"Man with shotgun detained near Sumner County Courthouse"
2014-09-02 by Josh Cross [http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/gallatin/2014/09/02/man-shotgun-detained-near-sumner-county-courthouse/14997313/]:
(Photo: Josh Cross/Gallatin News Examiner )
A Hendersonville man carrying a double-barrel shotgun on his back in downtown Gallatin was detained by police for a short time Tuesday.
Martine Barros was detained around noon on the square across from the Sumner County Courthouse as officers verified the shotgun was unloaded and ran a criminal background check on the 26-year-old to make sure he was allowed to possess the weapon.
“We did talk to him and we ran his criminal history,” Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford said. “Once we found out that he didn’t have a felony charge, which means he can possess the weapon, then he was turned loose.”
Barros, a 2006 graduate of Hendersonville High School who went on to Middle Tennessee State University and received his commercial pilot’s license, said he was protesting a 2011 arrest and subsequent reckless driving conviction. The conviction resulted in his pilot’s license being revoked about two months ago.
“Do you know how hard I worked to get my pilot’s license, to get to the point where I was and as a black man to have my rights completely (expletive) taken and shattered like that?” Barros said. “Instead of aiming for the skies and getting the American Dream, what you get from your own community, which you served, is a pile of (expletive).”
On March 4, 2011, Barros was pulled over by a Sumner County Sheriff’s deputy at Saundersville Road and Indian Lake Boulevard in Hendersonville for having a headlight out. The deputy stated that he could smell alcohol on Barros’ breath and that the then 22-year-old could not perform the field sobriety tests “as directed.”
Barros was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. He was found guilty in April 2012 of the lesser charge of reckless driving.
Weatherford said that at the time prosecutors worked with Barros to lessen the charge in an attempt to allow him to remain a pilot.
“Everything was done by the book,” Weatherford said. “The district attorney at the time was trying to work with him to keep him from possibly losing his job. I don’t know what else we could have done.”
Barros said he wants the officer who arrested him to be fired.
Increased security downtown -
While an uncommon sight, carrying an unloaded shotgun on the square in downtown Gallatin is not against the law, depending on the individual’s past criminal history, said Sumner County District Attorney Ray Whitley.
“As long as the gun is unloaded and he did not try to conceal it, it’s not a crime,” Whitley said, adding that ammunition for the weapon should not be kept within reach.
A heightened police presence, both on foot and in passing patrol cars, was present Tuesday in downtown. Police Chief Don Bandy said Barros had contacted the department prior to the protest to inform them about the demonstration.
“At that point we want to make sure that everybody is safe and I know that the citizens would be alarmed if they saw somebody carrying a long gun strapped to them walking the square, which is not something that you see every day,” Bandy said. “Again, he has that right, and we’re just there to make sure that everybody is safe.”
Additional security was also present at the Sumner County Courthouse on Tuesday as a precautionary measure, Weatherford said. He added that unless complaints are filed against Barros, officers will just be monitoring the man to make sure he does not take the weapon into any county buildings.
“I wish he would do something else if he’s not happy,” Weatherford said. “The problem is if he starts getting complaints eventually he’ll probably end up getting into trouble.”
Barros said he plans to continue his demonstration until “action is taken” against the officer that arrested him.
“I’m going to be here until I get justice,” Barros said. “Obviously, I plan to stay peaceful. I have my defense on my back if I have to defend myself.”