"On March 16, 2013, my son and I were hiking along country roads among
pastures and fields with my 15-year old son to help him earn his hiking
merit badge. I always enjoy these father/son hikes because it gives me
time alone with my son. As I always do when we go on these hikes and
walks, I took my trusty rifle with me as there are coyotes, wild hogs,
and cougars in our area. In Texas, it is legal to openly carry a rifle
or shotgun as long as you do so in a manner that isn't calculated to
cause alarm. In other words, you can't walk around waving your rifle at
people. I always carry my rifle slung across my chest dangling, not
holding it in my hands.
At about the 5 mile mark of our hike, a
voice behind us asked us to stop and the officer motioned for us to
approach him. He got out of his car and met us a few feet later. He
asked us what we were doing and I explained that we were hiking for my
son's merit badge. He then asked me what I'm doing with the rifle, to
which I responded in a calm manner, "Does it matter, officer? Am I
breaking the law?"
At that point, the officer grabbed my rifle
without warning or indication. He didn't ask for my rifle and he didn't
suggest he would take it from me. He simply grabbed it. This startled
me and I instantly pulled back - the rifle was attached to me - and I
asked what he thought he was doing because he's not taking my rifle. He
then pulled his service pistol on me and told me to take my hands off
the weapon and move to his car, which I complied with. He then slammed
me into the hood of his car and I remembered I had a camera on me (one
of the requirements of the hiking merit badge is to document your
hikes). This video is the rest of that encounter. Up to this point, I
am not told why I am being stopped, why he tried to disarm me, or even
that I'm under arrest.
We did not set out that Saturday morning
to "make a point" or cause problems. Our goal was to complete a 10-mile
hike and return home without incident. My son chose a route that away
from populated areas but near our home.
The arresting officer is Officer Steve Ermis and the supervisor is Sergeant Minnicks of the Temple Police Department.
If you agree this was a gross act of exceeded authority, please help me fight these charges"
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