Locked Up in MoCo: SCR Contributor Aaron Brown Speaks About Being Arrested While at Ted Cruz Rally
A little over a week ago, on Saturday, July 28th, we got word that Aaron Brown, one of our SCR writers and our de facto political blogger, had been arrested while attempting to attend a rally for Republican Senatorial candidate Ted Cruz — with former Presidential contender Sarah Palin in attendance — up in The Woodlands.
SCR had asked Aaron to check out the rally and blog about it for the site, figuring his take on the whole shebang would be entertaining and pointed and snarky, as always, and yeah, also figuring he’d probably do a little protesting of his own. It’s sort of what he does, mostly with his Montgomery County lockup.group. Even still, about the last thing we’d expected was to hear he was in the
To make matters weirder, it turned out he’d been arrested before he even got to the rally itself, while walking down the road towards the rally site. He was arrested, it seems, for exercising his First Amendment right of free speech…before he even got a chance to do it.
People up in arms about the arrest of Russian rockers Pussy Riot, take note: suppression of free speech is happening here, too, literally right in our own back yard. Aaron was planning to attend a free rally in a public space, threatened no one, was responsive and friendly to police officers, and complied with all their requests, and for that he ended up spending 18 hours in jail.
Aaron was able to speak with William Michael Smith over at the Houston Press not long after his arrest, in an effort to get his story out; you can read that over here, as well as Aaron’s own take on the arrest over on his Occupy The WBC Website, right here.
SCR kept in touch with Aaron during and after his stay in jail, and we were able to sit down with him a few days ago and chat about the arrest and its aftermath.
SCR: You got arrested on your way to cover the Sarah Palin rally for Space City Rock. Why do you think, from the law enforcement perspective, that they thought you needed to be arrested?
Aaron Brown: It was clear my arresting officer could tell I was a liberal protester. I was walking in the direction of the event, and he saw me coming in the next lane of traffic.
When he pulled in, he didn’t turn on his lights, not once, which I believe is required when you are investigating a law enforcement infraction. He was never joined by an addition squad car and officer, which again, I believe is required during any arrest in Montgomery County.
Additionally, just discovered today when I did an accurate inventory of all my stuff that was with me while in jail, my initial citation report, the small yellow copy of paper detailing the events of the infraction, the arresting officer’s name, pertinent info on me, and so on, was not returned to me when I exited lockup in Conroe. My arresting officer filled it out in front of me at The Woodlands lockup; I signed it and watched him put the yellow slip into my personal possessions bag sitting on the desk in front of him.
When I got that same plastic bag with all my stuff back the next morning, everything was there except that piece of paper. I still don’t know my arresting officer’s name or anything, because all of that was on the slip, now missing and presumed destroyed. The officer who arrested me was an older white man, 50s-60s, overweight, with an established Southern drawl and straight-laced haircut, accompanied by a Wilford Brimley mustache.
It is my estimation based on my arresting officer’s conversation back at lockup, he perceived me to be an “Occupy” protester, intent on disrupting the peace. Why I believe they thought I should be arrested is perfectly obvious. For a conservative county, when bigwig GOP superstars are in their neck of The Woodlands, it’s incumbent on MoCo sheriff’s [to] defuse any possible situation, especially if that can be achieved before the situation has even commenced.
Too many little inconsistencies like the ones already reported about, and others like the ones mentioned here, point to a very clear case of wrongful arrest, violation of my civil rights, all to silence my voice before it could even be heard.
Would you have interrupted Governor Palin? Just for SCR readers’ information, you spend 100% of your time counter-protesting Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. So you’re an atheist, but you do the Lord’s work. You also, at the Fred Phelps protests, have made friends with both the Hell’s Angels and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), so you’re — easily — the most liberal guy I know, but you routinely mix well and align yourself with people totally different than yourself. The Hell’s Angels, while experts at freaking out the squares, are hardly liberals. And the VFW…God bless ‘em.
So, what’s the worst you were going to do during Governor Palin’s speech? Because I was going to go, too. I was just going to stand there in a Slayer T-shirt and try to blend in. You, I take it, were not.
No, my viewpoints on provocative public activism are quite simple: the more provocative, the better. This tactic was deployed successfully against literally the most hated group of vocal public demonstrators in America, the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. They were used for simple or strictly aggressive counter-protests being waged against them in the past.
What they had not ever seen before, untilcame along, was an intense, focused, and yes, relentless campaign directed and deployed wherever possible. I used their own strategies and materials to act as an antithesis for their madness. And by infusing swear words onto signs, my stereo, and my megaphone, the concept was simply to bathe them in the depths of sleaze they so desperately fear and struggle to avoid.
Learning from the successes of OWBC, that same model can be used when combating the Tea Party. They similarly will spew countless hours of extremist rhetoric, then turn right around and shriek with horror like a woman jumping on a chair at the site of a rodent, anytime the smallest curse words are being heard or displayed.
It’s the ultimate in hypocrisy, and since these methods are so effective, as is the case with my arrest — because I hadn’t even used them yet — I hope to inspire others to get creative and take it right up to the limits. I’ve never broke[n] the law, I don’t advocate violence or unlawful behavior, nor will I ever, but you can go right up to that line and dance your heart out on it like Fred Astaire.
I saw some photographs of Gov. Palin. And her security looks suspiciously like Secret Service. I did not know that Jim DeMint was there. And Ted Cruz is another famous guy. So put that altogether, and there was probably a lot of security. And not necessarily uniformed policemen. Now, you were carrying around a sign that said “Occupy The WBC.com” even from the start.
And there’s a lot of spooky parts to your story. There’s the man that walked by and asked you to read your sign out loud and then accused you of threatening him or something. There’s the bicycle cop. There’s the way the policeman in the car pulled you over. It sounds weird to say it out loud. But is it possible you’re on some sort of a watch list?
On the day in question, none of my signage had the official OWBC logos or branding. This was a non-Occupy The WBC protest, and so my signs were either generic or directed at the subjects of this particular event. My first inclination in the arrest is probably the correct one. Either I was spotted by a plainclothes security staff, and that person radioed the complaint, or the sheriff acted of his own accord once he saw me walking in the direction of the event.
It’s starting to become clear they may not have even had an official complaint to initiate the arrest. This makes sense, given I was only outside and visible for about five minutes, and I hadn’t even begun protesting yet at the time of the arrest. Regardless of which theory is correct, both of them involve Americans acting unlawfully to silence the free speech of another American they disagree with.
So they’ll either drop this and expect you to go away. Or they prosecute it and risk your story going viral, right? You expecting to be interviewed on CNN?
If they still have a desire to prosecute this at the present juncture, they are stupider than I already gave them credit for. Based on the disappearance of the citation copy, and other discoveries, I feel they want this to go away quietly. All will be revealed — hopefully — about this angle of the story once I show up in person to plead my case in court.
As for press, I’m not expecting anything about anything with regards to interviews. And no offense to that storied network, my dream sit-down would be with Rachel Maddow over on the MSNBC, followed closely by one full segment with the sanitized lunatics of Fox and Friends.
With the news that Ted Cruz got the nomination it begs the question: would your appearance have had any effect on the runoff? On the other hand, Paul Sadler just got the Democrats’ nomination. He’s an environmental-type lawyer. Any hope for him?
I also similarly just heard the aforementioned Ms. Maddow talking about how someone somewhere thinks Texas could be a purple state in the next four years. I love that adorably plucky, baller-ass journalist, but I would have to strongly disagree with the analysis.
With all due respect to Mr. Sadler, unless he runs a real campaign with actual teeth, he will lose demonstrably. And it doesn’t take a Zoltar machine to predict this. The more-than-adequate former Houston mayor Bill White lost just two years to George W. Bush the Second [Ed. Note: i.e., Rick Perry], and by almost 14 percentage points.
I would call myself a liberal, per se, but I have never registered, nor do I particularly enjoy voting Democratic, principally because it frustrates me to no end that they constantly are beaten in political races by opponents who pretty much are legally brain dead. Take Mr. Sadler, in this instance. His opponent, Ted Cruz, starting tomorrow morning, will be the nation’s newest Tea Party darling. I can’t imagine a cogent Democratic campaign office not being able to dig up something on this guy.
I think Rachel Maddow may be referring to the mayor of San Antonio and the announcement that he will headline the convention.
No matter what, though, even with Julian Castro, San Antonio’s liberal mayor, also becoming a rising star on the other side, the Texas Democratic Party has little chance to swing the balance in their direction, until they take the fucking gloves off!
Your grandfather’s political campaigns of old, they need to go out the door and stay there. Otherwise, Perrys and Cruzes will continue to make Texas look like clown shoes in the eyes of the rest of the nation.
My appearance would have only riled up silly conservatives. It’s a fun tactic, helps them implode somewhat, but I doubt anyone would have had a change of heart and begin voting blue based on my hilarious protest signs.
Okay. This got kind of heavy, probably a bit much for a rock’n'roll blog. So let’s end on a lighter note: how did you you choose to celebrate Chick-Fil-A appreciation day?
I made a serving of “America Salad” — it’s a filled-to-the-brim bowl of thinly-sliced, discounted beef cooked rare on a George Foreman grill in a whole host of seasonings and sauces foreign to America. I came up with this dish last July 4th. I feel it’s the appropriate way to celebrate the excesses of America, and I felt that way on Wednesday too. END