Wayne William Wright didn’t leave anybody out when he sued the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for nearly $5 million because the LAPD Gun Unit confiscated and then destroyed his curio and relics firearms collection of more than 350 guns, valued at $707,950. He also is claiming an impressive list of federal civil-rights violations under color of law, including violations of the 4th, 5th, and 14th amendments — and RICO violations by a spate of law enforcement and legal officials.
Wright, a former police officer and veteran, is suing the former and present chiefs of police in L.A. (William Bratton and Charlie Beck, respectively), two policemen from the Gun Unit (Richard Tompkins and James Edwards), the City of Los Angeles; Michael N. Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney, and “JOHN DOES 1 through 50.”
Backstory: Wright’s collectible firearms were confiscated in 2004 after an LAPD sting operation found he possessed an unregistered “assault weapon.” However, evidence presented in the case showed that LAPD ran the sting because the police considered Wright to be a gun trafficker, when he was nothing more than a collector.
He pled guilty to a single misdemeanor count of possession of an unregistered assault weapon, and was sentenced to informal probation. He completed his probation and then applied for and received clearance from the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for the return of the hundreds of firearms and paraphernalia seized by LAPD. Wright tried for years to get his property returned to him.
According to the complaint, LAPD put Wright through a five year odyssey for a chance to get back his collection, but only if he was able to provide proof of ownership of each and every weapon. And then, the complaint recounts, Wright sued them and won. A Superior Court Judge ordered the LAPD to return the property to Wright.
Instead, the LAPD “intentionally and with malice ignored that court order and instead punished Plaintiff and violated his rights by destroying the property in violation of that order,” the complaint states.
You can read the entire complaint here. And you should. Don’t let California happen to your state’s gun laws.
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