Following up on yesterday's report about the pro-gun rally held in San Antonio, we've since learned that troubling allegations that city police posted snipers above the rally apparently were untrue.
SA Police spokesman Javier Salazar said rally-goers spotted police cameramen, not gunmen, in open windows overlooking the pro-gun rally, which was organized by the group Open Carry Texas.
"Those were strictly CSI tools, [cameras] used to videotape the proceedings," is how Officer Salazar described the situation. He said police routinely videotape all large city gatherings, regardless of their content.
Nearly 1000 people flooded Alamo plaza for the rally, openly carrying their AR-15s and other long guns to protest a local long-gun ordinance.
Neither SWAT teams nor any other kind of special police units were needed, Salazar added.
But this rally story doesn't end here. The rally came about because, in a long chain of related events, Texas police in another town were not nearly so cooperative regarding a U.S. veteran.
In fact, O-C-T was formed in June precisely because its founder, Master Sgt. Christopher "C.J." Grisham, an active-duty soldier, was aggressively arrested on flimsy charges by Temple, Texas police.
Back on March 16, Grisham was enjoying a 10-mile hike with his son, for the son's Eagle Scout requirements. They walked along a rural road within Temple's outer city limits.
Grisham was carrying his AR-15 on his chest, attached to the straps of his backpack. A passerby saw this and phoned Temple police.
Grisham also packed a concealed 45-cal. pistol he's licensed to carry, while walking in an area frequented by rattlesnakes and other wild animals.
But when Temple Police Officer Steve Ermis responded to the call and approached Grisham, he, without warning, tried to wrestle the AR-15 away from Grisham.
And as the official police dash-cam footage reportedly shows, the officer slammed Grisham onto the hood of his police cruiser and pointed his police pistol into the back of Grisham's head.
Before Grisham was handcuffed and arrested, the officers at the scene reluctantly agreed to allow Grisham to hand his own camcorder to his son, enabling the son to film the latter part of the encounter.
In one verbal exchange recorded on the son's video, when Grisham complains to police, "You're not exempt from the law," one of the officers can be heard replying, "Yes, we are."
Grisham was charged with "interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duties," a Class B misdemeanor. His trial, which ran Oct. 15-18, ended in a mistrial. It was presided over by an allegedly biased Houston judge called out of retirement. More objective judges were bypassed.
The entire police video of the arrest, though generally withheld from the press and public, was allowed in court. "They put a media gag order on it," said Victoria Montgomery, media spokesperson for O-C-T.
Given Grisham's plight, and because 3 O-C-T associates were arrested more recently near a San Antonio Starbucks for carrying their long guns, the O-C-T rally was organized to let San Antonio Police Chief William McManus know that his pledge to make "more arrests" of open-carriers under city ordinance contradicted Texas legal traditions.
Mr. Grisham's expected retrial in Bell County is tentatively set for Nov. 18.
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