Business Owner Jailed for “Loitering” On His Own Property

Eric Lee owns and runs a discounted furniture store in Dekalb County, Georgia called Unclaimed Freight. He was told by local police that the crime rate in that area is exceptionally bad, so it was recommended to him that he carry a firearm. He received a permit and then proceeded to carry a concealed weapon.

His business had been the target of thieves in the past, so he was often on the lookout for them at night. One evening, he heard some racket and went outside around the corner of his building to see what it was and saw some homeless delinquents gathered around.

Police showed up and began interrogating Mr. Lee about what was going on and whether he had any weapons. He told them that he did have a weapon and a permit. But evidently they weren’t there to make sure everyone was safe. They just wanted to make some arrests. So, they took his gun and arrested him for “loitering.” Yes, “loitering” on his own property.

In their police report, they added that when they took Lee into custody, they could “smell a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage.” Lee stated that that odor came from the homeless people who were so drunk they were vomiting. They too had been arrested.

And for good measure, the police went ahead and had Lee’s truck towed.

When this was brought before the judge, he threw out the case and even apologized to Mr. Lee. But that all happened about a year ago. And he still hasn’t gotten his gun back; still hasn’t been reimbursed for his towed truck; and still hasn’t received any kind of apology from the officers who falsely arrested him. WSB-TV reported:

Shortly after the incident, he wrote a letter to DeKalb County Internal Affairs and asked for the officers who arrested him to be investigated.

“I am not sure how one can be loitering on property that they own. I am also not sure how one can be carrying a weapon without a permit when they do indeed have a permit for the weapon at issue. I believe my Fourth and Second Amendment rights were violated.”

For this reason, he’s filed a federal lawsuit against them. According to his attorney Shannon Briley-Holmes, “He’s not looking to retire off this or harm the taxpayers; he is looking for some kind of accountability.” They should at least give him his gun back; they should reimburse him with interest for the cost of towing and retrieving his truck; and they should apologize for abusing their authority by falsely arresting him.