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Michelle

Possible Ghost Hunters Held at Gunpoint

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Michelle

In light of another thread I felt the need to change the title and put it in this section for all of you ghost hunters. While you may be perfectly respectful and harmless, be aware that there have been many others before you that more than likely were not...especially if it is widely known on the internet.

If any of these nine kids had anything that looked like a gun in the dark, including a flashlight that wasn't on, this could have turned out very badly.

This is simply a friendly warning.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Case of Teacher Holding Nine Teens at Gunpoint Goes to Grand Jury

Friday, November 19, 2010

One night in early September, nine teenagers went to Shipley Cemetery in Chattanooga to investigate a local legend that a ghost light will appear if you driver around the graveyard three times. Local teacher Stacy Swallows, knowing that the graveyard was a popular target of juvenile crime, attempted to make a citizen's arrest.

Swallows blocked the teens' cars from exiting the cemetery by parking the road with his truck, police say. He then confronted the teens and held them at gunpoint using an assault rifle.

Unfortunately for Mr. Swallows, a judge did not agree with his claim that he made a rightful citizen's arrest and forwarded the case to a Hamilton County grand jury. Swallows is charged with nine counts of aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Lawful Citizen's Arrest or a Violent Crime?

"I'm very disappointed," Swallows said after the hearing. The 45-year-old diesel mechanics teacher at Sequoyah High School says he plans to present the citizen's arrest defense if his case goes to trial. He is currently out on bail.

According to the judge, the law allows a citizen who witnesses a public offense or believes a felony is in progress to make a citizen's arrest and detain the alleged perpetrators until they can be put in police custody.

Unfortunately, the judge said, the nine teenagers were not committing any crime. "They were curious ghostbusters, but they weren't criminals," he said, pointing out that the kids weren't even trespassing since, although the cemetery is private, the road is public property.

Swallows' supporters argue that there was reason to believe the kids were up to no good. Residents have found condoms and needles at the graveyard, as well as headstones that had been overturned by vandals.

cont...

http://www.nashvillecriminaldefenseblog.com/2010/11/case-of-teacher-holding-nine-teens-at-gunpoint-goes-to-grand-jury.shtml

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Pauly Dangerously

Michelle,

Great article. ALways good to have this kind of information readily available should anyone interested in starting a ghost hunting team.

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Michelle

Michelle,

Great article. ALways good to have this kind of information readily available should anyone interested in starting a ghost hunting team.

Especially since this cemetery is on a dead end road....I can understand the frustration of the homeowners surrounding it.

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Logical Thought

The locals have a right to be concerned about their neighborhood. However, unless you are a law enforcement officer, pointing guns at people is a bad idea.

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graciousgabby

That's just ridiculous...if he thought the teens were criminals, then call the police! He's damn lucky he didn't get assaulted or worse. To hold teens at gunpoint due to an "assumption"...? Wow. What if his gun had accidentally gone off and killed one of the kids? There are just so many ways this could have gone bad.

This is why there are police. Let them do their jobs.

:no:

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Michelle

The locals have a right to be concerned about their neighborhood. However, unless you are a law enforcement officer, pointing guns at people is a bad idea.

Not a good idea in a lot of cases, but also not a good idea to count on the sanity of others.

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Michelle

That's just ridiculous...if he thought the teens were criminals, then call the police! He's damn lucky he didn't get assaulted or worse. To hold teens at gunpoint due to an "assumption"...? Wow. What if his gun had accidentally gone off and killed one of the kids? There are just so many ways this could have gone bad.

This is why there are police. Let them do their jobs.

:no:

Like I said...that's the chance you are taking!

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Michelle

That's just ridiculous...if he thought the teens were criminals, then call the police! He's damn lucky he didn't get assaulted or worse. To hold teens at gunpoint due to an "assumption"...? Wow. What if his gun had accidentally gone off and killed one of the kids? There are just so many ways this could have gone bad.

This is why there are police. Let them do their jobs.

:no:

He did call the police...and he's lucky he didn't get assaulted or worse? You aren't making a very good defense for innocent teenagers on a ghost hunt.

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scaredsilly

Wow, so he was out crusing the night with a riffle in his car? :mellow:

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Venonat

Especially since this cemetery is on a dead end road....I can understand the frustration of the homeowners surrounding it.

I wouldn't try to hold them under citizens arrest though. At the most I would try to scare the crap out of them so they wouldn't return. Holding 9 kids hostage with a rifle is just a little too far. Especially if he didn't catch them doing something bad. I also wouldn't expect this out of a teacher.

Edited by Venonat

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sinewave

There are lots of hazards facing ghost busters. Abandoned buildings are often unstable and prone to collapse or hide other hazardous conditions. They are sometimes occupied by human or animal residents who may take exception to the presence of thrill seekers. Sometimes the property owners will take the law into their own hands and people will be hurt or unlawfully detained. The bottom line is, if you trespass you are taking some serious risks and it is ALL on you.

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Its Mii

I agree with the whole trespassing thing, but that was a little extreme. The other day I was reading an argument on an other thread over people always trespassing, I feel bad for those people it must suck!! It is totally reasonable to want people off private properties, but usually asking people to get out and reminding them it's private property works, if you don't want to bother talking to them call the cops. However this was on a cemetery, this guy had no right, and a shotgun on a dead end road?? Really?? He is probably crazy and needed a little excitement so he scared some kids. I can't believe that guy is a teacher. He really is lucky those kids didn't react fighting for their lives, they could have thought he was a serial killer or something the way he was acting.

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Michelle

There are lots of hazards facing ghost busters. Abandoned buildings are often unstable and prone to collapse or hide other hazardous conditions. They are sometimes occupied by human or animal residents who may take exception to the presence of thrill seekers. Sometimes the property owners will take the law into their own hands and people will be hurt or unlawfully detained. The bottom line is, if you trespass you are taking some serious risks and it is ALL on you.

Yup...some people naively believe that because they aren't out to do any harm that no harm will come to them. This case clearly proves that people will go to the extreme when they have had enough!

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Michelle

Wow, so he was out crusing the night with a riffle in his car? :mellow:

No...it's practically his back yard.

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Ketzer

I think he went a tiny bit too far. :P

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Michelle

I've been following this story since it happened and his neighbors are all coming to his defense so ghost hunters and vandalism must be a regular occurance.

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scepticalbeliever

Hysteria.

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spider-prime

I'm surprised he didn't get charged with being a vigilante, which is illegal in most places.

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Amariel

While it is understandable for people to be annoyed if the kids were on their property without permission (yes, trespassing) in the article the judge said that the teenagers weren't trespassing because they were on the road which is public property. I agree with the judge's choice to send the case to court because to me it really seems as if this guy was out there lying in wait for people to be anywhere near the cemetery so that he could make a citizens arrest. It wouldn't matter whether it was these teenagers, or young children, or adults - he wanted to make a citizen's arrest. Fair enough that the neighbours have problems with people vandalising the cemetery, but unless they catch people actually doing something illegal they can't really do much about it.

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sinewave

While it is understandable for people to be annoyed if the kids were on their property without permission (yes, trespassing) in the article the judge said that the teenagers weren't trespassing because they were on the road which is public property. I agree with the judge's choice to send the case to court because to me it really seems as if this guy was out there lying in wait for people to be anywhere near the cemetery so that he could make a citizens arrest. It wouldn't matter whether it was these teenagers, or young children, or adults - he wanted to make a citizen's arrest. Fair enough that the neighbours have problems with people vandalising the cemetery, but unless they catch people actually doing something illegal they can't really do much about it.

The point is not whether the guy was right or wrong. The bigger issue here is that while someone is out getting their ghost rocks off they can end up injured or dead.

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scaredsilly

to me it really seems as if this guy was out there lying in wait for people to be anywhere near the cemetery so that he could make a citizens arrest

This is what I felt aswell

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Amariel

The point is not whether the guy was right or wrong. The bigger issue here is that while someone is out getting their ghost rocks off they can end up injured or dead.

I thought that was a given - if people are going to go wandering around condemned/abandoned buildings you have to assume that there is a chance you're going to hurt yourself.

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Shiloh17

This guy can argue "intent" all he wants, but with lack of a crime committed by the teens he is at fault.

But just what might have happened had they tried to leave?

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kiddglock

In most locales, going into cemeteries after dusk is illegal. It sounds like this guy is somewhat of a flake, but...I live in the country. A lot of my ancestors and relatives are buried in a fair-sized cemetery that is a mile-and-a-half out of the metropolis of probably 70 souls which it has served over the years. The cemetery has no close houses and has been the sight of drug deals in the past. Other than the drug dealing, I don't know of many nefarious activities there. I had twin Aunts that were killed in a terrible car accident in 1962. They were well-liked, in their mid-twenties and both unmarried. Not many people around even remember them. One night about six months ago, a person or persons knocked their tombstone over and shattered their picture that was on it. Nothing else in the cemetery was touched. The stone was in good shape and wasn't in a precarious position. There were no animal tracks around. Several little lanes serve the cemetery inside it. The lane is near their stone, but not right beside it. The grave is well back in the cemetery. What I'm getting at is that somebody had to have purposefully targeted their stone. Many of my relatives still around here have different names than theirs now. I have the same name, but have few enemies. It doesn't make sense, but it had to have been done on purpose. At any rate, perhaps this guy had suffered a similar plight, with one of his relatives' stones vandalized.

I don't think he was that wrong in what he did. The Judge seems to be picking nits as the kids were obviously about to enter the cemetery. Plus, unless they are different in Tennessee than here, they shouldn't have been entering at night. Ghosthunters or not, you need permission to enter legally at night. In the end though, it's like I said, he sounds a bit flaky unless there is more to the story. Hopefully he will be warned, the teens will be warned and the dead will rest in peace.

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greywolf

In light of another thread I felt the need to change the title and put it in this section for all of you ghost hunters. While you may be perfectly respectful and harmless, be aware that there have been many others before you that more than likely were not...especially if it is widely known on the internet.

If any of these nine kids had anything that looked like a gun in the dark, including a flashlight that wasn't on, this could have turned out very badly.

This is simply a friendly warning.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Case of Teacher Holding Nine Teens at Gunpoint Goes to Grand Jury

Friday, November 19, 2010

One night in early September, nine teenagers went to Shipley Cemetery in Chattanooga to investigate a local legend that a ghost light will appear if you driver around the graveyard three times. Local teacher Stacy Swallows, knowing that the graveyard was a popular target of juvenile crime, attempted to make a citizen's arrest.

Swallows blocked the teens' cars from exiting the cemetery by parking the road with his truck, police say. He then confronted the teens and held them at gunpoint using an assault rifle.

Unfortunately for Mr. Swallows, a judge did not agree with his claim that he made a rightful citizen's arrest and forwarded the case to a Hamilton County grand jury. Swallows is charged with nine counts of aggravated assault and false imprisonment.

Lawful Citizen's Arrest or a Violent Crime?

"I'm very disappointed," Swallows said after the hearing. The 45-year-old diesel mechanics teacher at Sequoyah High School says he plans to present the citizen's arrest defense if his case goes to trial. He is currently out on bail.

According to the judge, the law allows a citizen who witnesses a public offense or believes a felony is in progress to make a citizen's arrest and detain the alleged perpetrators until they can be put in police custody.

Unfortunately, the judge said, the nine teenagers were not committing any crime. "They were curious ghostbusters, but they weren't criminals," he said, pointing out that the kids weren't even trespassing since, although the cemetery is private, the road is public property.

Swallows' supporters argue that there was reason to believe the kids were up to no good. Residents have found condoms and needles at the graveyard, as well as headstones that had been overturned by vandals.

cont...

http://www.nashvillecriminaldefenseblog.com/2010/11/case-of-teacher-holding-nine-teens-at-gunpoint-goes-to-grand-jury.shtml

sounds like he was going to add nine new ghosts to the graveyard.that's scary.

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