Gun shop owner wins $20 judgement against sheriff’s department

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OCEANSIDE, Calif. - A local gun shop owner won a $20 settlement against the San Diego Sheriff's Department in a lawsuit over posts he made to the sheriff's Facebook page.

Ares Amour founder Dimitri Karras posted messages to the department's Facebook page that eventually lead the department to take down their page.  Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said the posts included profanity.

“I’m not saying you can’t say it," Caldwell said. "You can say it, and I support you with that right –- you just cant say it on our property.”

“Jan Caldwell came out and said, 'I’m a strong supporter of the First Amendment,'" Karras said. “'I didn’t say you couldn’t say those things. I just said you couldn’t say them on our page.' Well it’s not your page Jan. It’s the public's page.”

Karras says he sued the department in October 2014 for violating his constitutional right to free speech after his comments were removed from the sheriff's Facebook page and he was banned from posting to the page.

"There’s no right for you not to be offended by something," Karas said. "The first amendment protects unpopular speech. That’s the whole reason it exists in the first place."

According to attorney Brian Watkins, Karras has every right to voice his opinion no matter the content.

“If the sheriff’s department promotes something and they want to hear from the public, they have to hear both good and bad,” Watkins said.

Caldwell said comments posted by follower of Karras were profane and inappropriate, and that forced the department to shut down the site.

“We didn’t want to litigate hundred of thousand of dollars toward this case.” Caldwell said.

Instead, they settled case, agreeing to pay about $23,000 in legal fees and $20 to Karras.  The former Marine, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said he had to take a stand to protect the Constitution.

“People gave their lives for those rights, and people should start standing up and protecting them,” he said.

8 comments

  • Early Brown

    Well, done, Marine.
    As a fellow vet, I’m awfully tired of seeing politicians who have no concept of the purpose or value of the Constitution of the United States. I’m pleased that someone had the stones to make a stand.

  • Free Human

    Yippee, Free Speech +1… Censorship +1000 Until people realize that they have been brain-washed & conditioned to comply with authority and be slaves to debt, they will never be free. When are you going to realize that our government is unpatriotic? That voting for those people is UNPATRIOTIC? That following the law & being a good little “Patriot” paying your taxes & obedience is NOT WHAT OUR COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED FOR!!! If you make a choice from fear of either a fine, prison or death, then you are nothing but a slave.

  • Chris

    Lazy reporters parroting previous news releases, lazy editors not proofing stories anymore. “Gun shop” owner would imply they sell “guns”. 2 minutes of research would reveal Ares Armor does NOT sell guns. They do not have an FFL license. They sell gun PARTS. You wouldn’t file a report about Pep Boys being a CAR DEALERSHIP, you wouldn’t file a report about Albertsons being a RESTAURANT and you wouldn’t file a report about Home Depot being a HOME SELLER, so why can’t you be accurate in this? Minutia to you, relevance to the story somewhat minimal, however it speaks to the inability to get even small facts straight. Goes right to credibility and biased reporting. Oh, and it’s spelled “Armor” not “armour”, and while both are correct spellings, you could at LEAST get the spelling of the company’s PROPER name correct. I guess anyone can be a “reporter” these days. They must hand out press credentials in cereal boxes.

  • aaronhorrocks

    I submitted evidence to Dimitri Karras that the San Diego Sheriff’s Department censored my facebook posts, and blocked me.
    So where’s my $20?

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