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Gun store owner apologizes for conduct at Tuesday gun rally

  • A Concord police officer moves Ralph Demicco away from the spot where other officers arrest Daniel Musso in front of the State House on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Demicco has apologized for kicking one of the arresting officer's keys as they were detainign Musso.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

    A Concord police officer moves Ralph Demicco away from the spot where other officers arrest Daniel Musso in front of the State House on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Demicco has apologized for kicking one of the arresting officer's keys as they were detainign Musso.

    (TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

  • A Concord police officer moves Ralph Demicco away from the spot where other officers arrest Daniel Musso in front of the State House on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Demicco has apologized for kicking one of the arresting officer's keys as they were detainign Musso.<br/><br/>(TAEHOON KIM / Monitor staff)

The owner of one of the state’s largest gun stores has apologized to the Concord police after kicking an officer’s keys and cursing at others during a tense gun rally Tuesday in front of the State House.

Ralph Demicco, who owns Riley’s Sports Shop in Hooksett, sent a letter of apology Wednesday to the department but said yesterday that he was not yet prepared to comment on it or the incident, which took place about 6 p.m. Tuesday on the sidewalk along South Main Street. Demicco, a gun rights advocate, had been present to protest against a gun control rally.

In a YouTube video circulating yesterday, Demicco is shown kicking the officer’s keys after they apparently fell from his hip during the arrest of Daniel Musso, a gun rights demonstrator who was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and two counts of simple assault. Wearing a forest green polo with the Riley’s logo emblazoned on the chest, Demicco then approaches the three officers restraining Musso and says something inaudible. When two officers instruct him to back away, Demicco points to each and yells, “(Expletive) you.”

In the letter, shared by Concord police Chief John Duval, Demicco describes his conduct.

“As the four people were on the ground struggling, a set of keys lay on the ground,” he wrote. “I did kick them. I had no way of knowing whose they were.”

“I regret having done that as well as being anywhere near what was happening,” he continues. “Not ever having experienced this sort of thing before, I was somewhat confused as to what was transpiring. My actions were inappropriate and I have deep regrets. I have a respect for law enforcement and those who put their safety at risk for the public good.

“Please apologize to your officers for me. Rest assured this incident will not be repeated.”

Riley’s, which has been in business for more than five decades, regularly services local police departments, including Concord’s. There is even a building behind the store devoted exclusively to law enforcement.

Duval would not say yesterday how the episode would impact the business relationship between the department and Riley’s, but he did describe Demicco’s actions during the arrest as disruptive.

“I have no issue with people expressing their right to free speech, no matter the view, but individuals who engage in very close proximity like kicking an officer’s equipment and yelling and screaming expletives at our officers is distracting,” Duval said.

Duval was not present at the arrest but said he had watched several videos depicting it.

“I saw my officers taking their eyes and hands off (Musso). I was very concerned with what I saw,” he said. “It created a difficult situation and an atmosphere where things could have gotten worse or escalated very quickly.”

Duval would not comment on the specifics of the arrest because it is still under investigation. But the YouTube video depicts much of it. At one point about 4½ minutes in, Musso is shown and heard refusing to speak with an officer.

“We have some complaints,” the officer tells him.

“I have no complaints,” Musso interjects.

“That you’ve been getting into people’s faces,” the officer continues, “that you’ve been getting into their pri--”

“Right here, right here,” Musso says, pointing behind the officer and then placing his hand on the officer’s right shoulder, apparently trying to turn him around.

“Don’t touch me,” the officer says, as two other officers grab Musso’s wrists and inform him he is under arrest. As the two try to force Musso’s hands behind his back, the officer he had been speaking to attempts to restrain him with a bear hug. The four men, limbs tangled together, shuffle in unison toward a small wooden kiosk.

“He’s not fighting you,” several people watching the exchange shout.

“I’ve got two boys in Afghanistan,” Musso declares as the officers tell him to cooperate. “No I ain’t gonna put my hands behind my back, and you ain’t gonna put my hands behind my back, and you ain’t gonna trip me. It ain’t gonna happen.”

As the tussle continues, one of the officers pulls out a Taser and points it at Musso’s chest.

“Don’t you dare,” Musso shouts, pointing at the officer. “I’ve got a heart condition.”

The officer continues pointing the device, and Musso appears to continue resisting the other two officers as they try to handcuff him. Moments later, Musso wiggles an arm free, and the officer holding the Taser grabs it and shoots him in the chest. A pop followed by a low buzz is heard as Musso and the officers all drop to the pavement.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

Legacy Comments44

Seriously Bruce, your response is one that totally ignores what I said. You do that on a regular basis with everybody that disagrees with you. You spin it. I said the President has divided us and he has. That has nothing to do with poor parenting. I grew up in a Liberal state and I can tell you that I have witnessed many Liberals who are biased. And a few Reps also. But in the state I grew up in, it is the so called progressives who spew the vile names. Big time hypocrites. The fact is, that bias is ignorant, and those that practice it are ignorant. Nothing to do with politics, but ignorant folks plain and simple. But that is common sense, and that is something that most Dems do not have. The obvious is always a stretch for them.

Also Bruce, GWTW posted what the gun store owner did was stupid and wrong.

GWTW also said she saw no problem with what Musso did.

This is the first -- Madison -- draft of the Second Amendment, clarified: the only "individual" "right" is addressed in the final clause: "The right of the people [as in "We the people"; it is not, "We the individual," or, "I the people"; a militia is not an individual] to keep and bear arms [in well regulated militia] shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia [NOT "individual"] being the best security of a free country [NOT "individual"]: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST] bearing arms [in well regulated militia], shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY] to render MILITARY service [in well regulated militia] in person." -- "Creating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress," Veit, et al., at 12. Nor is the Second Amendment a bar to regulation. That is, it does not protect FROM regulation. That fact is substantiated by the fact of the series of Militia Acts enacted by Congress AFTER the Bill of Rights was ratified. 12/15/1791: Ratification of bill of rights completed. The first two of the twelve proposed amendments having been rejected, the third became the First, and the fourth became the Second. 5/2/1792: Chap. XXVIII.--An Act to provide for calling fourth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions. 5/8/1792: Chap. XXXIII.--An Act more effectually to provide for the National Defence by establishing an Uniform Militia throughout the United States. 2/28/1795: Chap. XXXVI.--An Act to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions; and to repeal the act now in force for those purposes. That Militia Act was in direct response to the "Whiskey" rebellion service [Federalized] of the United States." 7/6/1798: Chap. LXV.--An Act providing arms for the Militia throughout the United States. Which implements US Con., Art. I., S. 8., C. 16, which reads in relevant part -- "The Congress shall have Power To provide for . . . ARMING . . . the Militia."

Nice post. As the facts in your post show, there is little or no historical support for the claim the 2nd Amendment was put in so that citizens could somehow "protect" themselves from the tyranny (real or imagined) of the federal government. After the fiasco that was the Articles of Confederation, the Founders wanted a strong central government. That's exactly what they created. What they did not want was for the fledgling government to constantly have to put down rebellions. Washington himself led the militia to put down a rebellion near Pittsburgh in 1792.

Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, when did the "gun rights" absolutists ever care about history or facts? They see one SCOTUS decision and scream "Settled Law!" Funny thing, though, (forgive the change in topic) today the Reagan/Bush/Bush-appointed court overturned 40 years of actual settled law with their 5 - 4 ruling in the Voting Rights Act case. I wonder how long we'll have to wait for their squeals of protest.

So, in a free society, in a democratic republic, if tyranny reigns, the people have no right to protect themselves. You are also interpreting history and the 'strong federal government' comments shows the ignorance of your views. It may be what you want (control over the behavior of others to match your sensibilities) but that is more heinous than what they were fighting against.

Check your terms. By definition, if a state exists as a "free society", in a "democratic republic", then the possibility that "tyranny reigns" is unlikely, if not impossible. The fact that some may be unhappy with a particular election likely says more about those who are unhappy than it does about the state of the "democratic republic". 150 years ago we fought a civil war over whether this nation would remain "one nation indivisible",with a strong central government, and so that it would become again a "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Some of us seem to still be fighting that fight. Which side are you on? Consider: you claim I'm the one seeking "control over the behavior of others", but I'm not the one seeking to put more obstacles in the way of people voting, or seeking family planning advice, or abortions, or advocating for prayer and creationism in public schools (their absence supposedly contribution to the "decline of morality", in your view), or making it more difficult for people to get access to good health care.Nor am I the one "interpreting history" inaccurately. Your comments on here regularly have more in common with the Confederacy than they do with the Union. You can look it up.

Musso behaved like a bully, attempting to intimidate the speaker at the podium, who was exercising his free speech rights--including the right not to be interrupted. Later, he argued with, and apparently touched the shoulder of a Concord officer. It appears that Demicco's words in his letter do not match his actions. Mauser points out in his post, that it seems clear he knew whose keys he was kicking. It's disheartening, but not surprising, to see the usual suspects on here making excuses for what at best is boorish behavior, and at worst is thuggishness. Which begs the question:at what point does organized thuggish behavior morph into that of the brownshirts? As the Monitor editorial suggested, super-patriot Jack Kimball, who organized the counter demonstration, should have known that boorishness and intimidation would likely ensue. It may not have been intentional on Kimball's part, but what happened was almost inevitable.

Musso should have brought his own podium, then the two could have argued who had the right not to be interrupted.

The right not to be interrupted that is a new liberal right where liberals can interrupt conservatives anytime they want but conservatives can't interrupt liberals. Obama's Amerika so much like Jimmy Carter's America, weak around the world. Horrible economy. Then Obama's adds his 2 cents worth by being so corrupt.

The right "not to be interrupted" is the essence of civil behavior--and good manners. A gun-toting mob shouting down and yelling borders on fascist behavior.

And let me hasten to add that a lack of civility has been demonstrated time and again from the righties on this site, whether it's intimating, or outright claiming that Obama is un-American, to the newly arrived name-calling of the governor ("Haggie"). So it goes, and they ALWAYS come up with excuses for their bad behavior--as their lame responses to the gun rally demonstrated. Not a one of the usual suspects stepped up to say the counter-demonstrators were out of line. And of course, they also excuse their behavior by claiming that Bush was ill-treated by the left. But they misremember the past. The nation rallied around Bush after 9/11. Only after it became apparent that Bush/Cheney had used deceit to draw the nation into war against a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11,after the Bush/Cheney's torture memos, the Downing Street memos, and the "unitary presidency" claim, did things get nasty. And for all those reasons--deservedly so, in the opinion of many. Each has more basis in fact than ANY single claim the right makes against Obama. The right has little justification for their nastiness, which they've repeatedly practiced since 2008--before Obama was even elected, let alone in office. The real explanation is that they're just plain nasty.

I have to first admit that I am not a citizen of your fine state. I saw the video of the altercation at the control rally. The first thought I had of the entire conflict was the total lack of civility. When did we become a nation that wouldn't listen to what the other guy had to say? What is the reason why we couldn't let him speak without disrespecting his right to an opinion? The really bad thing was that I knew the answer. When they first talking about Obamacare I had a lot of questions. There were a lot a lot of things I wanted answered. There were a lot of things I wanted explained. That didn't happen. I wanted to learn something about it all. Sorry, I want to know for myself and not the opinion of whatever TV station is on. I wanted to hear what whomever had to say. That's not what I got.I got yelling and screaming and total disrespect for not only the speaker but also of everyone for there for the same reason as me.Your first amendment rights are not better or more important than mine. When I saw that gentleman yelling beside the gentleman trying to speak, that all came back.You couldn't be civil,you couldn't be polite? You couldn't wait until he was done and maybe debate?You couldn't wait until he was finished to ask questions or express your views? No you decided that your first amendment rights were more important than his. At that point I made my final decision on the whole issue.I am from pennsylvania.I and every member of my family hunts or has hunted.I have no problem with owning guns and hunting.I do have a problem with with anyone that is so unsure of their worth without owning guns.Maybe there is a reason for background checks.Maybe people like you are so uncivil and maybe "doth protest too much",are the cause of the background checks. You and your ilk are not doing your cause any good.You are on the way to making more Americans decide that there might be a more and necessary reason for these checks. Good manners goes a long way. Thank you, Linda B.

Any reason for rookie cops, all filled up with a need to be an "authority" figure took down a man with a heart condition and two other officers with a taser. Nice going. Must have been a nice testosterone high for the high and mighty police state enthusiasts. Concord Police, have for years been traffic cops and boy, do they sure like to run their sirens like good little boys. I could not tell from the video what Musso did but it is hardly anything worse that I saw from public employees protesting or AFSC protesting. Musso did resist arrest but honestly, his arrest was surprising. Also, note to Concord Police, either put your officers on a diet or a workout program. No matter how "skinhead" they look, they are way out of shape.

So, this guy gets "confused" and can't control his "inappropriate" actions when something happens that he's never experienced. Sounds like someone who shouldn't be allowed to own a gun.

Agreed. The irresponsible are full of excuses for their improper conduct. And it is the irresponsible -- who jabber about the Constitution while violating it -- who demand the "Right" to own guns. Why do they need them? -- it's obvious they don't need guns in order to engage in anti-American criminal bullying.

Riley's gun shop owner put himself and the others around him in a very dangerous situation. That situation could have escalated into a minor riot which often times leads to injury. The concord police acted appropriately in trying to diffuse the situation but the individual appeared to want to make headline news. Rallies should never escalate into brawls as no side gets to speak their true beliefs. We have to listen to understand.

Dear Ralph, How sincere can your apology be when you lies IN THE APOLOGY?? “ “I did kick them. I had no way of knowing whose they were.” The tape shows you kicking them RIGHT AFTER they fell out of the officer’s pocket. You, Ralph Demicco, are a bald faced liar, among other things. I hope your business suffers enormously. It is painfully obvious that is the only reason for your feeble, childish apology. Be a man and admit you knew the keys were the police officer’s. Are you capable of that?? I doubt you are.

What would happen in Concord if a young black man was upset about his friend being arrested & he ran towards police, kicked their keys, and said F--- You to a cop?

Welcome to Obama's Amerika. This sure is transformation. So the Monitor's agenda is to destroy a New Hampshire business man while totally ignoring these anti-gun nuts calling the Boston Marathon Bomber a victim. Where is the video of the anti-gun nuts calling the Boston Marathon Bomber a victim. Where is the news coverage of Nanny Bloomberg apologizing for calling a extremist Islamic Terrorist Murderer a "victim?" The Monitor doesn't report news they publish an agenda.

Is speaking a crime? Because I know putting your hands on a police officer and resisting arrest are.

Editor Belman, where was this story in the hard copy.? I am going to go to yesterday's paper and look for a postage stamp size article in the lower right hand side of the paper that has no pictures. (To insure minimal people read it just to say the Monitor had "balance,." I am sure you could find a video of someone reading a cop killer or a mass murderer name off this list but you choose not to show it, why? Also where is the editorial about glorifying terrorists, murderers, and cop killers as victims? I haven't seen that yet.

Found the story. It was exactly where I said it would be, just as I predicted. If you want to sell more papers perhaps be less predictable.

Van, "magnifying glass not included" was in the fine print! LOL

Let's try again to play nice. Last time I checked President Obama was elected to office by voters. That makes him our President like him or not. I am also curious just how the monitor was destroying a NH business? Who was it that swore to the officers faces and clearly kicked the set of keys. Supposedly he is more than happy to take money from the LEO's of this State and caters to them, but when it comes to respect - actions speak louder than words. So just who damaged his business, there will be a quiz later. Also, get real, the whole Marathon Bomber issue was a honest mistake, as was the man who killed Chief Michael Maloney included in fallen firefighter memorial. This is a complete non-issue. Riley's owner did what he was reported as having done. Any argument is really useless.

Mauser, your argument is full of holes and your smugness is sky high but very entertaining. Thanks for the laugh. Lately the Monitor's front page has been used used as a club to ruin lives, from MV students, to a Coach with an alternative life style, and now a Gun Shop owner. All 100% not front page news that was put on the front page for effect only. One would think the Monitor was trying to be a cross between the NY Times and the National Enquirer.

Mr. Mosher, exactly what hole are you referring? I guess you may consider it smug, but nothing I posted was untrue. If it was, what specifically did I say about Riley's owner that wasn't fact? I wish I could say that your reply was amusing, since I have run afoul of the moderator concerning my replies to you, let me just pick the word pathetic as my adjective. What did I say about the Concord Coach, nothing. Did I mention any MV students, not once. So I don't feel that I have anything to apologize for. Since you made this personal I feel that my response is well within the bounds of the published guidelines, well see. Geoff Carson

Mr. Carlson because I couldn't respond to directly to you I will respond here. First of all the Boston Marathon Bomber was not the only non victim and it wasn't an honest mistake it was a dishonest presentation full of non victims but it fooled you. As for the Monitor using their front page as club to ruin lives perhaps you are not paying attention, but I am and I find the act repulsive. If I weren't addicted to reading the local newspaper when I am having my morning coffee I probably cancel my subscription.

You fail to identify the alleged "holes" in his argument. Thus you expose yourself as being irrational, therfore not properly qualified to possess guns.

I am curious just what lives were being ruined, this article was about Riley's, and the possibility that he shot his business in the foot........ Just how or why is reading a list of compiled names a conspiracy and not a careless mistake? For what possible reason would someone intentionally do this. Just whose agenda included reading the names and slipping in the killers name as well? I think on this issue you are reading way too much into carelessness.

You Mr. Demicco are certainly no Dick Riley. Riley's has been around for 50 years, because of Dick and that is a reputation that you only chose to destroy by your ill timed stupidity.

What do you expect from the owner of Riley's?!?!?! There are SO MANY other choices out there when shopping for firearms. I would not give Riley's a dime for anything.

What Demicco did was stupid and wrong. Musso, I dont see what he did was wrong. The police surely could have handled the situation much much better.

You’re right: They should have arrested Mr. Demicco. Apparently in his world, a reasonable response to “not ever having experienced this sort of thing before,” is to point at each officer and explain: “(Expletive) you.“ Sounds like “respect for law enforcement” to me!

Mr. Musso got in the face, literally, of one of the speakers at the rally, John Cantin, a man whose daughter had been murdered by a gun in the hands of her estranged husband. I'm pretty sure Mr. Cantin had not ever experienced that sort of thing before, either. But he maintained a remarkable amount of cool in the face of some pretty obnoxious heckling from someone who was allowed to get 'WAY too close to him.

Don't ever touch a police officer.

Watch the video, and comparing his behavior with the legal standards: 1. In LAW, putting another in fear of bodily harm -- which was obviously Musso's intent -- is the CRIME of ASSAULT. 2. In LAW, unwanted touching is BATTERY. Musso assulated the speaker. And he battered the police officer. When a person so combines ignorance and arrogance, and rejection of the rights of others, none of which is a right, he is obviously not sufficiently rational to be allowed to possess guns.

Just stop....STOP this insanity. Daniel Musso is not a criminal, committed no crime, and this was a complete waste of police service. We all saw what he did, and although we cant hear what he is saying, I suspect it was in regards to the cop killer/terrorists names being read. So now we have a large group of cops time completely wasted when they should have been out in the City stopping real crime, but noooooo, they've got to deal with this. What a waste.....If this group of Bloombergs Billionaire Vigil(antes) did ANY good here in NH...I fail to see it. I hope the Governors of the next stops look at this...and tell them to stay away.

Putting your hands on an officer and resisting arrest are both crimes. We all saw what he did too.

1. In LAW, putting another in fear of bodily harm -- which was MUSSO's intent vis-a-vis the speaker -- is the CRIME of ASSAULT. 2. In LAW, touching another who doesn't want to be touched is the CRIME of BATTERY. Add in resisting arrest -- which is also a crime. 89 per cent of NH residents -- including a majority of gun owners -- want universal background checks. A minority of bullies acting as did Musso are going to guarantee that there will be universal background checks: those who endeavor to silence speech they don't like, and engage in criminal conduct in effort to do so, should not be allowed to possess guns. They are sufficient threat to others and public safety without them.

Interesting position you've put yourself into here, Ralph. "When two officers instruct him to back away, Demicco points to each and yells, “(Expletive) you.” " The intelligent thing for you to do would have been to back out and keep your mouth shut. I hope the law enforcement community takes a hard look at your involvement and attitude toward their profession during this rally. There are plenty of other places for them to do business and I hope they take it elsewhere. Dick Riley would NEVER have done anything like this.

Right almacrae, they should have pepper-sprayed each of the interfering boors but then we would have heard more whineing. These folks completely ignored the female officer and stood there yelling at the cops escalating the situation and putting more folks in harms way.

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