Hutaree militiaman Thomas Piatek gets his guns back
July 6, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Earlier this year, Thomas Piatek of Indiana was freed by a judge who tossed out charges he and fellow militia members plotted to overthrow the federal government. Friday, Piatek got his guns back.
Piatek arrived at the Hammond, Indiana, police station eager for the justice inherent in federal authorities having to give him back his property.
Piatek came armed.
"Just a piece, you know, whatever," Piatek said. "You got a phone, keys, whatever. It ain't a thing with me."
Then the unloading began: 41 guns, some 100,000 rounds of ammunition, crossbows, swords -- enough for Piatek and his supporters to have to make two trips home.
"Why did it reach this point?" Piatek said. "I don't know. Corruption? Who knows?"
Piatek beat federal conspiracy and sedition charges in the Hutaree militia case -- a judge ruled in March the government could not prove the man and others had a plan to kill police officers and overthrow the government.
Piatek spoke to reporters about his two years behind bars:
"A big part of my life is taken away," Piatek said.
"Things don't always happen in your life the way you'd like, but I'm very proud of my brother," said Tom's brother Stan Piatek.
And, while a watchful older brother urged the former suspect to get some water, Piatek's lawyer did inventory.
"This is a victory for the Constitution," said Piatek's lawyer Arthur Weiss.
"I showed great restraint," said Pieatek. "If I'd have done something, I would have done something."
Tom Piatek just got his job back as a truck driver in northwest Indiana. Missing from his belongings Friday were his three German shepherds which were also seized.
Piatek does not rule out rejoining a militia some day.
indiana news, ravi baichwal
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