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Arlington, TX – Three activists with Texas Cop Block and the Tarrant County Peaceful Streets Project were arrested by Arlington PD while exercising their first amendment rights to film the police during a routine traffic stop on Sunday night. At first, it seemed like the police were trying to arrest the people standing closest to the traffic stop, but then it turned into something that might seem a little more sinister.

Raw Video Footage:

The two men arrested during the night were Joseph Tye, one of the leaders of Texas Cop Block, and Kory Watkins, with the Tarrant County Peaceful Streets Project and Open Carry Tarrant County. The woman arrested was Kory’s wife, Janie Watkins.

It started when a group of about 16 Cop Watchers were documenting a routine traffic stop in a parking lot at about 10:30 P.M. on Cooper Street.  Joseph, Kory, Janie and a couple of others stood about 20-25 feet away from the traffic stop, while the majority of the group was directed much further back. They were documenting the stop from the steps of the businesses that shared the parking lot. The smaller group, near the stop, were then approached by an officer who gave them an order to stand back.  He directed them to what looked to be another 30-40 feet behind their original position. The group complied, except Joseph, who knew he was well within his rights to stand where he was.  He was immediately arrested. That is when the chaos began.

Swarms of cops began to pull into and alongside the parking lot with their cruisers. Kory and Janie were standing in the designated area that the cops had mandated them to stay, when one squad car nearly hit Janie while driving into the parking lot, which noticeably angered her husband. Kory expressed his displeasure in witnessing the officer nearly clip his wife and was pushed out of the way by police so that the vehicle could enter the premises. Soon after, he was cuffed and stuffed, and in turn, Janie expressed her own displeasure at the way the police were treating her husband.

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Nearly 20 police officers were there at this point and they corralled the small group near the traffic stop. The people observing from afar were put into one small corner on the far end of the parking lot. The police lined up and formed a blockade, where the citizens could no longer film the traffic stop.

Kenny Lovett, a member of the group recalled the moment in a statement he made to The Free Thought Project where he said, “It reminded me of herding cattle. I thought it was over kill for the police. It was not called for.”

At this point, Kory and Joseph were in the back of police vehicles. While detained in the police car, Joseph recalled hearing police over their radios talking about another member of the group named Jacob Cordova. Jacob is one of the more outspoken crew members.  The Free Thought Project covered one of his videos where he chastised an Arlington police officer for double parking. The night of the arrests, Jacob’s video of the interaction was taken down from YouTube. It seemed like the police were specifically targeting the leaders of the group.

The article with the removed video can be seen here: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/citizen-cop-taste-police-harassment-feels/

Although the police didn’t grab Jacob, they continued to harass the group who were now corralled in the corner of the parking lot. A police officer identified as Sgt. Rodriguez began screaming at the crowd as if he wanted everyone to know that he was in charge. The group was visibly agitated and shouted back at the power-tripping sergeant, telling HIM to control HIMSELF. Witnessing this sergeant’s behavior on video, it makes one wonder about the current scandal regarding the APD’s use and distribution of steroids.

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When the crowd was finally boxed in, a sergeant pointed out Janie Watkins in the corralled group. One officer grabbed her arm with little warning, and in a “knee jerk reaction” she pulled away. She was immediately man-handled, snatched up and taken away by about three of her “protectors”. 

We can see the bruises the peace officers left on Janie’s arms in the photo below.

janie arm

The other cops forming the barricade had expressions on their faces that showed either fear or guilt. Since the group was openly shaming the police at this juncture, and they weren’t violent, one could only assume that it was a look of guilt on the faces of the other cops. “Where are the good cops!” one of the group members could be heard saying. The cop watchers also made comments challenging the police officers to think about the sworn oaths to the Constitution that police are required take upon being hired as law enforcement.

So, what made this ‘sinister’ as stated in the first paragraph? Well, with each arrest, there was a man directing the group of arresting officers. They didn’t make any moves until this guy told them what to do. This unidentified man wore plain, civilian attire. Not the typical supervisor on scene. Plus, they arrested only the most outspoken leaders of the group on some charges that don’t make any sense.

The night after the arrests, a local news station put out a hit piece on the group in an attempt to destroy their character. Unsurprisingly, they only gave APD’s side of the story while depicting the three liberty-loving activists as criminals. The news broadcast showed Kory reacting to the police car that almost hit his wife, Janie. They make mention that Kory was open carrying a black powder pistol and that the police saw the gun as a possible threat. In the local news’ video report they showed an interview with Arlington Police Chief, Will Johnson, where he says that the police department has been trying to initiate an open dialogue with the Cop Watchers for months.

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Here is what the news broadcast didn’t tell you. Other than the fact that they didn’t mention, or show video of the numerous power tripping police, they also didn’t mention that the black powder gun is inoperable or that the APD had knowledge from a previous night when they disarmed Kory and found that the gun cannot fire (it’s just for educational purposes).

They also didn’t explain the “open dialogue” the police are talking about is actually in the form of back dated fines (tickets) and letters discouraging following cops which the department sends the group in the mail.

APD letter
This letter explains how APD will respect the rights of those who film them. Obviously they had no intention of honoring those words.
Tickets Sent in mail as part of the "Outreach" APD was conducting.
Tickets Sent in mail as part of the “Outreach” APD was conducting.

The media also didn’t tell you the group was peaceful on the night of the arrests and the people who initiated conflict were actually the police. Nor did they tell you that APD has had YouTube censor videos from one of the group’s members.

The news team also failed to educate their audience that along with charges of interference of public duties, Kory and Janie were also charged with blocking a highway, while they were standing on a public sidewalk. Joseph Tye was charged with failure to ID even though he showed them his Army ID with name, date of birth, and social security number.

The group is currently filing complaints against the APD with the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation for civil rights violations.

If you would like to donate to their legal battle, the group has created a crowdfunding account so you can help out. https://www.gofundme.com/dzkop4/

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