Police Raid Texas Political Meeting, Seize Phones, Fingerprint and Photograph All Attendees
The Liberty Crier
Federal and local police forces raided a political meeting, taking unusual measures to document every attendee by taking fingerprints and photographs, and seizing every cell phone and all recording equipment in the meeting hall.The raid took place on February 14, 2015, at VFW Post 4892 in Bryan, Texas. At 10:10 a.m., an “army of policing agencies with flashing emergency lights” showed up, shut down the meeting of “congenial and unimposing” Texans and forced them to hand over their private effects and biometric data.
My SanAntonio described the raid:
Minutes into the meeting a man among the onlookers stood and moved to open the hall door, letting in an armed and armored force of the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, Agents of the Texas District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.
In the end, at least 20 officers corralled, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, before seizing all cellphones and recording equipment in a Valentine’s Day 2015 raid on the Texas separatist group.
“We had no idea what was going on,” said John Jarnecke, president of the Republic of Texas. “We knew of nothing that would warrant such an action.”
The meeting was the monthly gathering of a group known as the Republic of Texas. Drawing participants from hundreds of miles away, the group shares a common vision of an independence Texan nation.
This group differentiates itself from others because it believes that the 19th century Republic of Texas was never legally dissolved, and the subsequent integration of Texan land into the USA was illegitimate. This is explained on the group’s Proclamation statement:
There is no need for the Republic of Texas to secede from the United States. We never “ceded” the land of Texas to them or to anyone else. A fraudulent color-of-law annexation agreement was foisted on elected officials in Texas, but no lawful treaty was ever ratified to allow the United States to take over our nation, which had already been established forever by international treaties. Those elected officials in Texas were never authorized to give up the sovereignty of the Republic of Texas.
For over a decade, a movement of Texans has carried on the tradition of the Republic of Texas, and even held elections to to fill its offices.
Rejecting the media’s “patently false” characterization of the group as a “militia,” the Republic’s website says that “the Republic of Texas is a self-determined people attempting to throw off the yoke of military occupation of Texas through peaceful and lawful process.”
Bob Wilson holds an elected position and described the group to RT: “In the early 2000s, a number of people got together and said, ‘You know what? If the land is still ours, and if there is a perpetual treaty that says we are a nation, lets just be a nation.’ And so they elected, but with a vote from the people, a President, Vice President, a Secretary of State, a Congress, Supreme Court justices — and all of those are still occupied and manned to this day. In fact, that government meets every month on the second Saturday of the month, and the people of Texas who are interested come to those meetings.”
Wilson currently sits as an elected Senator of the Republic of Texas.
“The purpose, the goal of the Republic of Texas,” Wilson explained, “is to restore and to preserve all the freedoms and all the sovereign rights that were won in 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto, when that treaty was signed. In other words, we’re here to make sure that people get to exercise those rights, even though an overreaching federal government of the U.S. keeps trying to take away more and more of the rights and freedoms. We’re here to restore them and make sure that they’re preserved.”
RT ran a 26-minute documentary on the Republic of Texas in 2013. See it below:
The pretext of the raid was that two individuals from the group had reportedly sent out “simulated court documents” — summonses for a judge and a banker to appear before the Republic of Texas to discuss the matter of a foreclosure.
These “simulated documents” were rejected and the authorities decided to react with a “show of force” — twenty officers and an extremely broad search warrant.
“As if dangerous criminals, many of the Texian people — generally seniors of respected middle-class business, farming, broadcasting, engineering, scientific, health, veterans, and faith-based backgrounds — were one-by-one physically searched on their person and in their vehicles, fingerprinted, detained and then had their personal belongings and property searched and seized,” the Republic of Texas described on its web site.
The website noted some of the belongings that were seized by police: “cell phones, iPads, laptops, business papers, Republic of Texas paperwork, coinage and other valuables.”
“How is it that a supposedly free people can be subjected to intimidating, rough, and highly intrusive search and seizure when assembling lawfully and peaceably from all corners of the vast Country of Texas to educate those in attendance about the Historical 1836 Republic of Texas Constitution and celebrate a Nationwide Valentine’s Day and a fellow Texian’s 89th birthday?” the group wondered.
No arrests were made, and the matter remains under investigation.
The tactics used went well beyond what was necessary to address a few individuals over a matter of disputed paperwork. It is clear that full-blown raid was performed to intimidate and harass every member of the group.
The irony of the situation is that the thuggish tactics employed by the police and federal government actually validate the concerns of the members of the Republic of Texas and other Americans who would prefer independence from the United States federal government.