On Valentine’s day a group of about 20 law enforcement officers from the Bryan, Texas Police Department, Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, Agents of the Texas District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI raided a gathering of the secessionist group Republic of Texas senators and their president.
John Jarnecke who calls himself president of the “Republic” gathered with his senators in a rented space at the Bryan VFW to discuss issues of the national currency, develop international relations and celebrate the birthday of one of their oldest members as another 50 or so other attendees looked on.
Minutes into the meeting, one of the onlookers, Jeff McCoy, a Kerr County Deputy Sheriff rose and opened the door to the meeting hall admitting the armed officers of the joint force all wearing bullet-proof vests and informing those present that a search warrant was being executed and that no one would be allowed to leave the premises.
Before being allowed to leave, all 60 attendees were searched, fingerprinted and had their cell phones confiscated.
This did not sit well with the secessionists who claim that Texas was illegally annexed by the U.S. in 1845, and that they are not bound by laws that they believe are illegally imposed by an occupation government.
“We had no idea what was going on,” said Jarnecke. “We knew of nothing that would warrant such an action.”
Kerr County sheriff Rusty Hierholzer, who led the operation disagrees. The raid was in response to “summonses” issued by the group ordering a Kerr County Judge and a bank employee involved in a foreclosure order on the Kerr County home of a member of the group to appear at the meeting to answer the charges against them.
“You can’t just let people go around filing false documents to judges trying to make them appear in front of courts that aren’t even real courts,” said Hierholzer.
Hierholzer admitted that such a show of force in response to a misdemeanor was unusual but cited a 1997 incident involving the group and concern that some members might respond to service of the warrant with violence.
In 1997 Rick McLaren who led the group at that time and several members of the organization stormed a home in the Davis Mountains outside Fort Davis. taking the owners hostage and engaging in a week-long standoff with police before they surrendered. One man was killed when he prepared to fire on a police officer rather than surrender.
McLaren remains in prison with a projected release date in 2090 and still maintains that Texas is an independent nation.
h/t: Crooks and Liars