A retired Air Force veteran was arrested in San Antonio for the heinous crime of carrying a gun in public.
Texas Gun Laws
I try, I really do try, to be supportive of police officers. Cops have a difficult job. So do I. So do a lot of people. But cops are the only ones that get to hide behind a badge and gun as they trample and crush citizen’s constitutional rights.
Texas is a gun friendly state, allowing licensed concealed carry of handguns. Long guns, including the dreaded ‘assault rifle’ can be open carried in public spaces. That’s the law, and cops know the law. At least they’re supposed to.
Retired Air Force veteran, James Speight, Jr. encountered several San Antonio cops that, either need a little remedial training on Texas law, or openly ignored Texas law to harass a veteran.
Amateur video recorded the encounter. The arresting officer told Speight that it was illegal to open carry a loaded firearm. Here’s a news flash for the officer, ‘No, it’s not for a long gun.’ State law allows for the open carry of long guns, even a loaded gun. Really, besides being a pretty fancy club, what use is an unloaded gun?
Mr. Speight was arrested for the San Antonio ‘crime’ of open carry. He wrote the following:
“My name is James Speight Jr. and I’m a Air Force Vet. I received an honorable discharge on July 1st, 2014 and was illegally arrested on July 4th, 2015. In the video you also see my 18 year old son, Tahjee M. Speight who was set to join the Air Force on July 8th, 2015. But due to the SAPD this to has been put on hold. It is sad that I was able to carry a weapon for 20 years and 15 days to protect our country, but when I carry to protect myself, my family and my people this is how I am treated. Also being that I received a 100% Service Connected Disability rating with 70% PTSD this situation has been very traumatizing both during as well as after the event.”
Citizen Harassment – Norm for San Antonio
San Antonio has a history of harassing citizens. In April 2014, Henry Vichique, 19, was arrested under a local ordinance that apparently prohibits residents from carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun within city limits.
After being confronted by one officer and told he was ‘free to go’, another officer inserted himself into the situation telling Vichique he was going to take the rifle. Vichique informed the officer the shoulder slung rifle was ‘chambered’ and he had no right to take it, nor did he consent to any search nor seizure.
In the video the officer is heard saying,
“We are going to take that gun off your shoulder, do you understand that? Do you understand that?”
The other officer then asks Vichique if he is going to “fight” if they grab his gun, to which he replies,
“I’m not going to grab it, sir. I have not been arrested and the law says unless I’ve been arrested, you can’t take it from me.”
Vichique was tased by the officer and arrested for carrying a loaded weapon within city limits.
San Antonio Ordinance – ruled invalid
In direct contradiction to Texas State law, Vichique was arrested under San Antonio Ordinance Section 21-16 which states:
“It shall be unlawful for any person, other than duly authorized peace officers, to carry a loaded rifle or shotgun on any public street within the city or in a motor vehicle while the same is being operated on any public street within the city.”
But the San Antonio ordinance violates state pre-emption laws pertaining to firearms as contained in Local Government Code 229.001(a)(1), which states:
“A municipality may not adopt regulations relating to…the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing, or registration of firearms, air guns, ammunition, or firearm.”
In October 2014, the case against Vichique was dismissed by San Antonio city prosecutor Elizabeth Yetman. The stated problem with prosecuting the case was the fact that the city ordinance directly conflicts with state law.
Thug Cops Ignore Law
San Antonio cops have a history of abusing their power as law enforcement officers. But there can be no acceptable explanation for arresting Air Force veteran Speight under a law shown by the City prosecutor 9 months earlier as being invalid under state law.
Speight’s case is surely to be dismissed. Hard to believe San Antonio cops don’t also know the case will be dismissed by the prosecutor.
So why was Speight arrested? It seems Speight was arrested for the heinous crime of being a black man with a gun.
Facts can be a terrifying thing, and they can be skewed. Regardless of the meme that cops have a dangerous job, that cops ‘protect us’, the facts in this case do not support that belief.
As reported by The Guardian, a review of FBI data involving police shootings/killings, people in the U.S. are 55 times more likely to be killed by a police officer, than a terrorist. The odds are even higher if you’re a black male.
Let that sink in for a moment. The next time you are stopped or engaged by a police officer, know your rights, be polite, be courteous, be respectful, but never forget,
Cops are NOT always your friend.