Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 00:41:17 -0400
Subject: [lpaz-repost] (fwd) [Liberty Outlook] NY: 83-yr-old U.S. Army Veteran almost killed by a trespassing police officer

----- Original Message ----- From: Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 7:25 PM Subject: NY: 83-yr-old U.S. Army Veteran almost killed by a trespassing police officer

NY: 83-yr-old U.S. Army Veteran almost killed by a trespassing police officer, for merely answering his door after midnight holding a gun. Police claim right to Kill any homeowner who holds a gun while answering knock at door late at night.

By Paul Kirby, Freeman staff August 04, 2002

Arthur LaGrange, 86, hopes to have in day in court this fall in his lawsuit over a 1999 arrest that landed him in the hospital.

HALF AN hour after midnight, Arthur LaGrange - a frail 83-year-old man who'd grown increasingly fearful of drug dealers - slipped a clip into a handgun and walked to the front door of his apartment.

To hear LaGrange tell it, what happened next has rendered his life "miserable."

About 1:30 a.m. on June 29, 1999, LaGrange, now 86, says he was unnecessarily roughed up by a city police officer, busted for no good reason and had his apartment at the Fairview Gardens complex in Kingston indiscriminately ransacked.

To hear attorney Marsha Weiss tell it, Kingston Police Officer Michael Ryan, who has been accused by LaGrange of using excessive force and violating his civil rights that morning, acted with the professionalism becoming of a lawman.

"We have, from the beginning, maintained that Officer Ryan acted appropriately, and that is the position we will continue to take," said Weiss, who is representing the city and Ryan, a cop since 1996. "We think that the jury will agree Officer Ryan acted as one would hope a trained police officer would act."

LaGRANGE, who now lives in Lake Katrine, disagrees.

The U.S. Army veteran recently gave his account, for the first time publicly, of the events that led to his arrest on felony and misdemeanor charges, accusations that later were dismissed by an Ulster County grand jury.

Where he would like to tell his story is in U.S. District Court in Albany, where a lawsuit has been filed charging unlawful arrest and imprisonment, use of excessive force and unlawful search and seizure, among other claims.

But his day in court, once scheduled for last fall, was delayed because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Ryan, a reservist with the New York Air National Guard, was called to active duty and could not appear to defend himself, Weiss said.

In May, an October 2002 trial date was set after U.S. District Judge David Hurd denied a request to dismiss LaGrange's lawsuit against the city of Kingston, Ryan, Ulster County Assistant District Attorney Paul Tsui and others. The judge said LaGrange's case had sufficient merit to be decided by a jury.

Weiss, a New Paltz lawyer, said last week that another adjournment could not be ruled out, postponing the trial further. Given his age, LaGrange wonders whether he'll ever get to testify.

"They are just waiting for me to die," he said.

LaGRANGE says he was awakened about 12:30 a.m. that day in 1999 by a knock at his door.

"There was a knock, and it woke me out of bed, and since there was a couple of drug dealers locally, I didn't feel too safe," he said. "I have a licensed pistol that I have had for 50 years, and I picked it up off my work bench and went to the door."

With his wife, Thelma, 77, nearby, LaGrange said he approached the door, armed with a .38-caliber Colt that he said is an antique but fires fine. LaGrange said he inserted a gun clip containing bullets and opened the door.

Police records state Ryan went to the apartment after receiving a complaint that LaGrange was harassing a neighbor for making too much noise.

"I open the door, and there is a police officer with a gun sticking in my face. And he sees I got a gun, and he asked me to put it down, and I put in on the stand alongside my door," said LaGrange, a father of four. "I figured he was going to tell me I got an emergency in the family or there had been an accident."

Instead, LaGrange says, Ryan "grabbed me and slammed me don on the concrete patio. He jumped on top of me. ... I think he hit me a couple of times in the kidney. I am not sure, but it sure felt like it. He had his knee in the middle of my back and he handcuffed me."

In court records, Ryan concurs that LaGrange put the gun down when asked, but the officer states LaGrange defied an order to get down on the ground. That, Ryan says, is why he knocked the 120-pound senior citizen to the ground and handcuffed him.

KINGSTON Police Chief Gerald Keller declined to comment about the case, saying it is department policy not to discuss matters that are in litigation.

Privately, though, police say Ryan, who has won service awards, demonstrated considerable restraint - not firing his gun, for instance - considering he was met at the door by an armed man.

LaGRANGE said he was placed in a police car, still wearing his pajamas, after spending 30 minutes on the ground. Once in the car, he said, he had a hard time breathing, but he alleges other officers who had arrived at the scene refused to get him medical attention. LaGrange said his wife, who since has passed away, called 911.

"She defied them and called," LaGrange said. "The ambulance came and they put a mask on me. ... They (officers) weren't going to do anything."

LaGrange said the officers went through his apartment and confiscated a variety of items, including two other weapons: a .22-caliber rifle and 16-gauge shotgun, which eventually were returned to him.

LaGRANGE said he then was brought to city police hadquarters on Garraghan Drive and was handcuffed to a bench for seven hours while waiting to be arraigned. At the arraignment - for criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and reckless endangerment and menacing, misdemeanors - City Judge Edward Feeney released LaGrange on his own recognizance, meaning no bail had to be posted.

LaGrange then was admitted to Kingston Hospital, where he was treated for bruises and was given respiratory medication. A little more than three months later - on Oct. 5, 1999 - an Ulster County grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict LaGrange of the charges against him.

ALAN Sussman, LaGrange's attorney, said he recommended his client not testify before the grand jury. But LaGrange insisted on appearing.

"There was no stopping him, and he told his story," Sussman said. "The grand jury believed him, and threw out all of the charges."

LaGrange was unsuccessful, however, in getting back the .38-caliber Colt that he was holding when he opened his apartment door to Ryan. Sussman said the Ulster County District Attorney's Office was successful in getting a judge to revoke LaGrange's permit for the weapon.

Sussman said the court decided LaGrange's use of his pistol in the incident "was not proper conduct worthy of retaining his license."

"It is just dirty pool, that is what it is," LaGrange said.

LaGRANGE said he's run up about $50,000 in medical bills as a result of the incident, setting him back financially.

He said he'd be willing to settle the case for $150,000.

"I just want to pay my medical expenses and my medicine for as long as I live," he said. "I don't want to put it in the bank. What the hell am I going to do with it?"

But "sometimes I think I would be better off (dead)," he said. "I haven't paid my wife's funeral expenses yet. Ain't that a hell of a thing?"

See also comments posted about this case at:

[The Police and others committed "Unauthorized Deprivations" of his Guns and Liberty. See, ]

I wrote to Arthur LaGrange's daughter, and she replied:

In a message dated 8/25/02 12:31:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

----- Original Message ----- From: (Janiah Wolf) To: Date:8/25/02 12:31:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time Subj:Re: The Right of NY Landowners to Use Force (or Display Guns) to Stop, Expel and Arr

Dear Mark,

Hello. Thank you for the NY State regulations concerning our citizen Rights to Use Force.


Quite frankly, I was more than a little upset by the fact that my father's attorney, more or less, said to forget about it - you have no case. If my father were a lesser educated man, or less courageous, he would have taken that advice and had his rights trampled on. Obviously, the "law" does not protect us, and hopes that those offended will remain silent and just "take it".

I love the line from the movie, "The Star Chamber", where a group of 12 judges were so tired of criminals getting away with murder, that they became their own vigilante group and hired a hit man to delve out their "secret" justice, behind the scenes. Thus, they, themselves became criminals. But it seemed to them, the only way to attain justice. The quote was, "Justice is hidden somewhere in the law. You just have to be smart enough to find it." Why is justice "hidden" in the law? It appears that this was an accurate statement. Justice should be "glaringly obvious", not hidden from those who need it most.

Have you been in contact with my father? Have you also sent this information to him? If he has not already researched this himself, it might be of great value to him.

Thank you again for the information.

Best Wishes, Janiah

I replied:

Dear Janiah:

I do not (yet) have any way to contact your father. If he understand the statutes, I think he should read the essay on NY Landowner Rights. Can you give me his contact information (email and phone, address). I want to read all the accusations against him, the papers, and decisions, Pleadings in the Federal Case. I want to do a legal analysis on the case, but I need more details about what happened, and about what the police officer said happened. I helped Hildegard Von Waldenburg years ago [when she bore arms against government trespassers]. See my discussion of her case at: ndma

Your father's case is very important to millions of people in this country, even if they are not all yet aware of it. I already briefed Court TV about his case, and did a 2-hour internet-radio show Saturday directing People to the newspaper article and informing them about the grave implications of the assertion that Police have the right to KILL any homeowner who answers his door at night holding a gun. The FBI should investigate the confiscation of his hand-gun, not that they are any more law-abiding. The federal "civil rights" people should prosecute those who advocate for Police Officers to Kill or arrest home-owners who answer their door at night holding a legally possessed gun. You should read the comments already posted, about what happened to your father, on the Keep and Bear Arms Website. %2F2002

Your father is a HERO for his service to his country, for preparing to defend his wife and home from criminals, and for standing up in Court(s) against lawless rulers. I hope he will get Justice. And soon.


Mark Ferran BSEE scl JD mcl

P.S. Could you tell your father to expect a communication from me at this email address, and/or by phone?

NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or educational purposes to those who have expressed a prior interest.

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