About dark-thirty on Saturday, after 24 hours in the county jail, authorities released Gary Hays with no written proffer of charges, after arresting him and confiscating his black powder revolver on the Capitol grounds the previous afternoon, Friday, 13 September.
It wasn't his first go-round with the Department of Public Safety security squad at the State Capitol. The previous Friday, 6 September, he received a warning citation for the same event.
Unsatisfied, he returned one week later after spending a day conferring with lawyers retained by a legal protection insurance fund that provides defense in courts of law to subscribers who run afoul of the law over firearms violations.
One snag is this. A replica weapon of a firing piece manufactured prior to 1899 is not classified in Texas law as a “firearm.” His question, straightforward enough, was if he should be arrested, would attorneys still represent him in court.
When they said yes, he paid for his insurance policy, gathered his weapon and wheelchair, and arranged for a friendly activist to transport him to the State Capitol.
Hays is a paralyzed Vietnam-era veteran who became a quadriplegic ten years ago after an auto wreck pulverized a couple of his cervical vertabrae. He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.
In fact, according to Marcy Hays, his wife, when he fires a weapon, he pulls the trigger with fingers from both his right and left hands.
A U-Stream video of the event plainly shows that it took about a half-hour for him to attract the attention of an officer. When he did, it took them quite some time to make a decision to arrest him, and then only after he insisted.
At that point, he told me in a private conversation, some officer standing by grabbed his right hand and twisted his arm. The video does show that.
They assured him he would not be hurt, that they would see to it that any medical services he might require would be provided. In fact, the officer is clearly heard saying, “They have to take care of you.”
How true. It is written.
Hays said that after he made the street, he was going through his “cripple bag” that is suspended from the back of his off-road, big-tire manual wheelchair and found a summons that showed he had been arrested for the disorderly conduct statute, Sect. 42.01 (a)(8), for the Class B misdemeanor offense of “rudely displaying” a firearm “or any other deadly weapon in a manner calculated to cause alarm.”
The legal instrument, he said, indicated no court date and no procedure to follow to dispose of the charge.
He thought he was a free man.
All that changed Monday afternoon, when it was learned that a “mistake” has been made at the Travis County Jail, that he should not have been released without being charged and informed of what day to appear before a County Court-at-Law Judge.
Hays said he is headed the opposite direction. Has plans elsewhere. Isn't interested in seeing the cops in Austin about anything, since they turned him loose. Gone fishing. Adios. Etc.
Said Jason Orsek, a board member of Open Carry Texas, “The DPS Captain (Sheere) said in a phone conversation at 4:30 p.m. “The arresting officer is claiming Gary pointed the revolver at him.”
There is a a video – in fact more than one video – of the entire transaction. No one has seen any such thing in those videos.
|Gov. Rick Perry and friends have an express lane|
at the Capitol's magnetometers due to their
concealed carry handgun licenses...
It is written.
Some wag quipped that the DPS have been reduced to the status of meter maids, that Deputy Sheriff's officers would be better suited to such a security task.
I would like to think that I get by with a little help from my friends.
I will leave you with the words of Mr. Lennon and Mr. McCartney:
“Lovely Rita, Meter Maid, nothing can come between us. When it gets dark, I tow your heart away.”