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.
Fast forward to 6/23:
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.
“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.”