Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Arrests At Occupy Houston—First Amendment Protections For Some But Not For Others

A number of people were arrested at Occupy Houston last night.

They were arrested for having a tarp out in the rain and for jaywalking.

Here is video of the arrests from the Houston Chronicle.

Here is a report from TV station KHOU.

Here is a report from TV station KPRC. 

If members of Occupy Houston could come up with a lot of money and bundle it into large anonymous donations so as to legally bribe politicians, that would have been protected speech under the Citzens United case.

Also–correctly–protected by the Supreme Court are the anti-gay protests of the Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals.

In Houston however, the presence of a tarp during rain and jaywalking merits arrest.

It would be great to see conservatives  speak up about the use of state power to stifle First Amendment protections.

The office of Houston Mayor Annise Parker released following on November 4—

“Here’s a statement Mayor Parker tweeted last night regarding Occupy Houston: “There has been misinformation spread regarding the Occupy Houston protests. We have not made plans to ‘evict’ the participants. The City and Occupy Houston have a working relationship to allow protesters to exercise their first amendment rights without endangering public health or safety”


Occupy Houston held a press conference this morning about the arrests and I attended.

I took some pictures at the press conference to run here on the blog.

Below—The press conference. Many Houston media outlets were interested in what had taken place.

Below—Two Occupy Houston participants being interviewed. In the background is a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King that reads—“Reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced

Below—A member of the National Lawyer’s Guild speaking to the press.  The Guild has been helping Occupy efforts across the nation with legal issues. The building is the foreground with the American flag on top is Houston City Hall. City Hall is dwarfed by the corporate tower in background.

Here is the Occupy Houston website.

Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

My understanding is that the interactions with Houston police will be YouTube at some point soon.

Houston police officers are everyday working people no different from anybody else.

You can also find Occupy Houston, Occupy Wall Street and many other Occupy efforts on Facebook and on the web.

The placement of tarps and the actions of peaceful protesters were the most important things that Houston police had to deal with last night?

Occupy Houston protestors merit jail while the bank and financial executives who did so much to cause this recession with lies and fraud run free?

How can any person of any ideological viewpoint not be concerned with what is taking place with the arrests in a number of cities of Occupy protestors?

First it will be somebody else. Next time it will be you.

November 9, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,


  1. I’m going to General Assembly tonight. I’ll be careful crossing the street, although there are almost no cars on that narrow section of Walker (or is it Rusk?) between Tranquility and City Hall.

    Until now, I’ve been pretty impressed with HPD. They did a great job at the Houston Divestment March last week.

    Comment by Bacopa | November 9, 2011

  2. First it will be somebody else. Next time it will be you.

    Oh jeez, Neil as Niemöller?

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | November 10, 2011

  3. Bacopa–Hope you went.

    Matt—According to many your right wing associates, we are already moving towards a dictatorship. A dictatorship with death panels.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | November 10, 2011

  4. Yeah, I went to GA Wednesday. Some of the arrests Tuesday weren’t arrests. Two people were simply taken to the station, ticketed, and released. Two others were arrested and released on personal recognizance bonds the as soon as they could get into muni court the next day. A third person had outstanding warrants and was detained until near nightfall.

    One member said he was going to set up his tent and get arrested. I left before this happened. Checked the Twitter feed a little after midnight and saw no mention of an arrest, but I don’t know whether he set up his tent or not.

    Shelia Jackson-Lee was at GA on Tuesday. Sad I missed her. I know some people don’t like her, but I think she gets things done. She wants us to have tents. I think we will get tents. I was involved in a protest movement concerning construction on US 59 back in the 90s. We were expecting a long fight. Rep. Jackson-Lee showed up at one of our meetings, promised her support, and ten days later the Chronicle announced that additional Federal funds had been diverted to TXDOT to go with the slightly more expensive plan we enjoy today. Do you like those awesome arched semi-suspension bridges that carry Mandell and Dunlavy over 59? Do you like the tunnel under Montrose Blvd? Jackson-Lee made that happen. I am convinced she has magical powers.

    We will get our tents and port-a-potties.

    I actually find General Assembly rather tedious. But you gotta sit through to get to where the real power brokering in Occupy Houston happens, the small informal discussions after GA. The Study Groups seem to be important too. I think I might start one.

    Wanna meet up at GA some night? My plan is to go to two GA’s a week. I could do more, but my work schedule sometimes changes based on when trucks come in. I sometimes work almost a full overnight, and then have a day off only to be called in for an early morning shift a day later. At least I have a job, which I didn’t have for the better part of a year.

    Comment by Bacopa | November 11, 2011

  5. Bacopa–Thanks for the report. I would like to meet up with you at a GA. Let us plan to do so.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | November 11, 2011

  6. Neil, you seem to suggest that the Citizens United case was about whether people “could come up with a lot of money and bundle it into large anonymous donations so as to legally bribe politicians.”

    The controversy in question was whether an organization could air a movie about Hillary Clinton less than two months before the 2008 Democratic primary. It had nothing to do with contributions to candidates or officials.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | November 14, 2011

  7. […] at Texas Liberal attended an Occupy Houston press conference about OH participants arrested by Houston police for covering up electrical equipment with a tarp during a…. If only Occupy efforts across the nation had the same First Amendment protections as large […]

    Pingback by Texas Progressive Alliance – 11/14/2011 | BlueBloggin | November 14, 2011

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