Lee Davis: 6th Circuit Rules That Park Ranger Was Right To Detain Man Carrying AK-47

Sunday, September 30, 2012 - by Lee Davis
Lee Davis
Lee Davis
In Embody v. Ward the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a park ranger did not violate the rights of a man who wore camouflage and carried an AK-47-style pistol across his chest with a loaded 30-round clip in a Nashville park.

The gun toting man from Brentwood, Leonard Embody, sued park ranger Steve Ward for detaining him at the Radnor Lake State Natural area back in December 2009. Ward held Embody while he investigated whether the gun was legal and whether Embody had a permit to lawfully carry it. The investigation revealed that Tennessee law allows guns with barrels of less than 12 inches in state parks. Luckily for Embody, his gun just squeaked by, with his barrel a half-inch under the limit.
The stupidity of the Tennessee legislature to pass such a law allowing a man to bring a AK-47 into a state park was not at issue.

Embody also painted the  tip of his gun orange, an attempt to make the gun look like a toy. The Sixth Circuit said that given this, “An officer could fairly suspect that Embody had used the paint to disguise an illegal weapon.”

The Court also mentioned the concern raised by other park-goers: evidently one person raised his hands in the air when he ran across Embody while two other park visitors came to Ward to say they were “very concerned” about the man. Later an elderly couple reported that a man was wandering through the park with an assault rifle. All of this was further evidence, according to the Court, that Ward behaved reasonably when detaining Embody.

The Sixth Circuit said that Embody’s detention was predictable and that Embody himself suspected it might happen which is why he carried an audio-recording device on his person. The Court clearly felt little sympathy for Embody, saying that having worked hard to appear suspicious, Embody cannot later complain because park rangers took the bait.

Full opinion can be found here.

(Lee Davis is a Chattanooga attorney who can be reached at lee@davis-hoss.com or at 266-0605.)


Berry To Review Local Economic Development Plans, Community Economic Health

Doug Berry, vice president for economic development, will speak at the quarterly “Food for Thought” membership luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 15, at noon at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Berry will talk about progress on a variety of economic development projects, the general economic health of Cleveland and Bradley County, as well as development of the community's ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Chamber Business Calendar For Dec. 5-9

Here is the Chattanooga Chamber business calendar for Dec. 5-9.  For more on these events, visit chattanoogachamber.com .  Tuesday, Dec. 6, Member Orientation 8-9:30 a.m. Chamber Board Room: 811 Broad St. Learn more about how the Chamber can benefit you and your business. For members and non-members. Light breakfast. Free.  Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 Thrive ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Officer Shot 3 Times In East Chattanooga; Later Is Released From Hospital; Manhunt On For Shooter

A Chattanooga Police officer was shot three times on Thursday morning in East Chattanooga. The incident happened shortly after 9 a.m. on Mission Avenue near Glenwood Drive. He was able to drive himself to the hospital and later was treated and released. Chattanooga Police Department Chief Fred Fletcher said the identity of the officer would not be released until the investigation ... (click for more)

CSAS Students Have Long Day At School Due To Concern Shooting Suspect Might Be On Campus

Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences students had a long day at school on Thursday after there was concern that a man who shot a police officer not far away had slipped onto the campus. Amy Katcher of the county schools said, " On Thursday, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences was evacuated around 3 p.m. as a precaution after a shooting incident in Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Bible In Gatlinburg

The day after fire rained and reigned in Gatlinburg, Isaac McCord, 24 and from Tullahoma, was picking up debris at the popular Dollywood attraction. The theme park had minimal damage compared to the hundreds of structure either lost or severely damaged in Sevier County. He picked up a piece of paper that was in a puddle of water, beneath a bench. “It was one of the most surreal ... (click for more)