Police Chief Calls Press Conference, Arrests Everyone in Attendance

Police Chief Calls Press Conference, Arrests Everyone in Attendance

Two Activists Facing Felony Charges for YouTube Comments Made By Viewers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2018

Contact Jack Miller, Vice President
info@nationalassociationforindividualrights.org

Leon Valley, Texas—On Saturday, June 23, 2018, around a dozen people, including credentialed reporters, were arrested after gathering for a late-afternoon press conference announced by Joseph Salvaggio, Chief of Police of Leon Valley, a suburb of San Antonio.

Video of the press conference was live streamed to YouTube by Jonathan Green, “Ohio Guardian 2.0.” Green traveled to Leon Valley with his father for the weekend to “document ongoing police abuse and brutality.” Earlier Saturday, Green was threatened with arrest while attempting to submit a written compliant to Salvaggio. Police refused to accept the complaint.

“First and foremost,” said Salvaggio as he walked out of city hall and approached the crowd that gathered. “Bao come over here, you’re under arrest.”

“Thank you for coming to Leon Valley. I totally, totally support your right to put something online, your First Amendment right,” said Salvaggio.

Salvaggio then arrested Green, seized Green’s video phone, and continued to live stream the arrests from his perspective.

“Everybody else, you are not free to leave… you are witnesses, every one of y’all are witnesses to the crime. Every one of your cameras, your devices, every one of them are going to be taken, every one of y’all, sit down right here.”

Salvaggio ordered officers to arrest everyone in the vicinity of the press conference. “Go back and get the rest of them, get every one of them.”

“Leon Valley launched a war against citizens who are attempting to hold them accountable,” said Jack Miller, Vice President of the National Association for Individual Rights. “They arrest people regardless of what the law says they can and cannot arrest them for. They go outside of the law to retaliate against people who are protesting them.”

Bao Nguyen, the first person arrested at the press conference, was charged with Retaliation, a Third Degree Felony. Texas hate crime laws criminalize the act of publishing public information about police officers, such as a home address. The law also criminalizes speech that threatens police or public servants.

Salvaggio explained the arrests at the press conference: “What you don’t have a right to do is be streaming things where police officers’ or anybody else’s family is being threatened… If you stream something, you are responsible for its contents. There’s death threats on y’alls YouTube Live, and every one of y’all will be held accountable for those death threats.”

James Springer was also charged with Felony Retaliation. Nguyen and Springer were each released Sunday on $5,000 bond. Although police have not released official arrest affidavits, activists speculate the police used YouTube comments made by internet viewers during live videos to justify the arrests.

Arrested witnesses were held outside in extreme South Texas heat, and police refused to provide access to water. On Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a statement about the heat danger, advising people to “take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside.” Paramedics transported arrested witness Kevin Egan of Chicago, Illinois to the hospital for a heat related emergency. Egan was treated and released from Methodist Hospital later that evening.

Brian Howd and Jason Green (father of Jonathan) were both arrested for resisting arrest, a Class A Misdemeanor, and Interfering with Duties of a Public Servant, a Class B Misdemeanor. The magistrate judge rejected the charges for both men. None of the others arrested on Saturday, including Jonathan Green, were charged with a crime.

Police and activists talked and joked with each other earlier in the week at a Leon Valley City Council meeting. Salvaggio invited Nguyen to sit next to him. “Come on down… I can put my arm around you. If you want, I’ll even kiss your ears,” Salvaggio said. The two sat together with Salvaggio’s arm around Nguyen.

The two-month-long controversy started when Jesus Padilla was arrested while filming inside Leon Valley City Hall on May 2, 2018. A city official told Padilla he could enter the hallway that led to the city administrators’ offices. Salvaggio saw Padilla filming, told him he was in a “restricted area,” and arrested him. Salvaggio later instructed city staff to lock the doors leading to the administrative area even though accessibility and evacuation concerns were raised. Salvaggio later referred to Padilla as his “little buddy.”

Miller was arrested on May 31, 2018 after protesting Leon Valley’s “illegal anti-gun signs.” According to the website DefendJack.com, Miller submitted an official complaint as required by law and later that night police arrested Miller, raided his home, and seized all of his cameras, phones, and memory cards.

On June 14, 2018, Mark Brown was arrested and tasered after filming inside the entrance to Leon Valley City Hall. Padilla, who was outside on the sidewalk, was also arrested.

David Bailey and Springer were arrested on June 18, 2018 while protesting inside the entrance to Leon Valley City Hall. Police seized cameras and phones from everyone who was near the scene of the arrests.

“It’s a war against free speech, it’s a war against accountability,” Miller said.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Texas Penal Code 36.06 established Felony Retaliation. In an unrelated case in April, East Texas activist Stephen Wilson was indicted on multiple Felony Retaliation counts after publishing copies of public information that related to the family of Polk County District Attorney William Lee Hon.

Texas Penal Code 38.02(a) makes it a crime to refuse to identify only if lawfully arrested. A citizen who is a witness to a crime is not required to identify; however, it is illegal to provide false identification (see Section 38.02(b)(3)).

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The National Association for Individual Rights’ mission is to promote accountability for government officials, to protect the Constitutional Rights of Americans and to establish a political, social, financial and legal presence to create change in public policy, in law enforcement, and in the criminal justice system.

Activist Arrested After Submitting Gun Ban Complaint to City of Leon Valley

Activist Arrested After Submitting Gun Ban Complaint to City of Leon Valley

Police charged Jack Miller with a 3rd Degree Felony and seized camera and computer equipment from his home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 11, 2018

Contact Jack Miller, Vice President
txjack72@gmail.com
PDF Version

LEON VALLEY, TX—A video released on YouTube Monday morning shows police confronting local civil rights activist Jack Miller at Leon Valley City Hall when Miller filed a complaint about anti-gun signs that he claimed were illegal.

On May 31, 2018, Jack Miller visited Leon Valley City Hall to submit a complaint about signs posted inside the doors that prohibit concealed and open carry of handguns. According to the Texas Attorney General website, “individuals who observe violations must first file a complaint with the government that appears to be in violation.”

“The only way to know if governments will infringe on the rights of gun owners is to test them, so I openly carried a fake gun made of rubber to see if I would be excluded,” Miller said. “Police instructed me to leave but did not search me or inspect the piece of rubber in my holster. I make sure to never break the law.”

In the video, Leon Valley police are heard telling Miller “everything will be fine” and “there is no problem.”

Later that night, police led by Leon Valley Police Chief Joseph Salvaggio raided Millers home, arrested him, and seized all of his cameras and computer equipment, including his internet modem. Miller was charged with a 3rd Degree Felony, Places Weapons Prohibited. Leon Valley issued a criminal trespass warning against Miller, banning him from Leon Valley’s public property.

“The police know that without my camera equipment, I am unable to document government activities and expose bad behavior,” said Miller. “It’s abusive censorship and infringement of protected 1st Amendment rights, comparable to seizing a newspaper’s printing press or a broadcast station’s microphone.”

An online petition posted on DefendJack.com calls for Governor Greg Abbott, Leon Valley Mayor Chris Riley, and Salvaggio to drop the criminal charges against Miller and fire “government employees who abuse citizen activists.”

The entrance to Leon Valley City Hall is marked with a large stylized “Leon Valley” sign above the door.  A plaque outside the door dedicates the “Leon Valley Municipal Facility.” The entrance is not portrayed to be a court. In previous Leon Valley documentation and press coverage, the building is called “City Hall.”

In the Affidavit for Arrest Warrant, Leon Valley police called the building “City of Leon Valley Municipal Court facility,” “Leon Valley municipal court,” “municipal court offices,” “City of Leon Valley municipal court building,” “Leon Valley Municipal Court,” “Municipal Court building,” “court and court administration facility,” and “Leon Valley Municipal 6400 El Verde Leon Valley.”

“Reasonable people know it is Leon Valley City Hall and not a court facility,” said Miller. “All weapons are banned in a court, so a sign about licensed handguns has nothing to do with whether or not a threshold is a court.”

Miller submitted a complaint to the Texas Attorney General about the Leon Valley City Hall anti-gun signs on Friday, June 8, 2018. Miller was released from jail on a $10,000 bond.

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Jack Miller served for a decade in law enforcement, licensed in the State of Texas. On his Facebook profile, there are numerous public profile pictures memorializing fallen peace officers.

The National Association for Individual Rights’ mission is to promote accountability for government officials, to protect the Constitutional Rights of Americans and to establish a political, social, financial and legal presence to create change in public policy, in law enforcement, and in the criminal justice system.