Liberty Tax Service doesn't let just anyone don its trademark Lady Liberty costume and dance for potential tax customers. There are tryouts and specialized training on proper singing, dancing and waving techniques. A lot of dreams are crushed.
Channing Gould was one of the lucky ones. A 19-year-old performing arts student at Tarrant County College and aspiring hip hop artist, he earned the right to stand in front of the Liberty Tax franchise on North Tarrant Parkway in Fort Worth. And then, seven months ago, he lost it.
The story made national headlines. Gould was dancing on the median in the 4800 block of North Tarrant Parkway on March 11 when he was approached by Fort Worth police. Told that he was disrupting traffic in violation of city ordinance, Gould was asked to leave the narrow strip of grass. When Gould also refused to get into the back of the squad car, the cop took down Lady Liberty with a Taser.
It was a mortifying experience for Gould, but it wasn't the last humiliation he would suffer Fort Worth's criminal justice system. WFAA's Teresa Woodard caught up with Gould last night.
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"I'm an innocent Tax Liberty guy," he told Woodard. "I was dancing. That's what I do. I dance."
It's true. Gould's innocence was formally established when Tarrant County prosecutors recently dismissed his resisting arrest charge, but only after a suitable punishment.
"I had to write 52 times on a board that I would not argue with police in order to get a dismissal," Gould said. "In front of the judge and witnesses that were there, I signed it. I even made it colorful for them and all that...I felt like Bart Simpson."
That'll teach him to dress up like a woman and go dancing in Cowtown.