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Michigan is an open carry state... but only if you are white.

Content warning: Parts of this article contain words that may offend some readers.  Please continue reading, with that understanding.

Michigan is routinely classified as an open carry state; however, it's  discretionary if you are not white. If you are not white and the police officer (Detroit Police Officer James Taylor in this case) decides that non whites shouldn't have guns, then you get arrested for concealed carry and the prosecutor and judge can play along and even bar the attorney's from mentioning that open carry is legal during the trial.

No, this case was not argued in the Central Court of North Korea in Pyongyang, this case was argued in Detroit, Michigan. Although it is hard to tell the difference after hearing about this case.

Fortunately,  two attorney's came to the victim's defense. Here is the synopsis from one of the attorneys.

Synopsis by Jim Makowski, Esq.


On September 13, 2014, Elijah Woody, Jr., a 24 y.o., African-American male, was hanging out chatting with 4-5 friends on the sidewalk of an inner city neighborhood in Detroit. WOODY was open carrying a Glock 23 in a Blackhawk SERPA OWB holster and wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a light jacket buttoned all the way up.

At approximately 7:50p, a car containing three officers from the Detroit Police Department’s Tactical Response Unit, rounded the corner and approached the group. The TRU officers dress in BDUs and typically act in a paramilitary fashion.

As everyone in Detroit knows but most of us from the suburbs do not, it is common for DPD officers to stop, frisk, demand identification and conduct illegal, unconstitutional searches of any group of black males on public property. If they find anything illegal or questionable they will then lie as to how they learned of the offense.

True to form, the officers stopped the car, jumped out and demanded everyone produce ID. Officer James Taylor went straight to WOODY and asked him “you got some bullshit on you there,” referring to the Glock. WOODY is immediately disarmed, cuffed and placed in the back of the squad car. The officers did not inquire whether he had a CPL until after transporting him to the Detroit Detention Facility, and charging him with the five-year felony of Carrying a Concealed Weapon.

When the police wrote their report they had to come up with a story to justify their encounter with WOODY. The officers claimed they observed the group drinking from red Solo cups and, as they drove up they “smelled the strong odor of burning marijuana” from a moving car about 15’ away (must be some bloodhound genes there). Officer Taylor claimed that when WOODY noticed their approach he “bladed” his body to limit their ability to see his right hip and started “backpedaling.” Taylor claimed that WOODY then turned full face on, lifted the right side of his jacket and exposed the Glock hidden under his jacket, stating he was “open carrying.”

Shortly after the arrest I was contacted and advised about this gross abuse of WOODY’s rights. I reached out to my good friend Terry Johnson, a fellow 2A defense lawyer, to see if he was interested in jointly defending WOODY. He agreed so we took the case.

At the preliminary exam two of the three officers testified and many inconsistencies became evident in their testimony. Despite these obvious falsehoods the judge decided that there was Probable Cause that a crime had been committed and bound the matter over to Wayne County Circuit Court on the felony CCW charge. We flat out refused to engage in plea negotiations and demanded the matter be set for jury trial.

At 4:49p the afternoon before trial the Wayne County Prosecutor filed two Motions in Limine. A Motion in Limine is a pretrial motion generally filed several weeks before trial, used to exclude certain evidence or limit what the jury is allowed to know. The prosecutor sought to exclude part of the dashcam recordings that, to put it mildly, were uncomplimentary about the general public. (Editor's Note: We understand that while in the cruiser the Detroit Police Officers were heard calling people that were out and about "niggers", "pussies", and "motherfuckers".  Please understand, we don't like printing these words, but we want you to understand the exact nature of the conduct of these officers.) He also sought an order from the judge PROHIBITING US FROM CLAIMING OPEN CARRY AS A DEFENSE. The judge granted both motions and we were forbidden to explain to the jury that Open Carry differed from Concealed Carry and what the differences were.

At trial the next day Officer Taylor claimed that he decided WOODY had a gun on him based upon his “extensive experience” and the fact he was “blading” his body away. When asked whether he yelled “GUN” or in any way alerted his partners of the presence of a firearm he said no and claimed that he was trying to “deescalate” the situation. Yet when the second officer took the stand, on cross examination he claimed that they had a “code word” to alert the other officers of a gun and that Taylor had given it. Further, the dashcam video showed WOODY being placed in the rear of the squad car with the empty holster clearly visible. The jacket the police claimed was hanging down covering the gun was clearly shown in the video to be buttoned all the way up. It became obvious that the officers had fabricated their story, with jurors shaking their heads in disgust at times. The day ended after the first two officers testified.

The next morning the last officer testified. He was the most truthful, stating that he hadn’t really interacted with WOODY as he was on security overwatch, making sure the other civilians present were not a threat. The prosecution rested and we made a Motion for a Directed Verdict, asking that the judge rule that, as a matter of law, the Defendant could not be found guilty. Since the judge is required to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party the motion was denied.

Our first witness testified how the group had been standing around, talking about the upcoming Floyd Meriwether fight that was going to take place that night when the cops drove up, ordered everyone to put their hands up, and directly approached WOODY. The witness firmly stated that WOODY’s gun was not concealed or in any way hidden by a coat.

The WOODY then elected to take the witness stand to testify in his own defense. The arresting officers had not realized that WOODY had pulled out his cell phone and started recording video. While the video only lasted 13 seconds it completely contradicted the police version of the facts, showing that WOODY had his hands up and was 2-3’ away from the nearest person and not moving away. The video cut off as Taylor slapped the phone out of his hand. It was perfectly clear that the cops saw the gun from the moving car and headed directly to WOODY hassle him.

After we rested we again asked the judge allow us to explain in the Jury Instructions that Open Carry is legally recognized and that the jury should be advised of same but we were again denied. The case was sent to the jury at noon. Shortly thereafter the jury asked to see the videos. It took a while to get the videos set up for the jury to review but, five minutes or so after the jury reviewed the videos they came back with a NOT GUILTY verdict.


1. Always get a CPL.
2. Always record when Open Carrying, especially without a CPL.
3. Detroit Police cannot be trusted to recognize your right to Open Carry.
4. Expect dirty tricks from the prosecutor’s office.
5. Make sure you have competent legal counsel.


So there you have it, if you are not white, Michigan is only open carry friendly if the cop decides that he's not going to arrest you anyway and make up charges.

Keep this in mind next time someone tries to tell you that Michigan is "gun friendly". It's not. In fact, if you are not white, you are at risk -- especially in Wayne County and Gennessee County.

I would add that if a non-white person carries a gun lawfully without a concealed pistol license, they should also carry a recording device that backs up to a cloud server in real time as well as carrying contact information for an attorney or two.

Thankfully in this case, the victim had a video that proved that the officers lied under oath, specifically Detroit Cop James Taylor. He was so caught up in his lies and fabrications that he was too dumb to delete the recording that proved his felony conspiracy.

This is nothing new in Michigan. The gun laws  that we are stuck with were mostly passed to disarm minorities (specifically people who are black and Jewish). Apparently some in Michigan haven't gotten the memo that it's 2015.

So has this corrupt cop been arrested by the State Police or by the FBI civil rights division? No. Is this cop under investigation by the Detroit Police? No. Is this dirty cop still driving around Detroit after lying under oath and after committing multiple federal felonies while your tax dollars are paying for his salary and medical benefits? Yes.

Sadly, this is by no means an isolated incident.


I think this article is way too inflammatory.

Personally, I don't think there would have been much difference in almost anything that was described in this article, if the OC'ier were white.

To me, this article is more a cautionary tale of what ANYONE, black, white, or otherwise, might face if open carrying. Particularly the treatment from DPD, WC Prosecutors, and Wayne County judges.

The only difference might be whether these same attorneys would take your case for free.

Personally, although I agree with the open carry concept, and have given it lots of thought, the potential legal reality keeps me from open carrying. I'm white, and I live in Livonia, and I'm not convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, that I wouldn't receive the exact same treatment from LPD, WCP, and WC judges.

And I don't have deep enough pocketbooks to test it.

This article is not inflammatory enough. It is not nearly inflammatory enough.

If you want to hide under a rock and ignore what is happening to your fellow citizens then go ahead. Do so. If you ever need someone to save your ass in an illegal prosecution, you better hope that one of us is a witness or is on your jury to do the right thing and stand up in your favor by nullifying the verdict if need be.

You've got a judge who is biased against the public in favor of cops he knows are lying to cover their own butts and he continually ruled against the interests of a man who was supposed to innocent until proven guilty and stood up for perjurers with badges. Fortunately one of the cops was too dumb to destroy the evidence against them. We need one helluva lot more inflamatory articles to expose the cesspools in OUR legal system and get the blue fence down and start sending these bad cops and judges to jail or at least get them fired.

I've been open carrying for two years now. Cops drive by me all the time when I'm walking. I eat in the same restaurants with them, but, common sense tells me that just in case I need a lawyer one day, I have the insurance.

I am curious to know what the make up of this particular jury was ?

Here is what I know about the "demographics" of the jury:


Caucasian: 6 Women; 4 Male

African American: 1 Female; 1 Male

I am curious to know what the make up of this particular jury was ?

The jury was a mix of white black ages mostly between 25 to 45

I agree that this article is too inflamatory in that this also could easily happen to a white person because of the ignorance and/ or lawlessness of some police officers and officer Taylor personified that lawlessness. Yet I do appreciate the truth that is exposed in that informative piece.

The judge also is the personification of so many other corrupt liberal judges throughout the country who refuse to abide by the rule of law of the Consitution, the Bill of Rights and our MI laws because of the extreme freedom killing ideology practiced by this federal government. He should be taken off the bench and officer Taylor of course should have been prosecuted, but we are seeing over and over again now in America, those who do wrong are no longer held accountable.

Our country is being destroyed by an evil idology men have chosen to follow, beginning with this president and all the way down.

Since the creation of MOC, this treatment has not been imposed on caucasians, only inner city minorities, we've seen this in Romulus and Detroit. And this is just in Wayne County.

This issue has nothing to do with the federal government. These were employees of the state of Michigan and of its political subdivisions who engaged in this conspiracy. I'm not jumping on the Obama boogeyman bandwagon on this. 

The attorney gave a synopsis of this that was dead on and it would be a grave injustice to ignore this.

I've policed in inner cities and rural areas. This is not color blind in my 10+ years of experience. Blacks are targeted by this behavior much, much more than any white individual.  I've seen too much to deny it for the comfort of others.



It's worth noting that the article's author, JCoyne (Jared Coyne) is a member of Federal Law Enoforcement.

I disagree this article is too inflamatory.  The attitudes of the officers involved might, and probably do, weigh heavily on the decisions they made and the actions they took.  Therefore they are germane to the discussion.

I find it disturbing that the judge would not allow the jury to hear the difference in law between lawful unlicensed open carry and license required concealed carry.  If I understand the article above correctly, it seems that the DPD were saying that the carrier had his gun covered by his jacket, and that particular piece of testimony was what was being evaluated for truth.  Thus "I guess" if the jury didn't believe that the jacket covered the firearm it wasn't concealed, therefore not guilty of carrying illegally without a license.  But a juror who didn't know anything about carrying guns might naturally assume all carry requires a license.

Visit the Fully Informed Jury web site at to learn what one juror can do to nullify bad laws, bad cops, bad prosecutors, and bad judges.

One juror can hang the verdict. No one can challenge a juror's decision. The simplest way back to a constitutional Republic is having jurors who know that they are more powerful than the entire legal system and can hang a jury if they're having a bad day, the law is unjusly being applied, it is unconstitutional, the defendant is being railroaded by a kangaroo court, the sentence is too much for the supposed crime or the defendant is being tried for a victimless crime. Visit FIJA and learn how simple and legal it is to defy out of control government.

What the he**!

The story doesn't seem to go into any details about why the judge in the case refused to allow the use of open carry as a defense. Can someone elaborate on why that is?

Because the law doesn't explicitly allow open carry so therefore the judge wouldn't let the jury hear instructions about it. 

Have you filed a FOIA request to get the entire dash am video? It would be very interesting you tube viewing.

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