A police officer who posted to a Facebook page criticism of a political movement in which pro-gun advocates openly carry firearms in public has come under fire for claiming, in what he is now saying was a joke, that they should be shot.
East Palo Alto Detective Rod Tuason was responding to a friend's Facebook posting, who had suggested that "Open Carry Advocates need to start carrying in like Oakland, Richmond, East Palo Alto and not limit themselves to the hoity toity cities," according to a screenshot of the discussion on the firearm advocacy website Calguns.net.
"Sounds like you had someone practicing their 2nd amendment rights last night!" Tuason wrote. "Should've pulled the AR out and prone them all out! And if one of them makes a furtive movement … 2 weeks off!!!" This refers "to the modified duty, commonly known as desk duty, that typically follows any instance in which an officer is investigated for firing his weapon," explained a Fox News article on the controversy.
Tuason's posting was then picked up by the blog "Kevin Thomason's "Oaklander,"" titled "Random Musings by a Second Amendment Fan," at which point it went viral.
"East Palo Alto, CA Detective Roderick Tuason didn't realize that actual PRO-GUN people also read Facebook," Thomason posted. "Amazingly, he posted the following comment about law abiding gun owners on a friend's page. Basically, he's saying "prone them out" (on the ground), and if anyone moves, kill them. I don't make this crap up." Thomason went on to post contact information for the police department and city council, urging readers to complain.
In addition, a Facebook group, which had 1,840 members at press time, was formed to urge Tuason's firing.
East Palo Alto police Capt. Carl Estelle said the department's professional standards division is looking into the Facebook remarks to see if they violate any rules or policies, according to an article in the San Jose Mercury News. "We have to be careful because they're on his own personal private Web page," Estelle said. "We have to be careful not to violate his First Amendment rights," the article continued.
"Sometimes sacastic or off color humor should be best kept in the confines of those you can confide in," according to a post on the Calguns.net site, which has now been deleted but was available through Google caching. "I forgot the golden rule of whos watching and listenting to you! I know i ruffled alot of feathers by making that comment! But as a person i did not mean no harm to anyone. Those that know me know my form of humor after all i'm a former Marine!"
Tuason's Facebook account now appears to have been closed.
"California Penal Code bars carrying concealed weapons without a county-issued license but says it isn't a crime to openly display a firearm in a belt holster," according to the Mercury News. "However, it remains illegal for the gun to be loaded in most cases. While residents who carry unloaded, registered guns in plain view aren't breaking any laws, police have said the practice is dangerous because officers can't tell whether a gun is loaded and what an armed person's intentions are," the paper went on to say.