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Railroading of Walter Reddy: Patriot's Legally Owned Guns Seized
Ready had organized the first modern-day Tea Party rally, a December 2007 rally at Boston's Faneuil Hall that featured the then-little-known Rand Paul as a keynote speaker. Rand Paul, an eye surgeon and son of Rep. Ron Paul, has since gone on to become the most prominent U.S. Senator associated with the Tea Party movement.
The following facts are undisputed by both sides of the legal argument over possession of guns:
• Police in Weston, Connecticut, based in part upon an unsubstantiated FBI statement that Reddy was a "person of interest" in a domestic terrorism investigation, executed a search and seizure warrant at Reddy's home on February 14 that involved the local SWAT team. The police took a pump-action shotgun and an antique revolver from Reddy.
• Walter Reddy has no criminal record of any kind.
• Reddy was never charged with a crime, but his legally held guns were taken from him anyway. He is, however, a widely known constitutional political activist and persistent critic of big government.
• Reddy repeatedly asked for an opportunity to get a lawyer before a February 25 hearing on possession of his guns, and was denied his request.
• The chief witness brought by the state against Reddy explicitly stated that Reddy had never acted in a threatening or violent way.
• No other witness even attempted to claim that Reddy was threatening or violent.
Prosecutors also stressed during the seizure hearing that the search uncovered that Reddy had a joke "grenade" in his possession, and that Reddy was a danger because this hollowed-out grenade (picture a novelty grenade on an office desk with the sign "Complaints: Take a number" with a number one attached to the pin) indicated a propensity to violence. Pointing out that lawyers are often sold the same novelty items, Secola stressed: "Attached to this motion is a picture of an inert grenade sold to lawyers as a novelty for 'free legal advice.' Is this a 'weapon' subject to seizure in this state?" Secola concluded: "Being weapons experts, the SWAT police clearly knew these were inert grenades and they should have never been seized. They were not weapons. They were seized to prejudice the defendant and this ploy appears to have succeeded."