GAINESVILLE, Texas — Local Joel Najera turned himself in this morning after finding out there was a warrant out for his arrest for a donation he made through a GoFundMe account under the name of Gainesville Police Chief Michael Kevin Phillips.
The GoFundMe account was trying to raise money for, according to court documents, Chief Phillips is alleging Najera intentionally and knowingly used his name to post one or more messages on or through an internet website, namely GoFundMe, with the intent to harm or intimidate him.
A second complaint alleges that Najera intentionally and knowingly used the name of Phillips to post one or more messages on or through an internet website, namely GoFundMe,
with the intent to harm or intimidate Blake Anthony Wallace. Edmund J. Zielinski is the attorney of record for the prosecution, with the use of Cooke County Criminal Investigator Michael Krebs as well as the Texas Rangers.
Najera maintains his innocence, stating that the act was a joke, satire, and not to be taken as anything else.
Although Joel is not a member of PRO Gainesville, he says he’s an ally with the common goal of a community that represents and welcomes all.
As a Third Degree Felony, Texas Penal Code § 12.34 states that an individual who is convicted is subject to 2-10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Founders of Progressive Rights Organizers (PRO) of Gainesville strongly disagree with the decision to prosecute. “We will continue to support Joel and feel the only harm that has been done is the historical tactic of intimidation, suppression of free speech, and criminalization of members of our community who seek to make a change, peacefully.” “This was clearly political satire which is protected under the first amendment of the constitution. We are confident that our attorney, Alison Grinter, will prove this in court.”
“As Gainesville Police Department continues to intimidate those affiliated with or in support of PRO Gainesville, we stick with our mission of holding local police accountable and establishing inclusion within our community,” Henderson continued. “GPD has recently released their self-determined racial bias report and state they find no evidence of racial profiling, but once again are criminalizing BIPOC on constitutional rights.”
“Although our community has brought undeniable racial issues to the surface, the only motion the city of Gainesville has made has been the arrests of social activists.” PRO Gainesville is demanding the following:
- A citizens oversight committee focused on investigating complaints made against GPD
- A third party racial bias audit of GPD
- The resignation of Chief Kevin Phillips, who continues to be partial to motives for racial equality in our community
You can contact GPD Chief Michelle Kevin Phillips: (940) 641-6119 (cell) or (940) 668-4774(Office).
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