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“A Tarrant County [Texas] judge granted a defense motion for a mistrial in the case of a McKinney man who carried a rifle during a June march protesting the fatal shooting of a black college student by a white Arlington police officer,” reports. “LaShadion Anthony Shemwell, 29, was charged with disorderly conduct/displaying a weapon in a threatening manner and resisting arrest in the June 10 incident.” Here’s how it went down . . .

Shemwell was one of two men carrying rifles who arrived at Arlington police headquarters June 10 for the rally and march. About 50 protesters marched from police headquarters, 610 W. Division St., chanting, until they reached Levitt Pavilion, an Arlington music venue, where the band Humming House was playing.
Some spectators began shouting at them.

Police officers testified Monday that they asked both men to “sling” or attach their rifles to shoulder straps.

One man did as police asked and was not arrested, Arlington officer Jacob Cannon testified Monday. Shemwell, however, refused to sling his rifle. Anthony struggled with Cannon when he tried to take the rifle from him and then stiffened his muscles when other police officers tried to handcuff him, Cannon said.

Cannon said people at the concert were frightened by the armed presence and that, at the time of the arrest, about 100 police officers were on the scene.

Shemwell was holding his AR-15 with one hand, which Cannon said was not safe.

“Command staff deployed us to Levitt because the crowd was being agitated,” Cannon said. “We were told to get the individuals to sling their guns or take them.”

Other witnesses said they never saw Shemwell point his rifle at anyone, and Gebhardt said nothing in the law requires those carrying a rifle to use a strap to secure it.

Fair enough?

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  1. Meh… It’s a gray area. This would be up to the totality of the circumstances. In the real world, keep your rifle slung unless you have cause to use it. Even a single point sling across your chest is better than this douchebaggery.

    • Under Texas law a person is guilty of disorderly conduct is he displays it in “a manner calculated to alarm”. I agree that it depends on the totality of the circumstances and that it’s possible for a person to hold a gun and yet not violate the statute. In this case, however, I believe arrest was proper. First, the person is holding the rifle in front of him with his hands positioned on the rifle in such a way that he could quickly raise and fire it. Second, his clothing, especially his vest, suggest that he appeared at the event expecting an armed conflict. His position relative to the protesters may also have been chosen to intimidate others although it’s hard to tell this from the photo. And, before anyone says, “You’re only saying that because he’s black”, forget it. I’d feel the same way if he were white. And, I agree that laws concerning disorderly conduct tend to be somewhat vague and can be abused to infringe on legitimate First and Second Amendment rights. I just don’t think that happened here.

      • I always ask the question in these cases, “Would it be appropriate for him to hold a handgun in this manner?”

        Slinging a rifle is similar to holstering a handgun. If you walk around with a handgun in your hand, it will “cause alarm.” The same is true with a rifle. I agree on the arrest. The other protester did utilize the sling and didn’t go to the clink.

    • Yea, it is called, don’t be a jerk. If the officer asks you to sling the weapon, why not? Clearly the officer could have actually disarmed the individual at his discretion “for his own safety and the safety of others” and made a simple request. Those of us in the professional armed community understand the significant difference between a port arms weapon and a slung weapon. Carry openly if you feel you need to but don’t be a jerk and give fuel to the other side’s fire.

      • if you delude ensuring your rights depend on not being a jerk, or hurting the feeeeeeeeeeeelz of some pussy govt terrorist cuntards and hoplophobes, you don’t know much.

        • It’s not my feels. If you have a gun IN YOUR HAND and you refuse to put it away, you’re an active fucking threat and I will put as much lead in your ass as it takes to put you down. This retard is lucky the cops didn’t light him up. You have a constituional right to carry a gun. You do not have a constitutional right to wave it around like a retard.

        • Merely holding a firearm in your hand does not make you an active threat. This attitude by government employees is why they must be disarmed so citizens will no longer be endangered by their overzealous actions. Better 1000 dead cops than one citizen have his rights abridged.

  2. I don’t know how it works in TX, but in VA you do NOT need to be pointing the firearm at someone to get popped with brandishing.

    18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.
    A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

    B. Any police officer in the performance of his duty, in making an arrest under the provisions of this section, shall not be civilly liable in damages for injuries or death resulting to the person being arrested if he had reason to believe that the person being arrested was pointing, holding, or brandishing such firearm or air or gas operated weapon, or object that was similar in appearance, with intent to induce fear in the mind of another.

    C. For purposes of this section, the word “firearm” means any weapon that will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel single or multiple projectiles by the action of an explosion of a combustible material. The word “ammunition,” as used herein, shall mean a cartridge, pellet, ball, missile or projectile adapted for use in a firearm.

    In VA if he’s inducing fear, it counts. To me if you are walking around holding a rifle in your hands unslung its moving beyond open carry and into brandishing territory. If I walked into a restaurant you were eating in with a pistol/rifle/etc in my hands, I’m sure most people there would quickly find their hearts in their throats.

        • And usually, if you are ‘popped’ for a weapons offense wearing body armor, that’s an additional offense, or multiplier on the penalty.

          But maybe his mom bought him an airsoft plate carrier?

    • I believe there aren’t any laws in Texas that specify how or where you can open carry long guns. Of course there are many laws which come into play such as in this case, covering display of a weapon in a threatening or alarming manner. Who defines what equals threatening or alarming? The LEO responding to the call initially which of course means it won’t be applied equally everywhere. In addition, the disorderly conduct statute is sufficiently vague that it could be used to arrest someone for wearing a disturbing t-shirt. Of course as this individual would have likely found out had he not also resisted, being arrested and being prosecuted are two different animals.

  3. Fair enough. While I believe that he should have slung his rifle, I also do not believe that he should have been arrested for not doing so.

    • Years before 9/11 and the tsa I had reason to carry a shotgun, cased, thru San Francisco airport. I was legal for the standards of the time. I was also the safest guy in the airport at the time.

      Not because of my unloaded and cased shotgun. But because of the 2 cops that walked with me thru the airport. They did not speak to me and I did not speak to them. But they were just a few feet from me the whole time I was there. Even after I checked the gun in at the boarding gate.

      They made no inquiries, no demands. They just hovered nearby.

      • If it happens again, offer a handshake and thank them for their time. A little civility can go a long way; a lesson clearly lost on this protesting tool.

        • The government employee owes civility and respect to the citizen. The citizen does not owe it to the government employee.

        • Chris, a civil society is based on mutual civility from all. If everyone just treats everyone else with a base level of respect so many issues would resolve themselves.

      • I have had occasion to meet people ‘open carrying’ (not always guns) in the past through strange places where the practice was not illegal but was unusual enough that it guaranteed 911 calls, etc. In such cases I would often ask to speak to the person. If they elected not to speak to me and I was therefore unable to discern their intentions I would simply follow them at some (reasonable but obvious) distance if for no other reason than to short-circuit the 911 calls since we had no discretion on the matter of responding to such calls or not (plus I could hopefully figure out if the person meant harm to anyone in the meantime).

    • Show me where in the law the type of firearm affects the legal test for brandishing. You’ll won’t find it. One unslings a shoulder sling weapon from their shoulder in preparation to shoot. That is a clear escalation. Add the tac-vest and most LEOs would be on alert and ask him to take it down a notch.
      About a month later, 5 Dallas police officers were shot and killed at a protest.
      The peanut gallery always says you are too cautious and over-reacting until, well, you weren’t cautious enough and didn’t react fast enough.
      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
      And the same tongues wag and the same fingers point no matter the outcome.
      Like the BLM supporter in Houston who was robbed and then wants more police presence..
      Police just can’t win sometimes.

    • You can slide a handgun into a pocket, or into your belt, which you cannot do with a rifle. Rifles do not normally come with a sling, any more than most handguns come with a holster. And the idea that carrying a rifle with one hand is somehow “unsafe” is simply nonsense. Particularly when the question of whether it is loaded has not been answered. This was crap, and anyone asserting fear of this guy looking as he does in this picture should have their names recorded as being “unreliable witnesses” for the rest of their lives, they’re either lying or unbalanced.

  4. I don’t think I would do it without pretty good reason. To me it suggests a heightened state of readiness to fire.

  5. If you’re exhibiting a weapon to be provocative in a non-threat situation, you’re purposely using the weapon against the intent of carry rules. Carrying a weapon in-protest rides the border line on peaceable assembly.

    What did the permit provide for the manner of protest? It might be good to add (all weapons holstered or slung) that as a rider clause on the permits granted. Organizers can put that info out to their people, or let their people waste the police’s time and they can pay the price. Maybe make the Organizer’s pay fines for conduct of their protesters? That way, they can piss off their Soros free-lancers when they get them in-line, and the cops won’t have to.

    I respect the cops and their bosses for first providing the “out”, of the allowance to sling their weapons after the fact. That’s cool-headed. Who keeps posting here “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” ? The oc looks “cool” enough to pose for pictures (if that’s him up top) it would be a little disingenuous of him to later claim any heat of the moment or threat-level defense.

    • “What did the permit provide for the manner of protest? It might be good to add (all weapons holstered or slung) that as a rider clause on the permits granted.”

      Joe, you’re gonna have to quit that, it makes too much sense! If that is even possible, it is the obvious answer. I cannot even imagine having any objection to preannounced restrictions on *how* I could carry, as opposed to *whether*. This guy had a sling, if the organizers had pointed out that was the content of the permit, at their request, any further objection on his part would be reasonable cause for his hassle.

      • If you specify holstered and slung weapons only on the permit and this guy refuses to comply shouldn’t it be something akin to trespass instead of brandishing?

        • I don’t know their local ordinances, but I don’t think that one offense wipes out (covers over???) the other. The highest offense would be chargeable. I don’t rule out that trespass could also be brought but I think (once there was a noted violation of the permit, that was not redressed by the organizers) there would be a violation of the Permit [in total] (with whatever penalties that carried) and, there would/could still be chargeable offenses open to each violator.

          But what do I know. 🙁

          Smart Lives Matter, everybody should seek competent legal counsel.

  6. Carrying and brandishing are two different things.

    Say you want to carry while exercising but you do not own a holster. Running down the street with a gun in your hand is not a wise thing to do. I’m not a cop, but I most likely would draw on someone running at me with a gun in their hand.

    Here in Metro Detroit, running with a gun in hand either you just robbed or shot somebody, or are about to.

  7. If you consider a long gun in the same context as a handgun in a legal “open carry” state, would carrying the handgun in your hand rather than in a holster be considered “brandishing”? If so, then why would not carrying a rifle in the same manner not constitute a like offense? Carrying the rifle slung is concomitant to carrying a holstered handgun and as the article noted, the individual who complied with the police request to “sling arms” was not arrested.

  8. …to keep and BEAR arms. It doesn’t say how one is to bear said arms.

    To the matter at hand; If his actions ran contrary to state law then he may have been disobeying a “lawful” order. If not, arrest was not warranted, nor was the seizing of his rifle. This is one for the lawyers to sort out initially, and for the voters/representatives to review later.

    • “Bear” has historically meant “carry”, but it could have [originally] meant to “care for”, as in, you can keep and bear yours, but (in the absence of ‘yours’) here’s one of ours, you can keep it and “bear” it as though it were your individual personal possession. When viewed that way, it seems more like a catch-all.

      We do hold each other to a “neutral” threat level when we say to each other that it’s ok to keep and bear (in my presence) your-arms. That’s why carrying where liquor is served is somewhat abhorrent, because it is more difficult to assess a threat from someone who is intentionally impairing their own judgment and inhibitions. So, yes, we do say how and where each of us will carry, so that it maintains détente where required.

    • Now we’re debating the meaning of “bear”…
      Only in a country that doesn’t know what the meaning of “is” is….

      I didn’t know that one of the ‘requirements’ for owning and carrying a rifle was to own and attach a sling. Sounds like an infringement to me. And this discussion is just another tactic to divide and conquer. First it was hunters vs. the rest of the gun world. Now it’s the pro ‘sling’ vs. the ‘why do I have to have a sling’ groups. Folks, we’re rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

      • If you shot somebody because they were (sloppy-handling) waving the muzzle of their weapon around near you and, at times, ‘flagging’ you with it in a crowd of screaming people, you’d likely want some support from (especially) those here regarding your judgment decision as to where YOU thought that the guy first “crossed the line”. I don’t know what the answer is, my comment is the same though, if you are using your weapon to be provocative in a non-threat situation, then you are the aggressor. Paired with a protest, you MIGHT be subject to more strict interpretation of your actions. I don’t know if a “sling-fix” is the answer, again, I just thought it was ‘nice’ of the cops to first offer such.

        And we are NOT debating what “bear” means. I already decided, and what I say goes. Kidding. My only comment was that there might be historical nuances to the term, that might have actually (if used in that context) provided for MORE freedoms than just the [attempted to be limited / limiting] interpretation as “to carry” today.

  9. Its a fine fine line here, I think the point would be expressed well enough with the weapon slung over the shoulder, or supported other than in the hands. If i were to undertake such a task, I think i would go right to the Police on hand and introduce myself and let them know of my intent to peaceable protest, and nothing more.

    • You make fair points, but as for the photo you posted, we really need to be careful. That photo is used a lot in anti-OC discussions, when the facts are:

      (1) It was a posed picture.

      (2) There were cops present…they knew what was going on.

      (3) The manager of the store was present and knew what was going on, and they had permission to be there.

      (4) Other patrons in the store were not alarmed, so no “terrorizing others” type BS.

      That guy on the right was not arrested because he was engaged in peaceful protest and quite literally everyone around him knew it.

      How he happened to be holding his rifle for a posed picture is completely irrelevant.

    • You do realize that it takes less than a second to go from “present arms” to being ready to fire? Right?

      Besides, nobody in their right mind does rifle drill with a weapon that’s at least in condition 3.

  10. I would say you don’t go walking around with a rifle in your hand. Having it slung is having it in a “resting state” and signals to other people that you don’t intend to use it. If you’re walking around with it in your hand, that’s more of a ready to use posture and people will recognize that and it will definitely make them more uncomfortable.

    Now whether he should have been arrested for that… I don’t know, maybe. He was being a prick though for refusing to sling it and the police did have a duty to keep the march as peaceful as possible.

    • “A Tarrant County [Texas] judge granted a defense motion for a mistrial in the case of a McKinney man who carried a rifle during a June march”

      Looks like it was.

      Upon reading this account, there is a slight tinge of the cop telling him to sling the rifle, him not doing it and the cop hooking him up.

      “Respect Muh Authoritay” kind of thing.

      Now, I don’t know this to be true…but that thought DID cross my mind as I read the excerpt of the cop’s testimony.

      On the other hand, I will say that in areas where application of the law has both feet planted in gray area, arrest is one thing so long as the defendant gets fair hearing in court.

      In this case it seems he did. The cop did what he thought was right by the law (probably), and the court sorted it out. Judge said, “Nope; that’s not disorderly conduct.”

      Case gone.

      Message to that cop, and maybe some others: “That’s not disorderly conduct.” In this case, the ‘system’ seems to have worked as designed.

      None of us wants to be arrested, but we also do have to admit there are (properly and by design) gray areas in the law. Each case is unique. So long as the court system remains just and blind, all’s good.

      That means generally erring on the side of the defendant…by far most of the time.

      It’s when the courts become corrupt and mere agents of the State that the real problems start.

      • “Case gone.”

        We do not know that. A mistrial is not a dismissal. The judge granted a mistrial to the defense because jury heard or saw something presented by the prosecution or a prosecution witness that is improper and predjudicial to the defense. Something that could not be unseen or unheard, that, in the opinion of the judge, was of sufficient gravity to taint the jury pool. It is now up to the DA to decide whether to start over with a new jury.

  11. So, its been awhile since my days of “marchin’ up and down the squaaaah”, but the picture shown looks to me like a guy holding his rifle at “present arms”, ie the way one salutes when under arms. Being this is a protest/memorial march for someone killed, is it possible he was paying respects, or that the way he was holding it was symbolic (as a salute) in some way? It certainly doesn’t look threatening at all from my perspective, and my first thought was “who is he saluting?”.

    • I would say that he’s not threatening in that picture, but we don’t really know if the was holding it like that the entire time.

  12. I would say it depends a lot on how he was holding it.

    On a sling pointing at people is not better than held not pointing at people. Hard to say without being there how things went down, though.

  13. I am going to swim against the current and say that his entire demeanor was relevant … and that he is good to go with rifle in hand as long as his entire demeanor was non-aggressive.

    Consider someone who is hunting for small game on public land. They would be walking with a loaded rifle or shotgun in hand, ready to quickly point and shoot if they suddenly see a game animal. And yet no one would suggest that the hunter must walk with his/her rifle or shotgun slung over their shoulder … nor would anyone suggest that the hunter is guilty of brandishing. Why is that? Because the hunter’s entire demeanor was non-aggressive.

    Now let’s apply this to the real world. I was hunting a few years back and actually had a heated verbal altercation with another hunter. Both of us had shotguns casually slung across our arms — which means at least one of our hands were on our shotguns and they were NOT slung over our shoulders. In spite of that heated verbal dispute, never once did our body language nor our actual spoken words suggest any intention of physical aggression. Should police have been able to charge either one of us with brandishing? I say an emphatic NO.

    Brandishing (and similar “carrying to the terror of the public” infractions) must involve an aggressive, threatening demeanor in addition to having a firearm in hand. If the man in this case did not have an aggressive, threatening demeanor, then he should not be charged.

    • Every individual situation is different but in general slinging a rifle is considered courteous.

      Shotguns are a bit different than a AR because many true sporting shotty’s don’t have swivel studs.

      OCing a rifle in a ready hold is basically akin to having a pistol out of it’s holster but not waving it about. Illegal (in most cases)? No. Stupid and discourteous? Absolutely.

      Sling that rifle. Chest, side, back or whatever. I don’t care how you sling it but when your hands are on your rifle I figure you mean business because if my hands are on my rifle I’m debating whether or not to shoot you.

      Same thing with a large knife. In a sheath, no worries. If it’s in your hand I assume you intend to use it. It’s not illegal but it grabs my attention damn fast.

      He shouldn’t have been arrested but he should have been smarter/less of an asshole.

  14. He should have slung his rifle. If you are conducting a free speech protest that is the correct thing to do.
    Go back to the Republican convention. All rifles where slung.
    Now go back to the oath keepers in Ferguson Missouri. Guys on the ground slung their weapons.
    The guy on roof top guard did not. Same for the Americans in Korea town in Los Angeles in 1992. They were also on guard duty.

    Bottom line were it’s legal sling or holster your firearm during a free speech protest.

  15. In Texas, disorderly conduct hinges on that “calculated to alarm” standard. A rifle slung over the shoulder may alarm someone, but that someone is just too sensitive. Their being alarmed doesn’t count, the carrier’s calculations, if any, are moot.

    I’d say the same goes for a rifle carried one-handed. If you skulking around like you’re hunting in the forest, that’s pretty alarming and you should knock it off.

    Let’s just all agree that gray areas exist. We can avoid having to agree on what cannot be agreed on, by not inhabiting that gray area to begin with. Usually, being in that gray area was just done to irk someone else and not some essential activity on its own. Avoid the problems by not being a jerk and staying out of the gray area.

  16. Swinging from a sling with the muzzle pointing in random directions or controlled with both hands and his strong hand not even on the pistol grip, (his booger hook not on the bang switch). Which would you rather have?

  17. For some reason I am always surprised at the number of comments that lean towards “that’s not what I would do so the police were correct to arrest him. He is a douchebag!”.

    I guess by now I shouldn’t be surprised, but honestly it truly saddens me…

  18. I’ve said multiple times that having a rifle in your hands such as a low ready carry is discourteous, however I don’t think he should have been arrested. I’m pretty sure being discourteous isn’t illegal.

  19. The poor cop was under orders to disarm anybody who refused to sling his long arm.

    When the victim refused to sling or surrender his rifle, the cop was left with two unfortunate choices:
    1. Become an order breaking oath keeper.
    2. Arrest a law abiding citizen for contempt of cop.

    • Fair enough, but would you concede that it is reasonable to criminalize the act of pointing a gun at someone (or a crowd) during such an encounter? If so, then the fact that the Constitution does not specify means of carry does not mean anything goes. And so we’re talking about gray areas and context, which is right where we were anyway.

      • Holding a firearm in the manner pictured does not affect you in any way except, possibly, emotionally. No one is legally responsible for your emotions in any manner whatsoever. However, the moment the rifle is held in a such a way that it is pointed at another person, unless in self-defense, a crime is now being committed because you are physically threatening the life of another. The mere presence of a firearm is not, by itself, a physical threat to you and therefore not a crime.

        You are not any more of a victim if I stand next you with a hammer, a lollypop, or a firearm. And yes, I could find a way to kill you with a lollypop. 🙂

    • That’s pretty much my position.

      Add to this, the fact that not all long guns have slings. eg, the vast majority of shotguns don’t have slings.

      Let’s say that rifle didn’t have a sling on it. What then?

  20. Help me out here… Can someone please post the part in the constitution that says the thing about the right of the people to keep and sling arms? No victim, no fvcking crime!


    Bear: verb
    to hold up; support
    to hold or carry

  21. It sounds like this guy was standing around for a while before anyone said anything to him. To me that says it’s unlikely he’s going to hurt anyone. Looking at the totality of the situation, he was no threat.


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