DEARBORN (WWJ) – A pair of open-carry advocates who entered the Dearborn Police Department lobby armed with a shoulder mounted firearm, handguns and recording equipment will serve time behind bars.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Mariam Bazzi on Friday sentenced James Craig Baker of Leonard to nine months incarceration in the Wayne County Jail, plus three years’ probation. Brandon Vreeland of Jackson was sentenced to a minimum of nine months to a maximum of five years in prison.
Authorities said Vreeland, 40, and Baker, 24, were trying to make a point about the right to carry firearms on Feb. 5 of this year.
In a video posted by the men, a masked Baker explains the pair had been “illegally pulled over” earlier that day and felt the need to protect themselves as they visited the police station to file a complaint.
Just after they enter the building, police order them to put down the guns, warning that otherwise “you’re dead.”
“I will put a round in you, sir,” one cop says.
The men protest several times claiming what they’re doing is legal before they eventually comply. They were arrested at the scene. No one was injured.
Last month, Vreeland was convicted on one count of carrying a concealed weapon, one count of felony resisting and opposing an officer and one count of disturbing the peace. Baker was convicted on a single count of carrying a concealed weapon.
Both were ordered to turn over all of their firearms to Dearborn police.
“It’s been happening nationwide,” said Dearborn Police Lt. Gary Mann. “So you certainly can’t count any of those incidents out when you have people coming into a station who are armed.”
Defense attorney Nicholas Somberg contended his clients were “peacefully assembling” and broke no laws. He compared what the men did to how Rosa Parks fought for civil rights.