A decorated war veteran on a Boy Scout hike with his 15-year-old son was arrested alongside a Texas country road after a police officer accused him of “rudely displaying” a firearm.
Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham told Fox News he was illegally disarmed by members of the Temple Police Dept. - even though he held the proper permits to carry his weapons.
Grisham and his son were on a 10-mile hike in a rural area populated by wild boars and cougars. He was carrying an AR-15 rifle and a .45 caliber pistol.
He was charged with resisting arrest - even though video his son filmed of the incident clearly showed that Grisham did not resist arrest. Police later reduced the charges to interfering with a peace officer while performing a duty - a class B misdemeanor.
“I’m still frankly and honestly 100 percent confused about what I’m being charged with,” Grisham said.
Temple Police told local media that the Fort Hood soldier refused to hand of his weapon - leading to his arrest. However, the video shows that Grisham complied with their demands.
One of the officers told Grisham that anyone holding a gun is considered dangerous, according to a 15-minute video obtained by Fox News.
“In this day and age people are alarmed when they see someone with what you have,” one of the officers told a handcuffed Grisham. “They don’t care what the law is.”
At one point in the video Grisham asked the officers why they failed to ask to see his carry and conceal permit.
The video shows the arresting officer telling the Fort Hood soldier that he was "rudely displaying" the AR-15.
Grisham, who is a “huge Constitutionalist,” then asked the officer if he cared what the law is.
“The easy wrong would have been to surrender my rights and allow the cops to disarm me,” he said. “That’s the easy wrong to me. The hard right is putting ourselves on the line knowing that something could happen.”
Grisham told Fox News he plans on fighting the charges and suing the police department for what he considered to be an illegal arrest and violating his Constitutional rights.
“For the first time in my life, I had to sit in jail,” he said. “I’ve never been in jail -- never been accused of a crime. I was treated like a street thug.”
A pre-trial hearing has been set for May 29th.
Grisham, a well-known military blogger, is a decorated veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He’s served in the military for more than 18 years and was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor. But he came under fire within the military for a blog posting that was critical of President Obama. Columnist Michelle Malkin once wrote about Grisham's plight.
The master sergeant, his wife and their three children live on a farm in Temple -- about two miles from where he was arrested.
Grisham’s trouble with the law started in mid-March. His son Chris was working on one of the final merit badges he needed to become an Eagle Scout. Chris had chosen hiking.
Father and son grabbed their gear and headed out on a blustery Saturday morning to hike about 10 miles. They were midway through the trip when Grisham turned around and saw a police car.
“At that point I heard him tell us to hold on a second and he motioned for me and my son to come back,” Grisham said. “He didn’t have his lights on. Everything was calm and casual. He asked what we were doing.”
Grisham had his AR-15 slung around the front of his body -- a rifle he’s been using since he joined the military.
At some point the officer pulled his pistol on the father and son and grabbed Grisham’s AR-15.
“He slammed me onto the hood of the car,” he said. “I had my hands straight up and that’s when I saw our camera - and turned it on.”
For the next 15 minutes, Grisham’s son recorded the entire incident.
“I wanted to make sure that we had everything on film,” he said. “Everything that happened that day was manufactured by the police officer. We weren’t out there to make a statement. Our intention was to hike 10 miles and go home.”
By all indications, Grisham was arrested just because he was legally carrying his firearms.
And as bad as he was treated, Grisham said he is furious over how the police treated his son.
Chris followed his dad’s instructions to keep the videotape going -- even though it’s clear the incident took an emotional toll on the boy. As the officers put Grisham in the back of the car, the video picked up sounds of Chris crying.
The officers told Grisham they would take the boy home.
“I told him not to answer any questions,” Grisham said. “I told him not to answer a single question until his mother was there -- and she would answer the questions for him.”
But that’s not what happened.
Chris told Fox News that the police officer refused to let him out of the car until he answered a series of questions. The boy had not been arrested.
“The officer told me that I wasn’t getting out of the patrol car until I answered his questions,” Chris said. “He said I didn’t have a choice. I was scared.”
Grisham said his boy was traumatized by the incident.
“Every time he sees a police officer he has a panic attack,” he said. “That’s unfortunate because we always taught our kids to respect police officers. My wife and I are angry about it.”
He said he explained to his son that they did nothing wrong on that day.
“My son has his own copy of the Constitution,” Grisham said. “He understands his rights. He understands the concept of choosing the hard right over the easy wrong.”
Chris told Fox News that he looks up to his father -- and admires him for what he did on the side of that road.
“When I grow up, I want to be like him -- he inspires me,” the 15-year-old said.
Grisham said the events of last month have led him to question why he is still in the military.
“It doesn’t seem like our rights are being respected,” he said. “For me, it’s a difficult turning point. I wonder what it is that I’m fighting for. If our basic rights are being violated this way -- what is my purpose?”
And as Grisham awaits his court date, Chris is gearing up to start his Eagle Scout project. The teenager will be working on a local historic cemetery - repairing headstones and replacing signs.
But the young boy wonders what will happen to his dad.
“He didn’t do anything wrong at all,” he said.