Sheriff’s deputies in Hamilton County beat a plumber while making his second arrest in a case, according to Ray Rzeplinski.
Mr. Rzeplinski was beaten Friday Sept. 4 by SWAT fugitive task force in his arrest in a gun ownership case in which he is being charged with being a felon having control of a rifle and pistol collection.
Mr. Rzeplinksi, who runs a profitable business, Ray’s Plumbing, says he was clubbed on the back of the head with a rifle butt while lying on the ground handcuffed, with a muzzle placed against his ear.
Mr. Rzeplinski says he was under orders to report for booking in his indictment in October.
No answer from department
The following questions were ignored by sheriff’s department spokesman Matt Lea, who sent two year-old press releases in response.
1. Why was this man arrested with militarized and violent tactics that involved blocking a road? Could a phone call to Mr. Rzeplinski to ask him to show up for booking worked? Why violence and a show of force?
2. Mr. Rzeplinski is out on an OR bond, with orders to show up for booking by Oct. 14, Mr. Rzplenski says Judge Tom Greenholtz told him at a hearing.
3. While being arrested Sept. 4, he was on his belly with his arms cuffed behind his back. He says a deputy smashed him in the back of his head with a rifle butt and put the barrel against his ear and said, “If you move, you are a dead motherfucker.” I would like your discussion about this report.
4. Mr. Rzplenski was beaten when he was arrested the first time in this case in Aug. 16, 2019, at his residence. He is under indictment with 10 counts, including 8 “felon with weapons” charges. Are these pummelings of Mr. Rzeplinski a policy of Hamilton County sheriff’s department that allows these acts against this owner of Ray’s Plumbing, a successful taxpaying corporate citizen of Hamilton County?
The first beating was so bad that Mr. Rzeplinski was in the ICU for several days.
The case against Mr. Rzeplinksi bares witness to extraordinary violence by the police establishment, but also unusual doings by the grand jury, who indicted him under the name Paul John Price “alias RAYMOND J. RZEPLINSKI.” The indictments cite court records from Bradley County for a 1996 felony conviction for burglary. Eight of the 10 counts are for “unlawfully and knowingly possess[ing]” specific weapons while a felon.
Felon means someone convicted of a crime for which the prison sentence is one 365 days or more, and is a mala prohibitas “paper” offense without there being any harm to anyone, not even the “peace and dignity of the State” as mentioned in the indictments.
Despite that record overseen by the Bradley County archivist, Mr. Rzeplinski insists he was guilty of a misdemeanor, and doesn’t remember evidence against him set 24 years ago by way of an infamous crime. He says he lived a life as a gun owner since that case, with no awareness of his felony conviction.
He got a handgun carry permit, had background checks for felonies by the TBI to win plumbing contracts with government bodies, and was known by officers to be someone who carried a gun.
Mr. Rzeplinski is looking for a lawyer to help in his defense, and is establishing his defenses himself until he finds one.
His defense appears an innocent state of mind, or lack of mens rea, which is alleged in the indictment and has to be proven at trial. The numerous indicators of his being only a misdemeanant are suitable as reliance of his state of mind, and proof of his innocence.
Barebones press release 2019
“Earlier tonight, at approximately 5:50 pm, HCSO deputies responded to a burglar alarm call near the 1500 block of Crabtree Road. Upon arrival, a male suspect approached deputies and threatened to use firearms if they came near his property along with other threatening comments. Deputies requested SWAT personnel to respond to the scene. At approximately 8:15 pm, the suspect was taken into custody.” A second police statement the next day lists the charges: Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a prohibited weapon, felony reckless endangerment involving a deadly weapon, and resisting arrest.