On October 1st, 2013 Hartford Police arrested Michael Patterson and charged him with Breach of Peace, Threatening in the Second Degree and 29 felony counts of Risk of Injury to a Child. Hartford police state the cause for the 29 felony charges is for 29 unloaded firearms being allegedly left accessible in the home where they claim a child resided with ammunition in some sort of close proximity.
It is questionable why the Hartford Police Department would make an arrest based on the circumstances that they have used to publicly smear Lieutenant Patterson. The Connecticut General Statutes are quite clear on this issue, and the legislature did not change the relevant elements of the ‘safe storage’ statute when they repealed it and substituted new language on 4/4/2013. CGS §29-37i specifically addresses the storage of loaded firearms, not unloaded.
Accordingly, CGS §53a-217a is a criminal statute that addresses violations of the aforementioned ‘safe storage law’ which spells out a class D felony for a child gaining access to an improperly stored firearm that results in injury or death. The reality of this case is far from a violation of either statute, so instead, the Hartford Police Department decided to charge Mr. Patterson with 29 counts of a more serious class C felony. This disparity means that the Hartford Police Department believes that Mr. Patterson committed a crime worth far more than 29 times the punishment of leaving a loaded firearm for a child to access that results in injury or death when there is zero indication that the firearm was ever accessible or accessed by any child, never mind any injury or death being a result.
With the ridiculous charges applied to Mr. Patterson, he faces a potential sentence of 1 to 10 years and up to $10,000 for each charge. This is twice the potential penalty of Criminally Negligent Storage of a Firearm. A child never gained access to his firearms, and yet he could face up to 290 years in prison and up to $290,000 in fines.
Connecticut Carry plans to monitor this case along with the others we are currently working on to make sure that justice prevails and Mr. Patterson is given his fair day in court. A day in court where the Hartford Police Department will have to answer for their overzealous and hysterical prosecution of a law abiding citizen.
A hearing open to the public will take place in the Hartford GA14 courthouse on October 16th at 10:00 am. Connecticut Carry encourages members of the public and the media to attend the hearing. It should be educational and enlightening.