NOW, THIS IS ALARMING NEWS
On February 16, a Crawford jury convicted five peace activists of violating the parade and procession ordinance of Crawford, Texas.
Amanda Jack was in the last car of the caravan, and she saw the other cars pulled over. Some of the occupants had gotten out with their signs to see what was going on, she says. But they were not demonstrating there.
Police Chief Donnie Tidmore ordered everyone to get back in their cars within three minutes or face arrest, Jack says. “I went back up to ask Chief Tidmore if people could have more time, and as I was doing this, deputies came up and started to arrest one of our members. Another legal observer was trying to find out the name of the person arrested when she, too, got arrested. I asked, where are you taking these people? And they arrested me.”
Jack, the assistant director of Casa Marianella, a shelter for recently arrived immigrants and refugees, was held overnight in the Waco jail with the four others.
Their names are Ken Zarifis, Amara Maliszewski, Trish Major, and Michael Machicek.
Zarifis is an eighth-grade English teacher in Austin. He, too, was a legal observer on May 3. “My intention was just to keep an eye on what was going on, and if civil liberties were being violated, I would jot them down,” he says.
But like Amanda Jack’s, his watchfulness was not appreciated.
Zarifis saw the police arresting two people, including another legal observer, so he went up to the policeman.
“I asked the officer what his name and badge number was, and he told me, ‘Step off the road, I’m going to arrest you.’ I wasn’t really in the road, but I stepped back four or five feet off the grass, and I said, ‘I still need to ask why you’re arresting them,’ and he then arrested me and took me to the van.”
Fulcrum calls this story appalling and unconstitutional. I hope a court sees it the same way. I think the worst part of the story was when the police officer tells the woman to put down her sign, but if she does she’ll be cited for littering. WTF?