Arlington Cops, Open-Carry Advocates Go Toe-to-Toe Over the Constitution
Arlington, like many other cities, has a law banning people from handing out leaflets, or anything else for that matter, to passing cars. To wit:
No person shall stand or walk on or in any manner occupy a shoulder, improved shoulder, sidewalk, median or public right-of-way for the purpose of distributing literature or any other object to the occupant of a vehicle, other than a lawfully parked vehicle.
Maybe you consider that an unfair abridgment of free speech, maybe not. Either way, municipalities have generally gotten away with it by claiming such rules are needed to protect public safety. In Arlington, the measure is enforced with a class C misdemeanor ticket, or at the very least the threat of one.
But what happens when the people handing out literature are armed with rifles? And what if, in an act of civil disobedience, they keep doing it?
Watkins and his team are in front of what appears to be a Raising Cane's handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution, as they've done on several occasions recently, having apparently grown bored with simply walking around the suburbs with their guns like they'd been doing.
The clip begins after police have already arrived. You can't really hear what police are saying, partly because the audio's terrible, partly because Watkins et al are hurling insults and preaching about the sanctity of the Constitution.
Daniel Wood, one of two activists Arlington police ticketed, says his group has demonstrated and handed out literature in several North Texas cities, including multiple stops in Arlington, without any issue. He describes the citations as Arlington's new strategy for keeping them from demonstrating.
Since the video was shot, Wood says he has met with police officials to discuss the policy and spoken against the anti-leaflet ordinance at an Arlington City Council meeting.
He plans to fight his $171 ticket.
(h/t Matt Fanning)
This post has been updated with responses from Daniel Wood and a couple of clarifications.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.
- The Day After It Bans Exxxotica, Dallas Draws Another Porn Convention Request
Sat., Feb. 13, 9:00pm
University of North Texas Mean Green Mens Basketball vs. Florida International University Golden PanthersThu., Feb. 18, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 19, 7:00pm
Fri., Feb. 19, 7:00pm
- Ken Paxton Faces Yet Another Misconduct Investigation
- Maybe We Should Explain What the White Water Feature Is and Why It's So Screwed