The internet exploded overnight with the story of a veteran involved in a standoff with police. Throughout the incident, he was posting live updates on social media, suggesting the actions taking place by police were a result of “Red Flag laws”.
As you’ll find with any rapidly developing story, information came out fast and furious from the veteran, the police department, and everyone else. Because we are a media outlet and not a jury… it’s our job to report on as much of the information as possible in as unbiased of a way as possible.
At Law Enforcement Today, we strive to bring our viewers breaking news about everything within the military and law enforcement communities. Our team of writers is made up largely of active and retired law enforcement. For those of us who aren’t personally law enforcement officers… many members of our immediate family and most of our friends are.
So imagine our surprise when the Sheriff involved in the standoff between New York authorities and a combat military veteran on Saturday night accused us of “domestic terrorism” for reporting on the situation.
His email came after we released the story, in which we noted inconsistencies amongst media outlets.
Here’s a portion of what Democrat Sheriff Robert L. Langley Jr. had to say:
Your article is which is titled “Afghan vet’s standoff with police over red flag laws just broke the internet” is an example of poor reporting and lack of facts as it contains numerous inaccuracies.
The information is out there and the writer can even be bothered to read the facts before publishing them.
This article is yet another example of domestic terrorism by spreading lies and fear which places not only the officers in the Town of Carmel in harm’s way, but it is placing the men and women of my department in harm’s way along with their families.
In this volatile society where law enforcement is labeled the enemy by so many radical groups in the USA it is apparent that LET does not take the safety of our LEO’s into consideration but would rater side with fake news to further the targeting of LEO’s.
The incident that took place in the hamlet of Mahopac on November 23, 2019 was the execution of a Felony Warrant and at no time did anyone mention or have information about the seizing of any firearms.
…It is sad that no one is looking at the fact we have a veteran who suffers from PTSD who is falling through the cracks of our veterans administration. I thank Mr. Booth for his service to our great county which failed him as it has many of our veterans. I know he will now receive the proper care he needs while in the custody of our jail and we will do everything to ensure he is set up to succeed upon his release. I pray that Mr. Booth overcomes his personal struggle with PTSD so that he may one day reunite with his family.
Sheriff Robert L. Langley Jr.
If Sheriff Langley had read the original report, he would have noticed that we merely reported on the facts and asked questions — largely based on the inconsistent reports coming in from the media.
We even noted that there was no seizure of weapons during the event. Yet somehow bringing the media’s reports to light and talking about the facts of the story is now “domestic terrorism” and a direct threat to LEO’s.
The alarming comparison of the article to “domestic terrorism” calls into question the sheriff’s ability to interpret the laws as they are written and forces us to question what else he’s interpreting as “extremism”.
First of all, Sheriff – how DARE you suggest we would do anything to place men and women in uniform in harm’s way. Your comments are an insult to your office.
We are the ONLY law enforcement owned media outlet that reinvests our profits into telling the stories of wounded and fallen officers. I personally have interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of survivors of officers killed in the line of duty, severely wounded men and women and both active and retired law enforcement to give them a voice – on our dime. I’ve cried with them. I’ve prayed with them. Law Enforcement Today has fought WITH and FOR them.
We are proud and honored to be partnered with Concerns of Police Survivors, The Wounded Blue, Save A Warrior and countless other organizations with the sole purpose of doing more to fight for and protect officers and their families. Shame on you.
We are domestic terrorists because YOU are trying to censor people?
Tell that to the bereaved families trying desperately to get school shootings termed domestic terrorism, which is a genuinely accurate use of the term. I wish people wouldn’t throw terms like that around so lightly. It cheapens them and it cheapens your office when you are so flippant.
Had you taken the time to actually read the article, you’d see that we had presented everything that your department had publicly shared with the media – despite the fact that the narrative continued to change as new details emerged.
We believe in the power of the press and the necessity of the freedom of the press to report information and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
It’d be nice if you cared as much for the Constitution as you do screaming “fake news” without any basis. I understand that when running for office ran on the “Democratic and Women’s Equality lines”, you could get away with saying whatever you want to pull votes. But now that you’re in office, we expect more out of you.
You talk about the safety and security of LEO’s, Sheriff. We’re on the same page. But we – like those in law enforcement – believe in the safety and security of all Americans, including those who serve and protect our communities and our country.
Last I checked, it’s your county that was voting on a new ordinance requiring gun owners to completely lock up their firearms in their own home or face jail time.
It’s your state that’s removing access to countless firearms.
It’s your region that’s requiring everything from a database of who owns what to strict restrictions on how much ammo a person could put in a gun.
If you’re going to call a media outlet to the carpet, Sheriff, make sure you do your homework first. Because you just brought shame to your political office by suggesting that the MOST pro-law enforcement, pro-military media outlet on the internet is involved in “domestic terrorism”, simply because you decided people shouldn’t be allowed to hear any voice other than yours.
Here’s where we might be able to find common ground.
As I’ve said in the past, I strongly believe that “Red Flag Laws” – whether or not they were at play here – are a sinister way of dividing the law enforcement community from both the veteran community and civilians. Here’s why.
Who has typically had the backing of law enforcement? It hasn’t been Democrats, Sheriff (yes, I’m well aware that you’re one). It’s been conservatives.
But as we’ve seen here, even the suggestion that something is an overreach of the government is enough to divide law enforcement from both veterans and civilians. We’re lucky that this divide – whether it was Red Flag confiscation or simply the perception of it – didn’t result in injuries or death of civilians or law enforcement officers.
Here’s a simple suggestion. If you really believe in keeping EVERYONE safe, it’s probably not a good idea to take the biggest supporters of law enforcement and refer to them as “domestic terrorists” simply because you were on a power trip. Your office deserves better than that. Your constituents deserve better than that. The COUNTRY deserves better than that.
And so… once again… here’s the original story if you missed it:
Authorities say that man in New York was involved in an hours-long standoff with police on Saturday night.
And during the negotiations, he continuously posted to social media in a desperate plea to come to a non-violent conclusion, according to Fox.
Those who were active on social media at the time may have very well seen posts or updates related to the altercation between the individual and local authorities, with various pro-second amendment-based Facebook groups having a vested interest in the ongoing story.
The reason being was that according to various social media posts, the standoff stemmed from local authorities trying to enforce a red-flag based complaint against the individual; however, the police involved have quite a different take on what led to the standoff.
During the early afternoon of Saturday, November 23, Alex Booth was adorned in military gear, sipping what might be whiskey in a tin cup while detailing on social media that the police were after him because of a 30-round capacity magazine, as evidenced by the video compilation of his posts.
Booth had barricaded himself inside of his home after police began rolling into the area. After a seven-hour standoff, Booth finally surrendered.
According to police, online comments on Booth’s Instagram account were only adding fuel to the fire regarding the standoff. People were responding from all over alleging that they’ll come to Booth’s assistance if things started to go south within the Westchester County area.
Chief Michael Cazzari of the Carmel Police Department commented on Booth’s state of mind.
“This is a person in crisis, having mental illness, having issues and he didn’t need the people on social media telling him that his rights are being violated. He needed help. Medical help.”
Police were called to the scene in Mahopac, part of Carmel, in Putnam County, around 2:00 p.m. Saturday responding to a call of suspected shots fired in the area.
Sources told the station the suspect suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, likely stemming from the tour Booth had in Afghanistan back when he was only 19 years old.
Negotiators were aware of the suspect’s mental condition as they tried to convince him to surrender, which likely aided in their efforts to deescalate the situation. The suspect ultimately surrendered peacefully around 9:30 p.m. that evening.
Last night an IG user #whiskey_warrior_556 aka Alex Booth updated in real time his standoff with police
After a 6 hr standoff, Booth surrendered. Police said that Booth was subsequently arraigned on charges related to incidents involving his wife, not the stand off pic.twitter.com/rOzCzEipCg
— 🚨Mr. Pescatore🚨 (@JoshPescatore) November 24, 2019
A press release from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said that an officer went to the home at 2:19 p.m. on November 23 after a local deputy heard what he believed was a gunshot coming from Booth’s home.
Nearby homes were evacuated and additional units were called to the scene. Once officers arrived in the area, the sheriff’s office said that’s when Booth became barricaded in his home.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release.
“The officer hearing what he believed to be a gunshot come from the residence requested backup. When additional officers arrived Mr. Booth was observed in the doorway acting in an agitated state before returning inside his garage apartment and barricading himself. As a safety precaution officers evacuated the neighboring houses and alerted the Putnam County Emergency Response Team and Negotiation Team.”
After Booth was taken into custody, police had subsequently arraigned him on multiple charges related to incidents associated with a past domestic incident involving his wife.
Booth was wanted on a felony warrant issued by Thomas Jacobellis charging him with second-degree burglary, and several misdemeanors, including criminal trespass, criminal contempt, aggravated harassment and petit larceny.
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Despite the slew of minor charges that accumulated from previous investigations, Booth is not facing any charges in relation to the standoff. His arraignment was held at Carmel Town Justice Court.
The press release ended by saying that there were no weapons or any ammunition that was seized from Booth’s home despite “false social media posts to the contrary.”
Many on social media believed that Booth was a victim of the Red Flag Law in the state of New York.
My tweet got deleted.
Current red flag standoff going on in Putnam County, NY.
Putnam County SD is attempting to arrest and/or injure a veteran who has been popped with red flag laws for owning 30 round rifle magazines.
— Mike Ellison (@DualPipeDodge) November 24, 2019
While an interesting and almost confusing string of events happened that day, it makes one wonder which version of events are the truth.
Are we to accept the official statements provided by police alleging this all stemmed from a shots fired call, or was this a red-flag enactment gone awry?