Several hundred heavily armed people marched through Olmos Park Saturday. Marchers were protesting the tazing and arrest of Open Carry Texas leader CJ Grisham last month.
Grisham was arrested for obstructing a roadway and interfering with the duties of a public servant. He was first approached by police for violating the city’s ordinance banning anyone but police from carrying a loaded shotgun or rifle in the city. The Olmos Park City Council repealed the ordinance shortly after the arrest. Several nearby cities repealed similar ordinances, which aren’t in line with state law.
“When an un-American bastard like (Chief Rene) Valenciano stomps on another American’s rights this is what you get,” said David Amad, vice president of Open Carry Texas.
Amad led the march of less than two miles to the Olmos Park City Hall and police station without issue.
Marchers were met midway by a small group of counter-protesters, who described themselves as concerned moms living in the area.
“Unlicensed carry and open carry is dangerous for our communities.” Shannon Sedgwick-Davis said.
More than 200 marchers turned out, including libertarian candidate for governor Katherine Glass. They carried signs supporting the second amendment, and signs critical of the police force and liberals.
“At the very least, I hope the Olmos Police Department realize what they did was completely wrong,” said Alex Chuber, who drove from Conroe after his shift ended at 6 a.m. He and his fiance Joni carried signs saying police are not above the law.
The protesters tried to deliver a petition calling for all the charges to be dropped against Grisham as well as disciplinary action for Valenciano, but the building was closed. They couldn’t find anyone at the building to take it.
At one point, Amad, mistaking an onlooker for a city councilor, asked if he would accept the petition on the city’s behalf.
A few dozen Olmos Park residents observed the march from their front yards and on street corners. Richard Kruegler walked to city hall from his house with his wife and kids. He was worried it might turn violent, and was relieved when it didn’t.
“I don’t love the idea of people gathering to do this,” he said. “I don’t like open carry. I’m not really thrilled about people walking around with loaded weapons.
“As long as they remain peaceful, it is what it is,” he said.
Grisham did not attend because of his impending legal issues, said Amad.
Olmos Park Police did not respond to request for comment on the story.
WATCH | David Amad, vice president of Open Carry Texas, addresses marchers