Tonight, I received word that my friend Amy Hedtke had been arrested after a speeding stop in Rhome, TX. Anyone that knows Amy (you may have seen her famous boots) would understand when I assumed that the reason was probably “ticked off cops.” While Amy is a phenomenal human being who will give to the last measure even to help a stranger in need she is also a firebrand who is not afraid to speak truth to power. It is not my personality and I wouldn’t suggest it, but where we would be as a country without people unafraid to get mad and speak truth.
Thankfully Amy is also an informed activist that knows video is king and began to ustream the encounter when it became more than just a regular traffic stop.
The videos begin when her young son has been forbidden from getting out of the vehicle to use the restroom and the officers are ordering him in the car.
Now if you’re like me and person with a more calm attitude, but remember what you’re watching is a ticked off momma bear who has paid attention and knows the danger of police overreach. Don’t forget that due to such overreach in some cases almost 800 children were killed (either by accident or murder) in Child Protective Services just in the past few years.
You then can see from the video that the officers refuse to give her what laws she is breaking and where their authority to detain her son comes from. It may well exist, but if an officer can’t describe it then he likely doesn’t know it. The most bizarre answer is that he says it is “case law” and then goes “I’m not a lawyer” as if police officers don’t actually need to know the law to do their job.
If you’re a parent or someone like me that believes deeply in parental rights you’re like infuriated that officers would try to separate Amy from her son and question him while another officer questioned her.
The poor boy just wanted to pee.
The officers then demand the boy stay out of the vehicle when she tells him to not answer questions and get in the van, but they order her to enter the van and leave her son to this unsupervised questioning. Remember this encounter started because they demanded the boy not pee and re-enter the vehicle.
After the encounter the officers arrested Amy on three class C misdemeanors:
1) Failure to obey a lawful order (not getting in her vehicle and leaving her minor son to be questioned)
2) Failure to register a vehicle
3) Failure to change her address on her license
Charges two and three will likely stick and she’ll be arraigned in the morning for time served. I’m guessing that the first will be thrown out as anyone who holds to parental rights would understand why she was angry and why she would not leave her son alone.
While officers can arrest a citizen for any of these charges they are typically ticketed offenses and it seems obvious to me that Amy’s real crime was questioning authority. Yes, it’s what this country was founded on, but in a nation of ever creeping tyrannical laws we’ve given up that mindset and seem to believe it best to sit down, shut up, and just pay the fine.
People like Amy make us uncomfortable. She’s loud and brash. She doesn’t give and compromise like we expect people to do to get along. She’s down right annoying at times. Yet, she fiercely loves and defends her kids and liberty. You don’t have to like Amy Hedtke, but you should admire her fight.
My step-father is an officer. I love and respect many of the great police officers that uphold their oaths to defend the innocent and uphold the law. The thin blue line is precious and deserves our respect, but there are officers that have come to believe they are above the law and that real crime is whatever they say it is.
Thankfully because Amy has been there for so many she had many friends there for her. When one of them asked the charges against their friend another filmed as is appropriate in such a case. The officer then begins to mock those filming and tells them they should “go back to college.” He says he’s glad they have so much free time (because they went to check on a friend late night) for their “activism.” Both of these private citizens the officer mocked are professionals in their 30’s. One is a CPA and the other works for a high end web design firm.
I don’t what is really going on in Rhome, TX or Wise County Jail, but the imprisonment of a citizen for ticketable offenses and the mockery of people that care for that person is beyond the pale. It’s un-American and it damn sure isn’t representative of the many fine officers across Texas.
Officers are not just agents of the law. They are keepers of the peace. Attempting to separate an upset mother from her child is asking for trouble. No matter how angry a citizen is, no matter how much they tick you off it is the role of the officers to be clear and reasonable and when they aren’t it’s the role of citizens like us to hold them accountable.
Amy is blessed. She knew to film the encounter and she has great friends and even a great lawyer taking up her case. Others are not so lucky when they run into these rare bully officers. We need to be ever vigilant in defending the rights of all people. I recommend three reforms we can fight for as citizens.
1) Eliminating as many victimless crimes as possible.
2) Joining in the call from great police associations around the state for non-removable, non-pausable body cameras to protect citizens and officers.
3) Reform state law so that citizens cannot be arrested for class C misdemeanors.
I hope you’ll join me in the fight for these reforms and continue to be ever vigilant in making Texas a true bastion of liberty.