This past Saturday, three “cop watchers” were arrested while video recording Arlington police who were conducing a traffic stop, local media reports.
The three cop watchers identified as Kory Watkins, Janie Lucero, and Joseph Tye now face criminal charges for interfering with public duties.
In addition to being a cop watcher, Watkins and his wife Lucero are proud open-carry advocates who’ve been targeted by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America for lawfully carrying long arms into supermarkets.
Watkins spoke at length to CW 33 about the arrest Saturday night, maintaining that he did nothing wrong.
“I was following the orders of the police officer that was telling me to move backwards and at that time, that`s when the police officer from behind me, came in with his car and almost hit me and my wife. And shortly after that I was arrested,” said Watkins.
Watkins contends that it was his temper that caused the officer to put the three in cuffs, but emphasized that he never broke the law.
“Being upset isn`t illegal. I didn`t hurt anybody,” Watkins continued. “There was a car coming at my wife. Any normal husband would get angry at that. Even if somebody is yelling at an police officer — doesn`t matter if they’re yelling rainbows and butterflies or if they’re yelling f-bombs and s-bombs. That’s not illegal.”
However, police officials believe that Watkins, his wife and friend went too far with their surveillance and inhibited the officers at the scene.
“Out of approximately 20 people out there recording the officers three were arrested because they did interfere,” Jeffrey Houston, Sergeant of the Media Office for the Arlington Police Department, said. “‘The issue is these people were interfering with the call and not allowing the officers to do their job.”
Officials said that they have no problem when the public records police officers at work, but the public needs to respect their commands.
“If an officer says, ‘Can you step back a little bit?’ then you probably need to step back at that point,” Sgt Houston explains. “As a whole, we go out of our way not to take enforcement action on these groups; but when it becomes interference with the officers, they can`t do their job. We had to take action.”
Meanwhile, at least one gun-control group believes Watkins behavior is indicative of a larger trend within the gun community.
“Kory Watkins and the various other members of Open Carry Texas are a textbook example of the consequences of the insurrectionist ideology that has been promoted by the NRA and other gun lobby groups for decades,” said Ladd Everitt from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in an email obtained by GunsAmerica.
“This is a group that has been actively seeking physical confrontations with law enforcement officers since the very beginning,” Everitt continued. “That none of these confrontations have resulted in violence is a testament to the professionalism and restraint of our men and women in blue, and it belies OCT’s ridiculous claims of ‘tyranny’ and ‘oppression.'”
“What is perhaps most disturbing, however, is that OCT’s activity has been given the overt blessing of Texas legislators like Craig Estes. If violence does eventually result from their activities, the blood will be on their hands,” concluded Everitt.
But Watkins believes that video recording the police is the best way to keep law enforcement honest and to “make sure there is a fine line of transparency for everybody to see.”
He added, “Just in case something happens on the police stop. We could be able to help the police department if need be. We could help the person who is getting pulled over or we could help ourselves.”
GunsAmerica also reached out to Watkins for comment. We’re awaiting his response.