Bell County, Texas officials released dashcam footage that shows Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham being disarmed and arrested by a Temple police officer in March. Grisham originally uploaded his own video to YouTube, which has since gone viral with over 6 million views, but that video didn’t capture the moment that the officer attempted to illegally disarm the decorated war veteran.
Grisham and his 15-year-old son were on a 10-mile hike to earn a Boy Scout merit badge for the teen. The rural area was known to be inhabited by wild boar, coyotes and cougars, which Grisham said was one reason he carried the AR-15 with him.
In the state of Texas, it’s legal to openly carry long guns and Grisham had not broken any laws while on the Boy Scout hike.
However, an area resident spotted Grisham with the gun and called authorities to report him. An officer then stopped Grisham and his son to question the man’s intentions for carrying the rifle. Then without warning – as captured in the dashcam video – the officer grabbed the gun then attempted to detach it from Grisham’s sling. Grisham pulled back in surprise and warned the officer that he was attempting to disarm him. At such point the officer threw Grisham against the hood of his car and handcuffed him.
Grisham’s son continued to record the incident as his father was disarmed, arrested, thrown into the back of the police cruiser and hauled off to jail. The teen began to cry when he realizes his dad is being arrested, but Grisham assures his son that everything would be okay.
Throughout the ordeal, Grisham continually asked the officers what he was doing wrong and why he was being detained, but he received no legitimate answers.
Grisham was originally charged with resisting arrest, but the charges were later downgraded to interference with duties of a public servant. Although he was able to avoid jail time, he was fined $2,000 in November.
Grisham’s arrest stirred controversy among gun rights advocates and even prompted a “Come and Take It” open carry rally in June. Grisham was also surprised at this year’s NRA convention when Black Rain Ordinance replaced his confiscated AR-15 with his choice of a new one. Additionally, Grisham has received nearly $52,000 in donations to help cover his legal fees and to fight for gun rights and against illegal search and seizure.
Prosecutors in Grisham’s case claim that he has used the incident to solicit money for his gun rights cause.
Grisham said that he fully intends to appeal the court’s decision. “I freely accept that regardless of my thoughts on the verdict, I’m very pleased with the fine, and the fact that I’ll be able to go home to my family,” Grisham said. “It still doesn’t change the fact that we’re gonna appeal the ruling and appeal the decision because I don’t believe the police have a right to do what they did that day.”