Open Carry Texas has denounced the activities of a North Texas group that has been reportedly stalking police officers while being openly armed. The group is known by Open Carry Tarrant County and received publicity lately for their activities that allegedly included confronting police officers in the performance of their duty. The group members are openly carrying weapons during these encounters.
The members have been reportedly producing a series of videos for YouTube called “Cop Block,” according to an article by Michael Zennie with the Daily Mail Online. In the videos they claim to be attempting to hold police accountable and stop police brutality. They claim to be responding to the deaths at the hands of police of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, New York. They have allegedly been see taking up the protesters chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot” and I can’t breath.”
Breitbart Texas contacted the statewide organization promoting new laws for the open carry of handguns in Texas, Open Carry Texas (OCT). Victoria Montgomery responded on behalf of the organization. “At Open Carry Texas, we have always placed an emphasis on public relations, and believe the ‘in your face’ style of fellow gun rights groups is not only ineffective but detrimental,” Montgomery stated. “OCT does not condone or support harassing police officers, and we certainly do not support anyone shadowing officers with guns.”
Two of the people identified by the Daily Mail are Jacob Cordova and Kory Watkins. Montgomery told Breitbart Texas that these two men are part of an unofficial organization called Open Carry Tarrant County. She said they are not associated with OCT.
The Daily Mail wrote that the activists often identify themselves as ‘Ron Paul libertarians.” They also appear to claim to be members of the Tea Party.
Cordova, who claims to be an Air Force veteran, was shown on video being arrested for openly carrying an antique handgun. He allegedly pulled up to a police traffic stop and pulled up his vest to show the police officers he was armed. While Texas law does allow the public to carry some types of antique pistols openly, the action of confronting police and brazenly displaying the holstered deadly weapon appears questionable at best.
Arlington, Texas police officer Jeffrey Houston told the Daily Mail “When you see somebody being aggressive, interfering with a stop, and armed with a deadly weapon, the officer just can’t ignore that.” In the wake of the recent murders of the two New York City Police Officers and the shooting of two West Virginia police officers engaged in a traffic stop, it is easy to see why police would be concerned by this type of behavior.
The Texas Legislature is about to convene and consider legislation to allow the open carry of handguns, a practice that has been banned in Texas for more than a century.
The Daily Mail reported about one of the videos where a “Cop Block” activist was arrested after he showed up at a crime scene with a camera and while wearing a black powder handgun on his belt. He allegedly slings a string of insults at the officers. Other reported activities by the group include showing up where officers are running traffic radar operation and holding up signs warning approaching traffic to the officer’s presence. The allegedly carry police scanners so they can track down the police while they are engaged in traffic stops, making arrests and conducting drunk driving checkpoints.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.