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Man who carried weapons in front of mall charged with disorderly conduct

Published: Thursday, Jan. 20 2011 11:25 p.m. MST

OREM — A man armed with an assault rifle and handgun while walking through University Mall earlier this week has been charged with disorderly conduct. And apparently this isn't the first time police have stopped him for the carrying unloaded firearms.

Orem police released dash camera video Thursday that shows what happened when the officer confronted 51-year-old Philip Taylor on Saturday.

The officer yelled to Taylor, "Keep your hands where I can see them."

Taylor replied, "Utah is open carry, Officer."

When asked why he had a gun on him, Taylor again replied, "Utah is open carry."

"Not open carry for an assault rifle," the officer replied.

Orem city prosecutors Thursday filed a charge of disorderly conduct against Taylor.

It's not the first time police have stopped Taylor over carrying firearms.

"We dealt with him in the middle of December, two days back-to-back for the exact same thing, walking down the street with guns that were not loaded, and in both of those circumstances, we checked him out and let him go like we did here," said Sgt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Police Department.

Taylor was handcuffed and detained for a few minutes on Saturday, while officers determined the guns were unloaded.

While Taylor was not breaking the law for carrying the guns openly, police call his actions reckless.

"When you are a police officer and you know someone has guns, you are going to approach them more cautiously than anyone else," Martinez said. "We handcuffed him to make sure he didn't have any more weapons on him, to make sure the weapons we knew he had were unloaded."

While officers have been criticized by some people who believe they were harassing a law-abiding citizen, police are defending their actions in what they call the interest of public safety.

"We're going to play it safe every time," said Martinez. "I don't think we would change how we did this if it happened again tomorrow; it's going to be approached the same way."

Attempts to speak with Taylor were unsuccessful.

The disorderly conduct charge is a class C misdemeanor, which puts it in the same category as a speeding ticket.

e-mail: spenrod@desnews.com

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