Back in October, I reported on the case of Krysta Sutterfield who was arrested at gun point after wearing her pistol to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brookfield. She was arrested for illegally transporting a firearm despite having her pistol in a zipped case and not on her body. Afterwards, the district attorney declined to prosecute because the officers had no probable cause to stop her and search her car and the charges were dropped.
Ms. Sutterfield and Wisconsin Carry filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin charging her 14th Amendment rights had been violated.
This week the lawsuit was settled with the City of Brookfield paying $7,500 according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and court filings. The city made the offer on December 20th and gave the plaintiffs 14 days in which to accept the offer. The plaintiffs accepted it that same day and judgment was entered on December 30th. The heart of the offer was:
a joint offer to allow judgment to be taken against them in the above referenced action in the total amount of $7,500.00, inclusive of costs and attorney’s fees. This offer is intended to resolve all claims, state and federal, arising from the incident which forms the basis for all claims by Wisconsin Carry, Inc. and Krysta Sutterfield against the above defendants. It must be accepted by both Wisconsin Carry, Inc. and Krysta Sutterfield in order for there to be a valid acceptance. This offer is not an admission of liability on behalf of these defendants, and should not be construed as such.
Despite the settlement, it does not appear that the City of Brookfield won’t make a similar mistake in the future if the comments of Greg Gunta, an attorney for the city, are to be believed.
An attorney for the city said police will still always respond in force to calls of a person with a gun, and if turns out to be an open carry situation, that’s just the cost of doing business.
“These are kind of ‘gotcha’ cases,” said the attorney, Greg Gunta. “The courts are being used for a political stage.”
Mr. Gunta went on to suggest that if the plaintiffs really brought this case based on principle they should give the money back to the City of Brookfield for “gun education.” To think that a city whose police force was so ready to violate the Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights of it citizens could conduct “gun education” is laughable. Whatever use Ms. Sutterfield and Wisconsin Carry find for the money I’m sure will be better than that offered by Mr. Gunta.