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ECSO defends arresting protesters for carrying weapons on bar's property

(KOSA)
Published: May. 5, 2020 at 9:31 PM CDT
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Eight people have been charged after the owner of Big Daddy Zane’s bar decided to reopen in violation of the governor’s executive order.

The bar’s owner, Gabriella Ellison, was arrested for violating the governor’s order while the men were charged for unlawfully carrying weapons—a felony.

The Ector County Sheriff’s Office explained no one was arrested for protesting. Instead, they’re behind bars because of how they chose to do it.

On Monday, seven men brandished rifles outside the bar, not with the intention of firing them, but for attention.

“They we’re practicing their second amendment right to protect my first amendment,” Ellison said. “They have absolutely no business in this jail right now.”

Unfortunately, they got the wrong kind of attention.

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said these men were arrested because they brought those weapons onto the Big Daddy Zane’s property, which violates the TABC’s code.

The sheriff cited part of the code explaining that doesn’t just mean the inside of the building.

“All buildings, vehicles, and appurtenances pertaining to the grounds including any adjacent premises if they are directly or indirectly under control of the same person.”

However, one of those protestors claims that’s not what happened.

Open Texas Member Philip Archibald said his group was supporting the bar off of the property.

“And what we got in return are lifelong felonies and, y’know, even after we were told specifically where we could stand that wasn’t in violation of the TABC orders,” he said.

For that reason, Archibald said he and pro-gun groups he’s associated with are going to sue the sheriff’s office.

“We are going to bring the heat from our lawyers and we are going to make his life miserable politically,” he said.

But was all this necessary in the first place?

CBS7 asked Ellison why she decided not to wait for the governor’s order to expire so she could open up legally instead.

She said by then it’ll be too late.

“I will lose my business,” Ellison said. “My bartenders are already starving to death. I see my bar owner friends can’t even pay for their medical—medicines. This is terrible.”

Griffis said he’s sympathetic to businesses that are hurting but…

“This is not the way to do this,” he said.

Ellison said despite what happened she plans to open these doors once again, even though doing so could mean more fines and jail time.

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