LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local organizer James Everard appeared before the Killeen City Council on Tuesday to present his petition for amending a Killeen city ordinance in response to the arrest of local activist and YouTuber Kevin Duane Butler, also known as “No Question Abaudit”.

On Dec. 18, Butler was arrested and charged with violating Sec. 16-107 (Obstructing or interfering with a police officer), which he claims is a violation of his First Amendment rights.

“Some of these laws are over 30 years old and were made before any of you were elected and made before any of you were in Killeen,” Everard said in his opening statement to the council.

“The city ordinance doesn’t reflect state law and that’s a problem,” Everard said.

Butler was in attendance Tuesday and was live streaming the meeting.

“I am going to ask the council the question that I ask every police officer that I meet while I am filming: Are you familiar with the First Amendment?” Butler asked.

Butler talked about his arrest during the night of Dec. 18 where he filmed two officers questioning the passengers of a vehicle they pulled over. It was later revealed that the driver had a warrant from Oklahoma.

“On December 18, 2021, at about 12:40 a.m., Killeen Police officers conducted a traffic stop and subsequently arrested the driver for an outstanding warrant out of Lawton, OK for Discharging a Firearm into a Dwelling. Investigating Officers learned that there was a weapon inside the vehicle and were trying to determine if any other laws were being violated,” Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble said in a prior news release.

“I was accosted by Killeen police and thrown into jail for exercising my right of free speech” Butler said to the council Tuesday.

In the video, Butler says that passengers don’t have to show identification to police but due to this, the officers on the scene arrested Butler.

In the prior news rerlease, Kimble said, “While conducting their investigation, they (police officers) were approached by an individual who interjected himself into the investigation by engaging with other individuals in the vehicle, distracting the officers, and creating a safety hazard for all involved parties. The subject in question was arrested and charged violating Sec. 16-107 (Interfering with or Obstructing an Officer) of the City of Killeen Code of Ordinances.”

“I now have to take my time away from family to clean up the mistakes by the people who are sworn to protect us,” Butler said, “I encourage you to look at this ordinance because it doesn’t reflect the Constitution.”

Residents of Killeen have been divided on Butler and his filming of the police.

One resident, Bill Paquette, came to the microphone Tuesday and said that auditors, the online community Butler is a part of, only push the situations until there is a reaction.

“This is only done for money and (online) views,” Paquette said, “How many people are going to do what Butler does? I don’t want to change anything because they are only in it for the views.”

Gary Purser Jr. of Killeen-based Purser Construction came to the podium to share his views on a different topic but before beginning, Purser made some comments regarding Everard and Butler.

“We need to support our police; they made mistakes but they are not perfect and we really need to understand that,” Purser said.

Founder and president of Open Carry Texas, C.J. Grisham was also at Tuesday night’s meeting to express his concerns regarding the city ordinance that led to Butler’s arrest.

“The city ordinance that Mr. Everard brought up is unconstitutionally vague and we have an ordinance that allows police to arrest citizens for telling another citizen their rights, then there is a problem,” Grisham said.

Regarding Paquette’s prior statements, Grisham said that he couldn’t believe that a citizen would disagree.

“We have the right to film and I cannot believe that I saw a citizen come up here and say that he disagrees,” Grisham said.

In addition to Everard and Butler, Grisham, Paquette and Purser were the only speakers to address the issue before the council Tuesday.

Regarding people who disagree with him and his methods, Butler said that they only need to watch the videos.

“If you watch all of my videos, you will see my intent and anytime I open my mouth, it’s to say when someone’s rights are being violated,” Butler said to the Herald afterwards.

After viewing NoQuestionAbaudit’s YouTube video of his arrest, an attorney with the ACLU of Texas said Butler’s interaction with police seemed to be well within his First Amendment rights.

“He was at least 10 to 15 feet away, if not more, from what was happening,” ACLU attorney David Donatti said in a phone interview with the Herald Tuesday.

“There’s no question that physically he wasn’t interfering. As to whether he can speak, I think it is our position as well that that is a First Amendment right.

“He is just a citizen on a public street in the city where he lives. Whether he was speaking to the passenger or to his YouTube followers, he was speaking on a matter of public concern which is: what are people’s rights when they are confronting a police officer.”

Donatti said in an ideal world the charges against Butler would be dismissed.

“The police overstepped what appears from the video to be a plain exercise of a constitutional right and these charges should be dropped,” Donatti said.

tcooper@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7553 

(12) comments

Alvin

It doesn't matter what his motives were, he interfered. It's not only physical interference but it can also be verbal interference and I believe both have the same court weight. We should take into consideration 'what his motives were'. What influenced him to get into the aspect of 'what possessed him to verbalize his comment in that loud of a conversational tone so as to distract the police officer. And what were his motives, what influenced him to say something of that nature to a passenger if he did not want to consider himself as a 3rd person. And what motivated him to at the police station enter the premise, open the refrigerator door, and ride the elevator if not 'to gain attention where it was not wanted'.

Yes I am of the opinion that he clearly wanted to 'show to the police who was in charge and as a result gained the opposite.

Alvin

@Chicken: Again have to agree with Dailymajor. If a person is stating an opinion such as 'it is my opinion …..'. that's one facet of free speech. If a person objects to what is being stated such as your argument that an individual makes it a point to interfere with a police investigation where he has no objective in such a conversation and sys without provocation that 'You don't have to give your name when you are a passenger' o something to that effect, then I would say that this individual had no provocation to interject anything into that conversation and he could be guilty of interference with a police officer in his performance of duty. In this case, I would agree with Dailymajor in his assessment of calling out to the occupants of the car with the statement concerning the occupants of the car. I believe he 'interfered where it was not called for' and the police, in my opinion, had every right to arrest him, but that is only my opinion.

dailymajor

Chickn, I do believe in the Constitution and free speech, to a point. I know it is against the law, as well as very stupid, and bad judgement, to stand up in a crowded theater and yell fire, creating a panic,,,, against the law to defame and falsely accuse individuals, make false oral fiduciary statements, commit perjury, commit verbal assault, and .to interfere with a police investigation.

dailymajor

chekn, no bootlicking here, just common sense. Your thoughts about having noses in a certain locale are fitting for your opinion.

chcknhawk

Not common sense. Bootlicking when you're suggesting a person doesn't have a right to film the police or open his mouth. 100% bootlicking. Either you believe in the law and the constitution or you're a bootlicker who loves government power to shut down protected rights.

buckwheat6105

Instead of vomiting perpetual ignorance maybe add something to the conversation?

For starters:

1) the camera was of no consequence for the arrest; bringing it up is a straw man.

2) ‘right to open his mouth.’ When you made this comment you conveniently removed the context of the arrest.

3) ‘Either you believe in the law and the constitution or you're a bootlicker who loves government power to shut down protected rights.‘. The two are not mutually exclusive.

In the unlikely event you read this, maybe you’ll have the courage to give an honest answer to this reasonable question: A police officer is conducting a traffic stop and a 3rd party person, someone standing 25 feet away who has absolutely nothing to do with the traffic stop, starts yelling at the people in the car, causing the officer to direct her attention away from the car. While the officer is directing her attention away from the vehicle, the passenger pulls a gun out from his waistband and shoots the officer.

Would this be considered police interference?

chcknhawk

Wow. That's a lot of bootlicking ignorance in the comments. People have their noses so far up KPD's arse, they can't smell reality.

Alvin

Well I've become bored with this whole episode.

There is 'Freedom of Speech' and then there is 'Interjection into someones affairs in which they do not belong' and I think this is the latter. What business did he have interjecting his speech and thought pattern into someone elses business. He should had 'let the police do their job without interference from him. In my opinion, he clearly and with intent interjected his person where it did not belong and so I think the police were clearly right to attest him for interference.

I think I read that this ordinance is 30 years old. Why does the age of an ordinance come into bearing? If it's still applicable then the ordinance does not to be changed.

The man was clearily out to 'get to the police and his demeanor at the police station when confronting the chief of ppolice clearly demonstrates that.

dailymajor

This guy is doing what he is doing just seeking attention. He has no right to interject himself into a police investigation. I watched a couple of his videos. One was a long video of him showing the outside of the downtown police station. Boring is the word that comes to mind. ....When the police are doing their jobs, potentially putting their lives at risk, they do not need some attention seeker interfering with their jobs...If he wants to make his mindless videos, that's fine, if he needs to do that to get his apparent much needed attention, but he does not have the right to interfere with the police.

chcknhawk

He never interfered. It's all on video.

buckwheat6105

What’s on camera? The part where the frauditor yelled at the passenger that caused the officers to direct their attention to him?

Noe Rodriguez

So he just made the video to make the officers confront him. Officers were busy doing their job, anybody can just walk up and interfere not knowing the danger they can impose. Distracting the officers just to get his video done could have turned ugly. So what did this guy gain after his video, that supposeably meant to help the person being held by the police?

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