Posted by: Ann Corcoran | December 7, 2012

Rally tomorrow in support of “hunted” Sharpsburg man

Marylanders are organizing a rally in support of the subject of the military-like “manhunt” that disturbed the peace of rural Sharpsburg well known in history as the site of the bloodiest day of the civil war (but a very quiet town for the last 150 years!).

See my previous post on the shockingly excessive show of police/FBI force here.

The rally is set for Saturday morning, 11 a.m. outside of Sharpsburg town hall.  (Unfortunately I won’t be in the state this weekend to report.)

In the e-mail I received alerting me to the rally, is this anonymous report from a local citizen close to the situation describing in more detail events of that distressing day.   (emphasis mine)

Anonymous:  They terrorized our town and it’s a miracle we didn’t have another WACO or Ruby Ridge

We the people of Sharpsburg, MD would like to make a statement about events in which occurred on Thursday, Nov. 29th. Our tiny town was invaded by 200+ state police, SWAT, FBI and border patrol agents. The residents communicated through social media and by stopping in the local gas station to find out that a manhunt was going on for a resident by the name of Terry Porter. He is a friend, a hard worker and a well liked person in Sharpsburg. We were all in shock. Rumors floated that he was making bombs in his underground shelter and we stood back and watched as the Boy Scout camp was overrun as a “staging area” for law enforcement. Cars that drove by reported camouflage, bullet proof vests, lots of high powered assault type guns, helicopters, and armored vehicles. Mills Rd. was completely shut down and children’s school buses, residents who lived in the area and family of the man being searched for were unable to access. Residents were told to remain indoors.

As the afternoon progressed, we wanted to help Terry. We overwhelmingly felt helpless that our friend was a victim somehow and that he did not deserve what was happening to him and his wife and children. Someone reported an excavator was traveling down the road followed by armored vehicles and that they were going to dig him out. Others reported seeing an armored tractor trailer followed by several armored vehicles and black police vans head toward Mills Rd . We were so scared for Terry and couldn’t imagine what his family must be thinking. Members of the community traveled down to Mills Rd. in an attempt to plead with the police presence to please let us talk with him and get him out safely. They said they trusted Terry and know he wouldn’t hurt anyone. Our attempts were denied and everyone who attempted was forced to leave. Those who were at the scene reported portable chemical showers in place and insane amounts of law officials.

As afternoon became night, social media became more active and we wanted to organize a group to go down and speak louder our feelings. About that time, the police pulled out and left. We were confused but relieved. They concluded that Terry wasn’t even home the entire time. They also said that his wife and children were. Family reported that the Porter home was ravaged and property destroyed. As they pulled out, we were all so thankful that a tragedy hadn’t occurred but became more angry of the excessive force used in this situation. The WHAG news reported that the police had called off their “manhunt” for the “potentially armed person” who is an “avid hunter” and a “survivalist.” They apparently had the opportunity to speak with many of the locals and mentioned on TV that Terry “sounds like a really nice guy.” That snippet has been deleted and now channel 7 news is reporting the same old rhetoric which makes Terry appear like a terrorist and a threat to society which is untrue. In fact, the only guns in the home were hunting rifles and shotguns like most of our small town who are full of “avid hunters” and whom are “potentially armed.” There were NO bombs or bomb making material. Terry had no plans of attacking or had threatened anyone. He does have an underground shelter that is no secret here in Sharpsburg. The last I checked that wasn’t illegal. He did have a felony conviction some 30 years ago which legally prevented him from owning any weapons so Terry was later charged with those crimes… after he turned himself in peacefully on Friday morning. The town is left with feeling helpless and angry after this whole mess. Hundreds of thousands of tax payers’ dollars were wasted. We, including Terry Porter, are hardworking people just trying to make ends meet. This was absolute overkill and totally wrong. The police had a search warrant and nothing else. They terrorized this town with their speeding trucks and armed troops and it’s a miracle a tragedy such as Waco or Ruby Ridge did not occur.


Responses

  1. […] 7th:  Rally in support of the “hunted” man, Terry Porter, in Sharpsburg tomorrow (click here for details and more on the […]

    • Ann:
      Ask your sheriff if he approved the entry of the feds into your county. Per Sheriff Richard Mack and 800 years of English common law, your county sheriff is the ranking law official and the operation could not have taken place within your county without his expressed approval. Additionally, if the information in one of your earlier posts is correct in that the initial action occurred without a valid court order (warrant), then the citizens of your county have solid grounds for taking legal action against all those involved, the law enforcement personnel (state and federal) and the public officials who ultimately initiated the action. Also, if your sheriff did approve the invasion, then the citizens of your county make express their feelings in his/her regard at the next election.
      Might does not make right in a republic where the rule of law is omnipotent. Or perhaps we are beyond that, now. It’s your call.

  2. I was surprised to find in researching this incident that this kind of extreme police force and invasion into our towns and communities is happening all over the country in alarming numbers. I am so glad that Erin Moshier and other residents of Sharpsburg are “up in arms” over this and fighting back. I used to live in this quiet little town and can only imagine the outrage they are feeling.

  3. […] up on Ann’s previous post: The rally turned out to be a meeting in Sharpsburg town hall. Law enforcement personnel and the […]

  4. A couple things to consider– the law enforcement of a state only has jurisdiction in that state. A county is a “political subdivision” of the State, and the sheriff of the county only has the power the State allows the sheriff to have. FBI and State Police to not need to ask permission from a sheriff, or even notifiy the sheriff of their own investigation or incident in his county of jurisdiction. Maybe thats how it was before state and federal agencies were around, but not now. The Sheriff’s Office don’t even handle calls for service on state routes in the county. The exception is Rt. 34 and Rt. 11 because the state police gave that responsibility to the Sheriff. A convicted felon is a convicted felon. A crime was investigated and acted upon. Could it have gone differently however? I agree it was over the top. Look at the police protocall and what they thought was happening at the time. When guns are involved, swat is normally used. Reports stated that day that he was barricaded in his home. Why couldnt a couple of officials come to his home, have him answer the door and go from there? Anyway, don’t blame your local state police or sheriffs department for this, they werent even involved. I drove by and saw only a handful of the local sheriffs and state troopers handling traffic control duties for the special “gun unit” and feds. The officials handling the situation were from state police and fbi offices in Baltimore. There is a real difference in the way a person is treated by a police officer here compared to a police officer from Baltimore or D.C.

  5. Terry Porter is not the innocent law abiding citizen these articles make him out to be. He IS a convicted felon and and as such is not permitted to own firearms. If a person is going to flaunt the law they need to be prepared to accept the consequences. Comparing what occurred in Sharpsburg to Waco and Ruby Ridge is ludicrous and an insult to the victims of those incidents and their families.

    • Nancy, We have a legal system that Mr. Porter will have to face regarding gun ownership (if they even have a case). It is the excessive show of force by authorities for a minor gun violation that has some in the community concerned. After all, Mr. Porter never threatened anyone, or took a shot at anyone, so why the SWAT team, hundreds of officers, armored vehicles, helicopters? Are we doing this around the country for small firearm violations? Or, was it because Mr. Porter made the mistake of expressing his opinion about the election to an undercover officer? We still have free speech in America.

      A couple of officers with a search warrant and a knock on the door would have been sufficient for Mr. Porter to be notified of a possible legal problem. And, remember, they never had an arrest warrant when they arrived and launched a “manhunt.”

      It was overkill and I for one expect a complete apology from the Maryland State Police and all other agencies involved for scaring the community and for the utter waste of taxpayer money.

  6. I agree with Ann completely. Today, 75 people, most of whom know Mr. Porter and his family, crammed into a meeting in the Sharpsburg Town Hall to express their outrage over the excessive force used in this case (there was not once voice in support of the police action). Mr. Porter has been a law abiding citizen for the last 30 years since his prior felony conviction. He is a family man, runs his own business, and is a respected member of the community, and how he and his family were treated was shameful. Furthermore, we should all be concerned that, according to the representative of the Md. State Police who fielded questions today, these sorts of “no-knock” search warrants are common practice in Maryland, used “thousands of times” across the state.


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