Longform

Sonia Sotomayor could declare martial law on Kevin Orcutt's nunchaku

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The OPN was among the tools that the DPD and other agencies planned to use to handle the 50,000 protesters rumored to be coming to Denver for the Democratic National Convention last August. The DPD pulled in Orcutt to train officers on how to use the OPN to control passive demonstrators; he spent a week offering several trainings each day. "Not every police officer gravitates to this device immediately," he explains. The main focus of the training involved the possibility that protesters would link arms to create blockades that would stop traffic. Orcutt had the officers sit on the ground and instructed them to do everything possible to not get pulled apart. Then Orcutt came in, slipped one end of an OPN around an arm or leg and quickly disassembled the group, officer by officer.

But the overflowing mass of demonstrators predicted by protest groups failed to materialize, and the glut of officers on the streets were already loaded with shields, batons and chemical sprays. No one needed to use an OPN, and there were no front-page photos giving Orcutt's invention free advertising.

Orcutt is hoping to retire from the force soon, at which point he can devote himself to promoting his nunchaku full-time. And if Maloney has his way, some of Orcutt's OPN promotion will take place from the witness stand while building his case for the Supreme Court. "There's no Bruce Lee 360 spins, curls or figure eights with these," Orcutt says. "If Sonia Sotomayor could see a demonstration of this weapon from someone like me, I think she might have a different opinion about how nunchaku can be used."

His favorite demonstration involves having a person lying face-down on the ground, trying to fight being handcuffed. The person is not a threat, Orcutt points out, "so you can't strike them. And you can't taser them. With the OPN, I won't touch you. I won't hit you. But I will get your arm."

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Jared Jacang Maher