Pearl River, NY — When a SWAT team showed up at his front door and demanded his guns and his handgun permit, Francis Brooke knew to hand it over and ask questions later.
After all, he was a 30-year-veteran of the police force and a former SWAT team member himself.
Brooke assumed that he’d get an explanation and hear the allegations against him, but six weeks after that late September day, he’s still waiting.
They said, “We need to take your guns. They didn’t explain why and I didn’t argue,” said Brooke.
The men at his door took his three licensed handguns and his pistol permit.
What could have prompted this? Brooke thinks he knows where it’s coming from.
Back in 2016, Brooke filed a federal lawsuit against more than one law enforcement agency and several police chiefs.
His lawsuit claimed that he was suffering from “professional retaliation” after he reported improper activities at the Rockland County Police Academy.
And he is no stranger to that academy, because he taught there for years.
Now, when he won’t drop the lawsuit or the accusations against the Police Academy, he’s being harassed by the very people who are supposed to protect him.
Technically, Brooke was not served a Red Flag Protection order, but instead was given a letter from the Rockland County Judge. Judge Kevin Russo stated in his letter, “I have been advised that you have engaged in an ongoing course of erratic, threatening and harassing conduct.”
No accusers, no specific allegations, just that.
Even after Brooke filed several Freedom of Information Act requests with the different police departments involved, he got no answers.
In fact, his FOIA requests were initially denied entirely.
Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied
Brooke pointed out that NOT using an official Red Flag order actually left him with less rights than if they had used one.
“I almost want it to be the red flag law because then I’d have a hearing within 3 to 6 days,” said Brooke.
A month and a half later, Brooke still doesn’t have a hearing date. He doesn’t have his guns to protect himself.
This would be a serious thing for any citizen, but especially for a retired cop who has more criminal enemies than the average concealed carry holder.
When asked why there’s no hearing date yet, Judge Russo said he was too busy.
Or rather, is calendar “is particularly heavy at this time with a number of criminal trials and hearings. This a non-criminal case.”
“I have never been accused in any court of harassing or threatening anyone in 32 years of law enforcement,” said Brooke. “This is a total violation of my rights and my reputation. This continues the ongoing spiral of destroying my reputation. I had a stellar law enforcement career, so to be in this position, it’s shocking. I can’t get a law enforcement job in the county. Someone needs to be held accountable.”
When contacted, the Mayor of Piermont never replied.
The Orangetown Police Department simply said that no official investigation occurred against Brooke so there were no FOIA documents to be released to reporters.
And the Rockland County Attorney said that Brooke “has the story wrong.”
There’s something wrong with this story, that’s for sure.
If even half of what Brooke says is true, this should scare gun owners everywhere.
If they can confiscate the guns of a man with this many decades of involvement in law enforcement, none of us are safe from this tyrannical overreach.