Stephen Nichols, an 84-year-old Korean-war era Army veteran, and former police officer with the Tisbury police department in Massachusettes, was fired, had his funs confiscated, because a waitress overheard part of a conversation between him and a friend, took it out of context, and reported him to the police.
Nichols was a crossing guard at a Tisbury school. One day while he and a friend were at a local diner, Linda Jean’s in Oakbluff, MA, Nichols criticized the school’s resource officer. He said the officer would “leave his post” to visit a local convenience store when kids were coming into school in the morning, and that during that time, someone could potentially “shoot up the school.”
A waitress overheard part of this conversation and reported it, out of context, to the Tisbury Police Department. Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio and another officer visited Nichols while he was in the middle of performing his crossing guard duties and relived him. Subsequently, Saloio visited Nichols at home and told him what he said was a felony. He then confiscated all of Nichols’ firearms as well as his license to own firearms.
“He came up and told me what I said was a felony but he wasn’t going to charge me,” said Nichols. Regarding the license seizure, Nichols said: “…he just told me to hand it over so I took it out of my wallet and handed it to him.”
Nichols was given no receipt or paperwork of any kind for the confiscation of his license or firearms, there was no investigation, no hearing, and no due process.
The entire confiscation and firing were based on an uninvestigated, unsubstantiated complaint by one person; a waitress at the diner who overheard part of a conversation and took it out of context.
“When I was in the United States Army, and it wasn’t just me, it’s anybody who’s in the United States service, if you are on guard duty for eight hours, you didn’t leave that position,” Nichols said. “And I’m just so accustomed to that, that when I see someone who’s suppose to be protecting kids…leave the school unguarded — if you’re on guard duty, you stay there,” Nichols told the MV Times.
In addition to being an officer with the Tisbury Police Department for six decades, Nichols was also a constable and a court officer. Andy Marcus, the patron to whom Nichols was talking to about the resource officer, said the situation was “absurd”, and that Nichols was simply unhappy with the performance of the resource officer and concerned about the safety of the children.
Nichols, who has 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, said: “I would never, ever, ever, harm a child.” He lost his wife two years ago and said of his crossing guard job “I just need something to do to get out of the house and I love the kids.”
It is unknown if Nichols will get his job back, as crossing guards are hired through the Tisbury Police Department.
“My grandson is manager of a gun shop in Worcester, Mass and he’s going to be allowed to come down and take the weapons and sell them for me,” said Nichols.
Just remember, this is happening right now, in America.