There could be more to the story surrounding a decorated Army veteran who was arrested after being accused of “rudely displaying” his rifle during a hike with his son, but the police aren’t willing to provide their side of it. For now, anyway.
“The charge is pending prosecution with the county attorney’s office,” the Temple Police Department said in a very short statement provided to TheBlaze on Wednesday. Temple is located in Bell County, Texas.
Police Sgt. Gary Smith told TheBlaze that they would not be releasing any other statements or commenting on the matter any further. “That’s it,” he replied after being asked if he could provide any additional details.
In case you missed our initial story, Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, who told his story to Glenn Beck on the radio Wednesday morning, was on a hike with his son in a rural area of Temple, Texas, when he was suddenly approached by a police officer. Grisham, a concealed carry permit holder, was carrying a .45-caliber pistol on his waist and open carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Texas does restrict open carry of firearms to an extent, however, the restriction does not apply to “long guns.”
Grisham told Beck that he regularly carries the rifle while on hikes in rural areas to combat rattle snakes, coyotes and hogs. It has never been a problem — until now, he said. The Army veteran was reportedly detained prior to being accused of a specific crime and later arrested and charged with resisting arrest.
He was not charged with any gun related crime.
According to local authorities, Grisham was “rudely displaying” his firearm, and “people are alarmed” when they see weapons like the AR-15. “They don’t care what the law is,” one of the officers told Grisham, referring to the individual(s) who were alarmed by the rifle. You can read TheBlaze’s full report on the incident here.
Watch the video below:
To get a better — and objective — understanding of the details in the case, TheBlaze reached out to Justin Flint, a Texas firearms attorney with Pursley McNamara & Flint, PLLC in Missouri City.
After insisting that there could be more to this case than what’s shown on the video, Flint said it doesn’t appear as if Grisham ever resisted or failed to comply with the demands of officers. The police were within their right to investigate the situation after receiving a 911 call, the attorney explained, but an officer still has to have a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed or could be committed at a later time before detaining a suspect in the first place.
“There are certain things that one might be advised to do when dealing with police officers and you are in possession of a firearm,” Flint told TheBlaze. “I always advise people to make an officer feel as safe and comfortable as possible. But just because that’s good advice doesn’t mean that has to be done.”
In Texas, concealed carry holders are required to disclose possession of their firearm and provide identifying information as well as a valid concealed carry permit to police officers, Flint explained. He also noted that police are within their authority to disarm Texans while questioning them in order to ensure the safety of officers involved. The firearm must be returned unless they determine a crime has been committed. It’s unclear whether Grisham’s firearms have been returned to him.
But if someone in Texas is “carrying a long arm, a rifle or a shotgun, that is legal in the state of Texas… So there is no real probable cause there for a stop or for the police to detain any person for any amount of time,” the attorney added, speaking in generalities in regards to the law.
Grisham was first charged with resisting arrest, however, the charge was downgraded to interfering with a peace officer while performing a duty. Flint said if he were defending Grisham, theoretically, he would likely push for a case dismissal, based on the facts that are known at this point. He again insisted, though, that more facts may surface that could change the case dramatically.
“Based on the facts themselves, if there’s not evidence that he was resisting in any way or trying to interfere with what they are doing, then this would be a case that would be suitable for getting dismissed,” he added. “Whether based on lack of probable cause or lack of evidence to detain or arrest him.”
TheBlaze’s Erica Ritz has reported on some additional details concerning Grisham’s background:
To be sure, Grisham has his detractors. For the past several years, he and fellow prominent military blogger Michael Yon have engaged in a war of words over the Internet. The two have repeatedly questioned the integrity, valor, and and service of the other. TheBlaze will be following up on this issue in the future.
But regardless of his past, the treatment of Grisham’s son deserves to be investigated, Beck said. Police took the boy home after Grisham’s arrest. And though Grisham warned him not to answer any questions until his mom was present, police allegedly wouldn’t let the boy out of the car until he spoke.
TheBlaze will continue monitoring this developing story and add any relevant information as it becomes available.