Stopped by police, he'll take aim with lawsuit

Posted: February 14, 2012

MARK FIORINO was legally carrying his .40-caliber Glock on his hip as he walked along Frankford Avenue on Feb. 13, 2011, when he was stopped by Philadelphia police, who pointed a gun at him, harassed him and handcuffed him.

Today, he plans to file a civil suit against the department for the incident.

Fiorino, who recorded his 45-minute confrontation with police and posted it on YouTube, is suing for "violation of his constitutional rights to be free from unlawful searches, excessive force and malicious prosecution," according to the complaint filed on his behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Since I was detained and searched and cuffed and embarrassed in front of everybody, I decided to file a suit," Fiorino said yesterday. "I'd like to see that other citizens who are abiding by the law and want to defend themselves by carrying a firearm and exercising their rights don't get continually mistreated."

It's legal to carry a gun in the city with a valid permit. After an Internal Affairs investigation sparked by two 2010 confrontations between Fiorino and police over his weapon, the department revised its directive related to the law, but failed to advise its officers, the suit says.

Although Fiorino can be heard in the recording explaining that and offering to show his permit to police, he was verbally harassed and threatened.

Fiorino was cleared in October of reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, charges that were filed more than a month after the February incident.

A lawyer for the Police Department told the Daily News last May that officers were being trained and better informed about gun laws to avoid similar encounters.

Fiorino, who grew up in Feltonville but now lives in Lansdale, said he still carries his Glock when he can.

"Growing up in Philadelphia, I knew what it was like outside," he said. "Whenever it's suitable and appropriate, open carrying is more comfortable for me."

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