News & Politics

Texas Sheriff Raids Bar Protest With Military-Style Assault Vehicle, SWAT Team: Arrests and Outrage Ensue

Ector County sheriff's MRAP - image from Twitter.

Remember when police departments across America got MRAPs from the military and most of us were asking, “Why the heck do the police need vehicles of war and what are they going to use them for?” Well, now we know.

Ector County Sheriff’s SWAT team deployed their MRAP to break up a peaceful protest at a local bar, Big Daddy Zane’s, in West Odessa on Monday. They came in with guns drawn (look at that guy in the turret on top) to arrest the bar owner for violating the lockdown orders, even though Governor Abbot has announced a softening of the lockdown in Texas with most businesses able to open this Friday.

Business owners are growing desperate with employees who need to feed their families, so several small businesses have opened in defiance of the orders. Hairdresser Shelley Luther, was sentenced to seven days in jail and a $7000 fine for disobeying lockdown orders in Dallas on Tuesday. She stood up for her right to feed her children in court and refused to say what she did was wrong which, led to her sentencing.

Commenters on the Ector County Sheriff’s Facebook page are furious with the sheriff’s decision to arrest protesters. The sheriff, Mike Griffis, claims he only arrested the protesters because they were armed and on the premises of an establishment that sold liquor. He also claimed they weren’t protesting, despite the announcement on Big Daddy Zane’s Facebook page that they planned a protest that day.

“We did go to Big Daddy Zane’s yesterday, we did arrest the owner for violating the governor’s executive order,” he said. “We did take into custody seven other individuals.” He said the gathering was not a protest but was a show of force to ensure “that this lady could violate the government order.” Griffis said the individuals carrying guns weren’t holding signs and that the gathering at Big Daddy’s Zane’s wasn’t a Second Amendment protest. Earlier in the afternoon, members from the group Open Texas had participated in a rally of support at Anytime Fitness for owner Clint Gillipsie.

Twitter commenters are predictably snarky, including our own Kurt Schlicter.

Teasing aside, other commenters pointed out that the police weren’t following the lockdown recommendations either, not wearing facemasks and not social distancing. What’s certain is that the courts are soon going to be full of Americans testing these actions against the Constitution. That can’t happen fast enough.

Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter

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