Join us for a journey into the world of George Bush lovin’, Duck Dynasty watchin’, Pat Robertson believin’ small town ignorance that is the small town of Electra, Texas–and the “small town justice” with which one man was met while switching seats with his wife on a road trip.
Scott Nesin and his wife were driving through Electra, TX when they decided that Mrs. Nesin would take over the wheel. After they pulled over to the side of the road, an Electra police car pulled up behind them. What followed was a shameful display of police corruption that pretty well confirms everything people have been saying about Texas cops.
Police in Texas have a reputation for being positively awful. Whether they are ordering invasive and unconstitutional searches of people’s orifices, stopping drivers for random blood tests, ripping a white teenager away from her black legal guardians because she was white, or raping teenagers in the back of their cars, Texas police have been angering the public at an increasing rate lately–but at least they don’t rape jaywalkers…right?
Electra police officers Matt Wood and Gary Ellis continued the proud tradition of embarrassing their state in their interactions with the couple. What began with the officers asking for identification though no crime had been committed quickly became a cascade of terrible treatment at the hands of the officers that will raise the blood pressure of any reasonable viewer.
As one officer distracted Nesin by demanding identification, the other began to search the car without a warrant–and without permission.
Nesin, at one point, asks officer Ellis, “Do we live in a jackboot society now?” Ellis responded, “Yes we do,” before backtracking with claims that he did not know what the term meant. When Nesin told Ellis that it is improper to say that we live in a “jackboot society,” Ellis became combative. “OK, First off, you don’t tell me what to do, OK? You don’t tell me what to say, and you don’t tell me what to do. Is that understood?”
The officers proceed to search Nesin, even twisting his arm painfully. Their motives are clear: Nesin’s objections to their abuse of authority are seen as simply being difficult. “So you think you can talk to anybody, especially law enforcement personnel just any old way?” Ellis asked shortly following a rough arm twist.
The officers cited Nesin for two “crimes.” The first is “failure to identify.” To be guilty of that, a person has to have already been arrested (not detained) for a separate crime. The second is failure to display a driver’s license–one of the first things Nesin did, and something he was not required to do because he had not operated a vehicle in the state of Texas that night.
When Nesin mentioned that they were lying, Officer Wood asked him, “You want me to take you to jail on it? Cause I will.”
What is truly chilling is the prosecutor’s interaction with Nesin, Electra city attorney Todd Greenwood admitted that the Constitution is just a piece of paper to them. After giving Nisen a copy of the video of the incident, the prosecutor demanded that they watch it together. When Nisen said that he wanted to watch it by himself later, Greenwood told him that he doesn’t “make the conditions here.” He attempted to renege on his delivery of the DVD to Nisen, even going so far as to claim that Nisen doesn’t have his own copy (like the one just given to him) “because I said you don’t.”
Greenwood told Nisen “I’m beginning to understand why you have the charges you do. You seen to have some expectation about public entities and your power over them.” He demanded that Nisen return the DVD to him.
After Nisen allowed his copy of the DVD to be viewed on the judge’s computer, Greenwood offered him some advice:
[box type=”shadow”]Let me tell you how this would have worked in the early 90’s. There would have been no audio. You would have been in a small town that didn’t have audio or video equipped…You would have been here, we wouldn’t have had audio or video to look back at and the officer, if you pressed the way you are now, you pressed your rights, the officer would have taken the stand and testified that you laid hands on him. OK?”[/box]
He continued, “And you’re not even from that town, and the officer is, and he goes to Sunday school with the people on the jury. In small, rural communities, that’s how it works. You ever seen the movie, “Deliverance?”
Greenwood explained that it’s “not quite that bad,” but “that kind of gives you a picture.”
Indeed, it does! Greenwood finishes by informing Nisen that,
“What’s written in the Constitution is one thing, and the real practice is another, and you’re not in the same kind of protection as you have in Allen and Plano and Richardson and places like that.
This is the respect for the Constitution conservatives like Ellis and Wood have. Since some will undoubtedly ask, “how do you know they are conservatives?” a perfunctory glance at their Facebook profiles tells that story. Both men are strong supporters of the racist, homophobic patriarch of A&E‘s Duck Dynasty fauxbilly flock, Phil Robertson (you know, the one who suggests finding a teenager to marry?)
Ellis is also a supporter of everyone’s favorite Christofascist, Pat Robertson and unintentionally humorous pastor Joel Osteen. Wood has a love of war criminal George W. Bush, guns, and violent street fights–among other examples.
Watch the video for yourself, below: