This week, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Adolphus Washington was arrested in Ohio on a firearms charge. WGRZ reports that, according to a police report, Washington “reached for and displayed a gun while sitting inside his vehicle; just feet away from officers. The suspect did not inform officers beforehand.” Criminal defense attorney Barry Covert spoke to WGRZ’s Kelly Dudzik about Washington’s arrest. The interview video and transcript are below and are also available on the WGRZ website.
Kelly Dudzik: “Joining me now is attorney Barry Covert. Now Barry, how do you think Washington handled the situation? Police in Ohio told NFL.com that he has a proper concealed carry permit in the State of Ohio.”
Barry Covert: “I don’t see that he violated any Ohio law. As long as he had a permit, and he was not stopped by the police, he was not under their authority at the time, he did not have an obligation to do anything differently. Under Ohio law, if you are stopped for a lawful law enforcement purpose, you then have an obligation to immediately tell the officers that you possess a weapon. You also have an obligation to not touch the weapon unless the officers instruct you to do so. Here, the officers did not appear to have stopped him. They were in fact running across the parking lot because they saw him in the vehicle with apparently having a legal weapon, a pistol, so I think that what he did was just fine.”
Kelly Dudzik: “Now, once they get him into the police cruiser, they’re having a conversation with him. We listened to that conversation earlier; do you think that the police reacted appropriately?”
Barry Covert: “I really think that unfortunately, they overreacted a bit because under Ohio state law, they do not have any right to arrest somebody who has a lawful pistol unless that person was first under their control and authority, and then failed to disclose that they had a pistol or handled the pistol. Here he was in a parking lot. He was not near the officers. They apparently saw him at a distance, and then ran towards him. I think that the officers, unfortunately, overreacted and then to tell him that he was lucky that they did not shoot him, just really seems to be an overreaction here. He did not seem to have been under the influence of any alcohol or drugs, he was coherent, he was cogent. I think that what he did was fine, but the officers, I don’t think that technically he was in violation of state law. He should not have been arrested.”
Kelly Dudzik: “All right, Barry, thank you for your analysis tonight.”
About Barry N. Covert
Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.