A group of Texas open-carry activists knew their public display of firearms would likely frighten off potential evildoers, but they probably never expected it to ward off an entire fast-food team and summon about a dozen cop cars.
Members of Open Carry Tarrant County had stopped at a Fort Worth Jack in the Box restaurant before a scheduled demonstration to simply order some food last Thursday. The fast-food employees, however, apparently thought they were in danger of becoming robbery victims and made a rather unorthodox move.
“They locked themselves inside a freezer for protection out of fear the rifle-carrying men would rob them,” an email from Sgt. Ray Bush read, according to KXAS-TV.
Photos taken by the activists show the massive police response that ensued.
“I would estimate around 10 squad cars showed up, some with two per squad car. I believe we counted more than 15 officers showed up on scene,” demonstrator Edwin Haros told KXAS.
“I’m upset that that many officers had to arrive on the scene,” he added.
The open-carry activists did not appear to be violating any laws or local ordinances, but authorities say they could have possibly avoided the fiasco if they had done a better job alerting police of the planned demonstration.
“The demonstration had no signage that would have alerted anyone to their real purpose, and to our knowledge they did not attempt to contact anyone in the Fort Worth Police Department to advise us prior to the demonstration,” Bush said in his email.
“We respect the rights of all citizens to peacefully protest and the right to bear arms. However, we cannot stress enough how a simple phone call to police prior to this demonstration and the use of easily visible signage could have avoided unnecessarily alarming the public,” his email added.
It seems that the president of Open Carry Texas agreed.
C-J. Grisham told KTVT-TV that his group has severed ties with the chapter because failing to contact local police before a demonstration is a violation of their bylaws.
“It’s one of those things that we’ve been in discussions with them about since the Arlington ordeal with the city council. I think the Jack in the Box incident was probably the [culmination] of that discussion,” Grisham said. “It’s two different groups, we wish them the best but we just had to make that distinction.”
Members of the group, however, maintains that what they did is being blown out of proportion.
“We’re comfortable with the police departments, there’s no need to call them anymore… I walk every day here in Mansfield and I don’t call them no more. I have many police officers personal cell phone numbers,” member Kory Watkins told KTVT.
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