Police in West Texas arrested a group of armed men and a bar owner during a protest of the state order mandating businesses to close. Gabrielle Ellison, owner of Big Daddy Zane’s in Odessa, decided to open her establishment on Monday in defiance of Governor Abbott’s decree.
“We can’t take it no more, we’re not going to make it,” Ellison said. “I am aware of what’s going on down the road. I am shocked. I had customers come through saying, ‘You know they have SWAT built up, they have SWAT built up.’ Why would you bring in SWAT on a peaceful situation?”
A group of armed protesters who have been supporting businesses deciding to open amid the government-mandated shutdown gathered at an Odessa Anytime Fitness location that opened on Friday.
The same group asked if they could show up to Big Daddy Zane’s to support Ellison’s decision to open, she told them to stay in the back of the bar, which is her private property.
Ellison said she even spoke with the Sheriff’s Office before the demonstration and was told everything would be fine as long as the armed individuals were not on the bar’s property.
When the police arrived in a massive SWAT tank, they arrested the six armed men who stood with their arms raised in the air.
“This was not a protest of their second amendment rights. It was a show of force to ensure this lady could violate the governor’s order,” Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis told reporters.
The men were charged with carrying weapons on a licensed property and the bar owner was charged with violating Governor Abbott’s order.
The protesters maintain the arrests were illegal because they were behind the bar and on private property, not within the bar’s property line.
A SWAT team with GUNS DRAWN raided a peaceful protest at Big Daddy Zane’s in West Odessa, Texas.
The bar owner reopened because he says “all businesses are essential.”
— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) May 5, 2020