Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rifle-toting set seeks shade at the Courthouse

Belton – The summer sun baked supporters of Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham Wednesday while prosecutors played a Dashcam video of his arrest by Temple Police for “rude display” of an assault weapon.

The Bell County Sheriff allowed the assault weapon-bearing advocates who favor openly carrying long guns to seek shade under a canopy at the entrance to the jail and courthouse complex Wednesday.

Carrying a rifle or shotgun in public is not illegal in Texas. Brandishing the weapon or carrying it in a manner calculated to cause alarm is a violation of the Disorderly Conduct statute.

According to R.S. Gates, prosecutors “had it set up so the video was not visible, but those in the gallery could hear the audio.”

The public has viewed video recordings gone viral of the arrest depicted in video recordings since the date of the arrest in March. Because the offense is pending in County Court at Law, the Bell County Attorney has so far refused to release the official police Dashcam video. In those recordings, viewers are able to see that Sgt. Grisham became voluble and argumentative about the confiscation of his loaded AR-15 and .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. He is currently stationed at Ft. Hood.

Mr. Gates promptly made a Public Information Act request for a copy of the video on “a piece of paper torn off some recycled paper,” eschewing the use of the designated form supplied by the attorney's office.

I am not real sure why it pisses government entities off so much to receive one of these. Many think you should submit the request on a form they provide and wait 10 days until they decide to consider the request. I think some don't like that the law does not provide for their desires, but what really hacks them of is when a lowly citizen points out they are obligated to make the information available 'promptly' and the information is available during office hours.”

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