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Bellingham Police settle suit over man legally carrying pistol in park

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Bellingham Police settle suit over man legally carrying pistol in park

KGMI News Reporting
By Karen Taylor

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Bellingham Police Department has settled with a local gun rights activist over violations of his civil rights.

The case stems from a December 2011 incident when a Bellingham Police officer confronted retired U.S. Army Sergeant John Laigaie in Bloedel Donavan Park because he openly carried a pistol in a holster on his hip.

The suit stated that the officer told Lagaie he could not carry a gun legally in a park, but Lagaie tried to explain that it is in fact legal.

The officer then pointed his service gun several times before eventually letting him go.

Attorney Mark Kaiman represented Lagaie in the case.

Play Mark Kaiman on settlement

The settlement awards Lagaie $15,000 and requires Bellingham Police and 9-1-1 dispatchers to undergo additional training to address these kinds of situations.

Kaiman says the money is more symbolic than anything and is more about the city’s agreement to provide additional training.