeye Firearms Association volunteer from Toledo.
- According to representatives from Ohioans for Concealed Carry and the Buckeye Firearms Association, the police holding Szych’s gun without a criminal charge is illegal. Some members went so far as to begin raising money to purchase a new gun for Szych and to help with the bills for his possible civil lawsuit.
“[Without a civil lawsuit], there’s not a whole lot you can really do,” said William Pelish, a member of Buckeye Firearms Association. “He can petition until he’s blue in the face, but the Toledo police are going to try and destroy that gun. Basically, it comes down to how far [Szych] is willing to go with it.”
Szych said the only thing keeping him from filing suit immediately is money concerns. Szych’s lawyer, Daniel Ellis of Fuller & Henry, is working pro bono until he is sure Szych will come out as the winner in a civil lawsuit.
“If I sue the city, I don’t even want any money out of it,” Szych said. “I’m not in it just to get money. I’m just in it to prove my point that what they did was wrong.”
Buckeye Firearms Association will be monitoring this case as it unfolds. Please check back regularly for updates.