The Tarrant County Peaceful Streets Project is a group of people who watch and film police in Tarrant County, Tx.
Last Saturday night, Kory Watkins, his wife Janie Lucero and a third cop watcher, Joseph Tye, were arrested while filming a police stop in Arlington, Tx., with about 20 other cop watchers.
In a video (below) shot by Watkins, the cop watchers scream the f-word at the police and compare the police stop to Nazi Germany.
However, Watkins, who is also a member of the pro-gun group Open Carry Tarrant County, has a different story.
“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,” Watkins told CW 33.
Sgt. Jeffrey Houston, of the Arlington Police Department, told the Star-Telegram, "Out of approximately 20 people out there recording the officers three were arrested because they did interfere. The issue is these people were interfering with the call and not allowing the officers to do their job.”
“If an officer says, ‘Can you step back a little bit?’ then you probably need to step back at that point,” added Sgt. Houston. “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.”
Watkins admits he was upset, but claims he didn't interfere with the police doing their job.
“Being upset isn`t illegal. I didn’t hurt anybody,” Watkins told CW 33. “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.”
The Arlington Police Department says it has tried to meet with the Tarrant County Peaceful Streets Project, but the group refused.
“There’s no need for us to meet or anything like that,” stated Watkins. “We aren`t doing anything wrong. We`re standing on the sidewalk and expressing our First Amendment rights to freedom of press, freedom of speech.”
Watkins and Lucero were charged interfering with public duties and obstructing a highway, while Tye was charged with interference with public duties and refusing to identify himself to police.