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Business Owner Arrested On Own Property For Carrying Gun, Loitering

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File photo of a cop car with its lights on. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a cop car with its lights on. (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – A businessman was thrown in jail for carrying a gun and loitering on his own property.

Eric Lee, the owner of a furniture store on in Lithonia, Ga., said he went outside to check on people making noise on his property. That’s when police showed up, cited him for loitering, towed his truck and arrested him on his own property, WSB-TV reported.

“They (the police) just pulled in and said, ‘What is going on? What is going on? Hands up, Anybody have any weapon?’ I said I have a gun. They just grabbed me, took my gun and threw me in the car,” Lee said.

Lee explained that thieves have targeted the store several times in the past and in order to protect himself, he purchased a gun and had a valid concealed carry permit.

“While taking Mr. Lee into custody, I could smell a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage,” an officer wrote in the police report according to WSB-TV.

The business owner explained that the smell of alcohol was from the homeless people on his property who were also taken into custody.

WSB-TV reported that a judge apologized and dismissed the case, but Lee has been trying to get his gun back, a reimbursement for the cost of getting his vehicle towed and an apology from police.

“They gave me the run around. I went to every precinct over here. Not here, try this one, Not here, try this one,” Lee said.

He wrote a letter to DeKalb County Internal Affairs asking for the officers who arrested him to be investigated shortly after the incident occurred.

“I am not sure how one can be loitering on property that they own,” Lee said.  “I am also not sure how one can be carrying a weapon without a permit when they do indeed have a permit for the weapon at issue. I believe my Fourth and Second Amendment rights were violated.”

Lee has recently filed a federal lawsuit claiming his constitutional rights were violated.

“He’s not looking to retire off this or harm the taxpayers, he is looking for some kind of accountability,” attorney Shannon Briley-Holmes said.

A spokesman for DeKalb County police said they cannot comment because of pending litigation, WSB-TV reported.

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