As they run their department with double standards, frequently side with armed militia, and now have put out arrest warrants for protest organizers.
Anyone who has been following this blog over the summer knows that we have been following and updating regarding the situation in Gainesville. More so, about how Gainesville residents in a group called PRO Gainesville have been peacefully protesting the removal of the Confederate statue on the Cooke County Courthouse lawn. Not only has PRO Gainesville been met with large crowds of armed white militia, tons of death threats, harassment, and doxxing, but on top of that Gainesville PD has targeted protesters and sided with the militia people. Yep, there’s plenty of video evidence.
PRO Gainesville has been marching every Sunday and will until the statue is moved off of public property. This last Sunday, 8-30-2020, directly prior to their march, one of PRO Gainesville’s organizers gave a blistering speech directed towards Gainesville PD.
What Justin said.
He said PRO Gainesville has been meeting wit Gainesville PD, Cooke County Sheriff’s Department, and DPS weekly. Every time they have a protest they meet with them. And that Gainesville PD has not been helpful.
They have been requiring PRO Gainesville to get a permit to exercise their first amendment rights, even though a permit was not needed. More so, when PRO Gainesville has gotten permits Gainesville PD has taken that information and given the armed militia all of PRO Gainesville plans, so that the opposition can come and meet them with force.
Let me say that again.
Gainesville PD has been requiring peaceful protesters, mostly Black, to get permits so that they can tell the people who have been threatening them where PRO Gainesville is going and what they are doing.
Yep. There is proof.
Here is a screenshot of a posting in a Cooke County Facebook group. This woman announces that Gainesville PD called her and gave her the 411 on PRO Gainesville’s plans. Within minutes, the woman was online in a Facebook group telling everyone. You know, to ensure the intimidation squad was able to come out.
Justin wasn’t done.
He went on to call out Officer Justin Patterson of Gainesville PD. Justin (good Justin), said that Patterson has been on Facebook under the fake name Axel Foley, (because no one has ever seen Beverly Hills Cop), and told people he wants to see people protest PRO Gainesville, find their jobs, and protest their families.
Yep. There’s proof of that, too.
PRO Gainesville brought this to the attention to the police chief, who said there is nothing they can do.
PRO Gainesville is clear, they would like Officer Justin Patterson released from duty.
If Gainesville PD wants to be a neutral party, as they said, then all officers both on duty and off, need to also remain neutral. Looking to find out where they work and protest their family and homes is not neutral.
PRO Gainesville has repeatedly requested to meet with Cooke County Commissioners, who refuse to answer to their requests. They’ve filed public information requests with Cooke County, which they have referred to the AG and still have not been able to get those requests filled.
Justin’s speech was fantastic and inspiring. It’s 8 minutes long, really, watch it. He also touches a little bit on Gainesville PD’s recent history of civil rights violations.
Fast forward to today.
Gainesville PD issued warrants for three of PRO Gainesville’s organizers. Torrey Lynne Henderson, 27; Amara Jana Ridge, 23; and Justin Royce Thompson, 25 — on class B misdemeanor charges of obstructing a highway or other passageway. The offense is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines or both.
Oh, but don’t you know? That isn’t true. There’s proof of that, too.
The video above shows the last 7 minutes of the march, the time where police say they were “obstructing traffic.” Thanks to De-Confederate Georgetown who was able to get this footage. You can find the entire march on their page.
For the majority of the protest, the 100 people marching were able to keep on the sidewalks. During the last stretch, they can be seen walking in the shoulder of the street, normally designated for street parking. In the last few blocks, “counter protesters” (white people in camouflage with multiple fire arms), were standing and blocking the sidewalks, so protesters did move to the street to pass them.
Traffic was never obstructed.
According to the ACLU: You don’t need a permit to march in the streets or on sidewalks, as long as marchers don’t obstruct car or pedestrian traffic. If you don’t have a permit, police officers can ask you to move to the side of a street or sidewalk to let others pass or for safety reasons.
Watch the video. This was on a Sunday evening in Gainesville fucking Texas in the business districts. There wasn’t even 20 cars that entire protest that drove by. The video shows, while they were walking in the parking spaces a few cars were easily able to go around them. The last 2 minutes of the march when they were actually in the street, they didn’t cause a traffic jam, because as they reached the end, the camera man turned, and did a complete 360. There were no cars behind them.
So, basically it’s bullshit.
They did walk in the road for the last few minutes of the march, but only to avoid the armed nutjobs on the sidewalk. Traffic was NEVER obstructed, because it was Sunday evening in Podunk, Texas.
Clearly this is retaliation. Probably for Justin’s speech which called them out, or a million and one other things.
Here is the route PRO Gainesville took to march:
Here is the places they went on to the street because of the hostile people:
What else did Gainesville PD do last Sunday?
PRO Gainesville brought a hanging tree, which they hung several nooses from. They did this to put on the steps of the Confederate statue, which has an inscription that says, “Oh, home of tears, but let her bear this blazoned to the end of time; No Nation rose so white and fair, none fell so pure of crime.”
It was done for shock value. Gainesville wants to normalize the Confederate ideology, so PRO Gainesville assisted by bringing a hanging tree with nooses. The intention was to show how obscene the statue’s presence is.
Boy, oh boy, did that get their panties all in a bunch.Law enforcement ran over and said they couldn’t put the hanging tree there, (on public property), because it was a historical monument. They even clarified, they do let people sit on those steps, but that hanging tree couldn’t be there. When asked if it was because of the context of the tree, the officer told organizers they had to move it, end of discussion.
This is an obvious first amendment right violation.
Gainesville PD has also not been enforcing the law equally.
Case in point, this video here shows them ticketing someone who honked their horn as they drove by with a “Black Lives Matter” flag. They had pulled over multiple people who have given tickets for honking, but all of these people ticketed were on the PRO Gainesville side.
Yep. Also on video.
Do you know what else is also on video? Gainesville PD telling PRO Gainesville they aren’t going to ticket the “counter protesters” for noise violations.
That isn’t the first time that law enforcement refused to followed the law fairly.
At the 8-23-2020 protest, local activist Jessica Luther Rummel spotted a man who made death threats against her at the July 1st protest (also caught on video).
She asked multiple officers to take her report and help identify that man. They all refused. Not only did they refused, many of the law enforcement officers out there told her they were not on duty. (While they had on their uniforms, badges, and guns).
One of them even suggested she call 911 to report it. Which she did. After being put on hold multiple times, they finally told her they couldn’t send anyone out.
Once again, all caught on video.
Jessica asked multiple officers, called 911, and it took her an hour and a half before she found an officer willing to take her report. By that time the perpetrator had left.
All of this is why it is so important to document these protests and marches.
Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM, a protest is happening in front of Cooke County Jail regarding the warrants and political retaliation on PRO Gainesville organizers. If you live in the DFW and you can make it, please come and stand with Gainesville in solidarity. Organizers will also be turning themselves in tomorrow on these BS charges. It will be live streamed, I will share it on Living Blue in Texas’ Facebook page.
A GoFundMe has also been set up to help cover the legal fees PRO Gainesville organizers are now facing.
Please share this with the hashtag #IStandWithPROGainesville.