Nacogdoches county officials announced Tuesday afternoon no charges would be pursued in the confrontation between a man and protestors outside the county courthouse earlier this month.
The announcement came more than two weeks after the altercation, which was investigated by law enforcement and prosecutors with the Nacogdoches County Attorney’s Office, and then presented to a grand jury.
Protestors had lined up in along Main and North streets in front of the courthouse June 6 to rally against police violence as part of ongoing nationwide events. The altercation happened when a driver stopped his vehicle, got out and confronted the protestors. The driver had a holstered handgun on his hip.
“A review of the video recordings of the incident showed that the motorist displayed an offensive gesture toward the protestors and, as the vehicle passed the protesters, one of the protesters kicked or kicked at the vehicle,” according to a statement from the county attorney’s office released Tuesday afternoon. “There appeared to be an exchange of words with a group of the protesters. One of the protesters put his hands on the motorist after which the motorist pushed the protester and placed his hand on the grip of his holstered pistol.”
The driver left the scene, and moments after the altercation, police began investigating.
Texas law allows for the open carrying of handguns as long as the weapon is holstered and the carrier is licensed. According to the county attorney’s office, the driver in question is a licensed firearm holder.
The dash-camera footage shows a person displaying his middle finger towards the protestors as he drives by them, headed south on South Street. One person, dressed in black, steps forward as the driver passes, at which point, the driver stops.
The firearm was never unholstered during the altercation, and dash-camera footage shows the driver doesn’t place his hand on the pistol until after a protestor touches him.
The county attorney’s office, headed by John Fleming, is tasked with prosecuting misdemeanor offenses. Based on the reviewed videos, there was no evidence of a misdemeanor violation, according to the statement.
The case was presented to a 12-person grand jury.
“While misdemeanors are not normally presented to a grand jury, it has been the practice of this office to use this procedure in limited cases where we believe an independent evaluation of the evidence would be beneficial,” according to the statement. “All grand jury proceedings are confidential and we are prohibited by law from disclosing anything that occurred in the grand jury.”
Fleming ended the letter from his office on the investigation with an invitation for community members concerned about the outcome of the case to call him and set up a time to discuss the case.
The county attorney’s office can be reached at 936-560-7789.