In medieval monarchies, canon were often inscribed with the legend ultima ratio regum (“the final argument of kings”) — a Latin phrase that means, essentially, “Submit, or I’ll murder you.” That would be a proper inscription for the shotgun wielded by this corpulent police goon in Houston as he threatened a group of loud but peaceful and unarmed demonstrators the night of January 27.
“On Friday January 27th the Houston Free Thinkers held one of their usual benefit shows at the Compound off 2305 Wheeler in Houston, Texas,” reported organizer Derek Broze. “Around 10:15 the Houston Police Department arrived for a noise complaint. Veon McReynolds, owner of The Compound and myself, met with the officers around the back side closest to the street. About 5-10 officers were present for this noise complaint.”
“We attempted to work with the officers to resolve the issue but they seemed to content with nothing less than the entire party shutting down,” Broze continued. “Several officers began looking around the private property of the compound. I inquired if they had a warrant to be doing so, and was immediately asked if I had identification. I informed the officer I was not operating a motor vehicle and therefore was not carrying ID, but offered my full name and birth date and made it clear to the officers I was not failing to identify myself. The same officer asked me to come with him to his car, and I asked if I was being detained. Upon being told I was not being detained I told him I would remain where I was. He then grabbed me by the arm and attempted to pull me to his car. I stepped back and asked why I was being assaulted. I informed the officer that I respected him but was not going anywhere. He then grabbed me and dragged me out the back to the street and pushed me to the backside of the car. At this point Micah Jackson came out and interviewed me about what was going on.”
To their considerable credit, the protesters objected to the lawless harassment from the Houston Police, refusing to comply with unconstitutional demands and loudly denouncing the unwarranted acts of assault, abduction, and — eventually — aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Frustrated by his inability to intimidate the rambunctious but peaceful crowd, the officer grabbed a shotgun and jacked a shell into the chamber.
A few seconds earlier, the officer had waddled menacingly toward the protesters and grunted: “Your freedom ends tonight.”
Broze was charged with a spurious misdemeanor called “failure to obey” — a charge that assumes that peaceful, law-abiding citizens are required to render immediate, unquestioning obedience to any demand that dribbles down the chins of an ambulatory carbohydrate sculpture with a bad crewcut and an extra-extra large government-issued costume. Micah Jackson was detained, but eventually released without charges.11:04 pm on February 9, 2012 Email William Norman Grigg