...government is the servant and not the master of the people...The people...do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know...Chapter 552.01, Open Record, Texas Govt. Code (click here to read the law)
Temple – These people are wrong, and they know it. It shows.
City and County officials hereabouts, police and prosecutors, judges and lawyers, are extremely fearful that the people will see that.
A soldier – a Master Sergeant, a native of the city and a 15-year veteran of the Profession of Arms – is busy showing all this to We The People, his neighbors, in an effort to make us all aware that, as a material fact of our lives, most of what passes as the official record of the actions of police and lawyers who work for We The People is extremely murky – in fact, downright abstruse, often completely unavailable.
M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham is using a video camera, a computer, an assault rifle, and a pistol to demonstrate his point. He furthermore wants to burn it in by using the official record of arrest, the all-important affidavit of probable cause, dispatcher tapes, and Dashcam video to memorialize in an appearance in County Court-at-Law, that, though it's not against the law to carry a rifle in this state, it's against the law to upset people when you do it...
...against the peace and dignity of The People of the State of Texas.
His war experience is that of military intelligence, and he has been involved in the art, the practice, of counterintelligence in a protracted war of counterinsurgency against war lords and religious zealots, followers of a Prophet, the bitter enemies of a rival sect, in two very problematic areas of the world – Iraq and Afghanistan.
He's at home, now – a warrior returned from the field, a man who admits he is beset by the invisible scars of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - and on a Saturday morning in March, he decided to take a 10-mile hike with his son, a Boy Scout.
Dressed in black, a red bandana tucked under his boonie hat, which he had draped across his neck to shield it from the sun, he carried an AR-15 on a single-point sling, suspended from his chest, locked and loaded. That's how he marched into hell that Saturday, around noon.
His .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol he concealed under the untucked tail of his black t-shirt, where he carried it lawfully, along with a concealed carry handgun license he obtained from the State of Texas.
It is a matter of record that all this alarmed someone, a citizen, according to the Temple Police Department, who called the 9-1-1 dispatcher to complain, and three officers responded to a location on Prairieview Road, a lonely stretch of rural blacktop near the airport, not far from a rather genteel area of apartments and single family dwellings, industrial locations, and strip malls.
What happened then is a well-documented matter of record, a skirmish, a battle in the culture war between statists and constitutionalists.
It is an event recorded with the Sergeant's personal video camera, which he handed off to his son when Officer Ermis began to manhandle him.
The veteran policeman, shouting and jerking the sergeant around by his shoulders, cuffed his hands behind his back, taking the rifle and handing it to a fellow officer.
Neither of them made any apparent move to disarm the weapon, remove the magazine from the lower receiver, clear a round from its firing chamber. One shudders to think.
Sgt. Grisham is just as voluble, yelling at Ermis about filing a civil suit. The tension is escalated by turns, building on layers of adrenalin and bile, their voices becoming louder and louder in the strophe and anti-strophe, as it was acted out for the cameras – with never a dull moment to spare.
As he disarmed the veteran soldier, Patrolman Ermis confiscated his weapons and arrested him, not for carrying them loaded, openly, but for alarming folks by doing so.
So far, the sergeant hasn't gotten his firearms back.
The People of the State of Texas still have those weapons, kept under lock and key, to serve as key evidence to be used against C.J. Grisham, the alleged Enemy of The People Of The State.
Every record of these events, every scrap of paper and audio impulse recorded on microchips, is under a total, all-out embargo imposed by The People Of The State, The City of Temple, The County of Bell.
So far, We The People have obtained an arrest and offense report, the storied and hallowed “first page” police blotter information law enforcement types all across the Lone Star State are so loathe to bestow upon ordinary citizens who do not serve as the town criers for the mercantile class and the duly elected pezzonovante, both small-bore and .50-caliber. I'm talking about the ink-stained wretches folks call The Working Press, or their first cousins, the dudes and dudettes with the big, black cameras and satellite trucks, The Media. After much consultation and flurries of e-mails, We The People have alsoobtained copies of the Affidavit of Probable Cause, an instrument which clearly shows Unto The Court that C.J. Grisham got onsomebody's last nerve, got loud about it, behaved in an angry manner,and went to jail for his alleged crime.(click here for a previous report)
You had best believe the operative words are LOUD and ANGRY. That will do it, every time, when you are dealing with the constabulary on all continents, sailing right round on Seven Great Oceans, We The People will warrant, attest, affirm and SWEAR OUR LOUD.
Naturally, all these items have official claw marks - all over them.
Challenged by citizen journalists, The People Of The State have sought an opinion from the Attorney General, who concurs with their reticence by venturing the opinion that, should We The People learn the truth, it will prejudice We The People, and somehow spoil the chances of The People of the State for convicting M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham for his actions, the act of rudely displaying a firearm to his fellow citizens, thereby causing alarm.
Who knows, they may have to go plumb to Georgetown – maybe Brenham, or even downtown Bryan – to find a panel of veniremen who have not heard of the Saturday morning Battle of the AR-15 carried on the Boy Scout hike.
The alleged offense is a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $2,000 or six months in the local hoosegow – or both.
Seriousbidness, the equivalent of driving drunk, The People of the Statedon't take it lightly. The Sergeant and his attorney may have the9-1-1 recordings and Dashcam tapes to use as exculpatory evidence,but they cannot distribute them on the Internet, according to aruling by a Visiting Judge. Ta-Da!(click here for a previous report)
If anyone ever doubted that the video camera is as potent a weapon of war as the nasty-looking little black plastic battle carbines they call Assault Rifles, all the foregoing should clear that up - forever.
Here is an abbreviated account of the contest in creative urination that has subsequently ensued between We The People and The People of the State over these weighty issues.
The whole world is watching.
In an August 2011 opinion, Asst. Atty. Gen. Bob Davis assured the City Attorney of Fort Worth that it's proper to withhold an affidavit of probable cause if it “would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime. See Houston Chronicle Publ'g Co. v. City of Houston, 531 S.W.2d 177 (Tex. Civ. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1975) (court delineates law enforcement interests that are present in active cases), writ ref'd n.r.e. per curiam, 536 S.W.2d 559 (Tex 1976).”
One wonders. In this case, the defendant made a complete video record of his own arrest, and published it to the world – long and loud.
On April 1, Glenn Shoemaker, the Records Custodian of the Bell County Communications Center wrote County Attorney Darrell Guess, asking, “I have received a request from Kurt Glass, attorney for Christopher Grisham (Cause 2C1302656) for all information related to this incident. Do you wish that I file a request with the Attorney General's office to withhold this information, since it is a pending prosecution?”
Mr. Guess replied, “That would be our preferred practice.”
On the same day, Mr. Shoemaker wrote the AG's office, saying “The County believes the information should not be released based on section 552.108, pending prosecution.”
As if by magic, 10 days later, Asst. Atty. Gen. Sean Nottingham (!) of the Open Records Division wrote back on April 11, saying “You inform us the Bell County District Attorney's Office (the "district attorney's office") objects to disclosure of the submitted information because its release would interfere with a pending criminal prosecution. Based on your representation, we conclude the submitted information may be withheld on behalf of the district attorney's office under section 552.108(a)(1)of the Government Code. See Houston Chronicle Pub1'g Co. v. City of Houston,531S.W.2d 177(Tex.Civ.App.-Houston [14thDist.] 1975)(courtdelineates law enforcement interests present in active cases), writ ref'd n.r.e. per curium, 536 S.W.2d 559 (Tex. 1976).
“This letter ruling is limited to the particular information at issue in this request and limited to the facts as presented to us; therefore, this ruling must not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other information or any other circumstances.” Though the request for an AG's opinion was made by the County Attorney's office, for some reason, the Open Records Division referred to the District Attorney's office in its response.
It's as common as can be, this minuet regarding the 10 days an attorney has to seek the opinion of the AG's office, and their subsequent denial – or sometimes favorable ruling – either allowing, or disallowing a release of the records that belong, by and Act of the Legislature to We The People, and not the public officials who make decisions as to what it's good for We The People to KNOW and when We The People should GET ACQUAINTED with the facts.
- The Legendary