Open Carry Texas founder CJ Grisham, a Temple resident, filed a federal civil lawsuit Thursday against the city of Olmos Park, its police chief and three officers in connection to his March 27, 2018, arrest during a gun rights protest.
Grisham was tased by police during a protest of a city ordinance that prohibited anyone other than a police officer from carrying a loaded rifle on public streets, which Open Carry Texas said violates state law.
Olmos Park officials could not be reached Friday for comment on the suit.
Grisham is joined in the lawsuit by gun rights supporter James Everard, who was also arrested in the San Antonio enclave city.
In their suit, Grisham and Everard claim they were accosted on a street corner by officers and arrested despite reassurance from Olmos Park Police Chief Rene Valenciano that no one would be arrested when they arrived to support open carry. Grisham openly carried a legally owned handgun with a license.
In addition to the city and Valenciano, the suit also names Officers J. Lopez, Hector Ruiz and A. Viera. The case was filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division.
Grisham said what happened in Olmos Park at the hands of the city was “inexcusable.” He said the protestors’ actions were legal, both under Texas law and the U.S. Constitution.
Everard said that the police should be protecting the law, not openly breaking it.
Both men claim their rights were violated under the First, Second, Fourth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution.
“The police need to be held accountable just like everyone else in society,” said Solomon Radner of Excolo Law, one of the firms handling the lawsuit. “When members of the general public break the law, even for minor things such as traffic violations, they can expect to be arrested, ticketed, fined or jailed. The police cannot be above the law.”
Grisham and Everard request a jury trial in the suit. The pair is seeking damages, including legal fees.