An attorney questioned the arrest of a protester found with a broken-down AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at a downtown Chattanooga rally.
Attorney McCracken Poston said Trevan Young was taken into custody "by over half a dozen Chattanooga Police Department officers on June 1, during one of the nights of protest sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This has raised many questions and areas of legal concern.
"Young, who is black, was carrying a backpack containing a firearm that was broken down into four parts. The firearm never left the backpack, until it was removed and assembled by someone at the Chattanooga Police Department for a press release photo op.
In fact, one might argue that the assembling of the gun could be considered as manufacturing evidence of the readiness of the firearm for use, later influencing judges subsequently issuing search warrants and misleading the public. At no time was the firearm assembled by Mr. Young, or even removed from the backpack, during the protest gathering.”
The attorney said Young "had attended the protest near the newly redesigned Miller Park for over two hours, peacefully protesting a controversial police practice on a national scale. He was carrying a homemade sign that directly criticized the ‘no-knock’ raids that in March led to the deaths of two innocent citizens, Breona Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky and Duncan Lemp in Potomac, Maryland.
"Trevan Young is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served our country as a Signal Intelligence Analyst in the 18th Airborne Corps, 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, and has no criminal record aside from some speeding tickets. Mr. Young went through a legal background check, and purchased the weapon from a licensed firearm dealer.
“The government confiscated not only the backpack and the disassembled weapon as the protest was ending and Mr. Young was leaving Miller Park, but also took Mr. Young’s Subaru and another weapon which was legally locked in the car, several blocks and a long walk from the protest.
"They also took things from his Bonny Oaks Drive apartment after obtaining a warrant that suggested to the signing judge that they were looking for ‘gang paraphernalia’ and ‘any devices capable of containing, storing, and/or possessing evidence related to (evidence of a terrorist plot or plan to cause bodily injury or mass casualty).
"I look forward to comparing this case to the one of a white man arrested days later on a rooftop over the protesters with a fully-assembled and operative weapon of the same type. Already there are disparities between the amount of bond required for their release with Mr. Young having not removed or assembled his gun, and was leaving the protest as it ended.
"I suggest that there is no evidence that Mr. Young was doing anything other than exercising what he felt was his constitutional right to bear arms. As much as I personally do not feel the need to carry such a weapon, I have seen a lot of white people carrying them around at Wal-Mart and other public places, and the trend of the newer laws, supported by a lot of current officeholders and groups like the National Rifle Association, is to support the rights of citizens to carry these weapons in public places.
"I am looking forward to a full examination of the credibility of any source that led to the arrest and subsequent search warrant,” and I call upon city law enforcement to immediately dismiss all charges and return all confiscated property to Mr. Young."