SDF Video: Army Combat Veteran Loses Guns 2A Rights for 1,567 Days

By CTD Blogger published on in General, Legal

The Criminal Justice System seems to be taking on a new meaning in America where Citizens are presumed guilty until they are proven innocent. The CJ Grisham case continues to have folks scratching their heads. A retired Army First Sergeant went on a merit badge walk with his scout son out on a country road and winds up in jail after legally carrying a rifle in Texas. The case became controversial, because veteran Temple law enforcement officer Steve Ermis decided to make up a law on the side of the road and disarmed a Texan. It wall all caught on video.

The case was finally resolved after hundreds of hours of litigation and monetary value of $175,000 in court costs. Grisham regained the right to open carry a handgun two years later, with a License to Carry.

“We are honored to help a decorated veteran regain his property after so many years,” said Larry Keilberg, national director for SelfDefenseFund.com (SDF). “You have so many people that are always going to take the officer’s side of events, but we are glad to have supported a military veteran who was minding his own business until someone like officer Ermis intervened and infringed on legal activity.

“Our SDF attorney team stood by Grisham all the way, fighting for him against an out of control legal system starting with a bully cop, manipulation of the charges to fit the defense case, followed by a very biased judge, Neal Richardson, who said (as reported in the media), that the Grisham family were ‘Local Yokels’ and that he ‘was a better parent.’

“Grisham and the SDF attorney team sued the city and the two police officers in Federal Court and a trial date was set based on the evidence presented. The SDF paid a police expert witness in preparation for the trial and a week before the trial, Federal Judge Walter Smith Jr. changed his mind and dismissed the case only later to be removed from the bench for being intoxicated in his chambers and sexually molesting his court reporter and others multiple times. It makes the public distrust the system,” Keilberg noted.

“We are very supportive of Constitutional Carry in Texas,” said Andy Valadez, Marine veteran (non-combat) and marketing director for SelfDefenseFund.com. “Most law enforcement officers have come to understand that many Americans who choose to carry should not be treated like criminals on-site, mutual respect goes a long way and good guys are not bad guys.”

“It saddens me that my family had to go through this legal abuse,” said CJ Grisham, Founder of Open Carry Texas. “I fought overseas for my country and led men in-theater, only to come back home and have to fight my own country. We have problems that need to be dealt with regarding how law-abiding citizens are treated by fellow oath takers.”

Do you have legal defense coverage? Perhaps you do not favor open carry, but there are plenty of instances of law-abiding concealed carriers going through similar experiences? How would you handle either scenario? Share your answers in the comment section.


Open Carry Texas is a gun rights activist group founded after his arrest and supported by other open carry gun rights groups across the nation.

SelfDefenseFund.com is a comprehensive litigation protection membership covering individuals, families and businesses in regards to personal protection with the use of any weapon in all 50 states, U.S. Territories and Tribal Lands.

For more information on the National Association for Legal Gun Defense please visit: www.SelfDefenseFund.com.

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Comments (85)

  • Shane Hardman

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    These officers should be in jail. They actually state that the law doesn’t matter and that they are exempt from the law. People like this give the good officers a bad name. They really need to teach these idiots the law.

    Reply

  • Docsb123

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    I am personally not a supporter of open carry for this very reason. The cops can’t tell who the good guys and bad guys are. However the cops in this scenario did everything wrong and should be disciplined if not fired. They are meant to enforce the laws and didn’t even know what the law states!

    Reply

  • Joseph Tremblay

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    This is a big problem in this country,the police have turned into bullies. The shooting of unarmed citizens and the cover ups that have taken place tells me the system is out of control. We no longer are innocent until proven guilty,we have to prove ourselves innocent and heaven help you if you cannot cannot afford the hundreds of thousands for a competent lawyer. I don’t know how but we as a country must get the police under control.

    Reply

  • Jared Thompson

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    I’m a combat vet, and huge proponent of 2A rights. Also a huge supporter of LEOs, and don’t envy the danger they must confront on a daily basis in today’s crazy world. Have to admit that after seeing the video, I agree that this vet got too belligerent, which LEOs rightfully need to protect themselves from, as a situation can go bad very quickly for LEOs if the individual they are questioning has bad intentions. Should the first officer on scene reached out and handled the vet’s rifle without asking early in the conversation? No. But should the vet have gotten defensive and belligerent when that happened? No. LEOs are stuck between a rock and hard place in situations like these, and they MUST err on the side of caution for their own personal safety, and that of the public. Yes, folks freak out and call the police when they see someone walking down the street with an AR-15, and the police must check it out if called. Be respectful, follow all lawful instructions, and NEVER touch your firearm while being questioned by law enforcement. Had the vet done the same, he would have saved himself a lot of pain, money, and stress on his family, even though it appears he had no bad intentions from the get go. Too many wacko “cop killers” in today’s world for LEOs not to be overly cautious in situations like this. Yes, it’s Texas (God Bless!), but walking down a paved public road (e.g. not hunting or at a range) with a rifle slung around your shoulder is asking for trouble, even if it’s completely legal.

    Reply

    • stravo lukos

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      agreed, jared. i’ve been around cops all my life, even pitched out on watch w/ a couple. the people here screaming for the cops’ scalps have no idea what the reality is on the streets. i’m more concerned that there are so many here who are immature, disrespectful, mouthy, & should never be allowed to carry anything but a bb gun. probably a bunch of snowflakes anyway.

      in today’s world, u just don’t go around carrying a rifle, esp. a military-style firearm. the media has done too good a job of indoctrinating folks to the idea that all firearms owners are headjobs– & grisham just gave them more fuel for the flames. he wanted this encounter; it is quite obvious.

      Reply

    • stravo lukos

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      And you are a disrespectful punk, Jason. If you can’t just make your case w/o name-calling, you’re a stupid punk at that. You should never be allowed to touch a firearm.

      I live in Spokane, Wa. If you’re ever in the area, we should get together & “talk” about this further. I’d love to give you some lessons in social graces. Punk. Go pop your pimples now.

      Reply

  • Bonds25

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    I agree with the other comments to some extent. Ould have the Cop(s) have handle this differently, absolutely! But the citizen could have just as much. It’s a good thing that these two were not thugs because the cop had all his attention on the dad and not the kid. If they did mean harm, hat kid could have done anything to the cop since his back was turned to him the whole time.

    Reply

  • Mark C

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    I really think that’s the problem now a days. I’ve recently been screwed over in court and no matter what, right or wrong, a officer or money will win every time!!! We have lost track of right and wrong and unfortunately the government has to make sure it’s politically correct. I hope him and his family sued those cops and that city to were they think twice about messing up the same way with their great, great grandchildren!

    Reply

  • James Grimes

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    Maybe you can sue them later in Texas, but you can’t EVER sue them in Indiana.
    I was arrested in 2006 for felony Pointing a Firearm after an unlicensed, uninsured driver rear-ended me TWICE and sent my 70-year-old mother to the hospital with serious injuries. I held him at gunpoint when he ran away, but then ran back to his vehicle and retrieved what I believed was a weapon and took off into the woods again.
    The cops didn’t look for anything in the woods. They just told me that I wasn’t being arrested, while they were handcuffing me, threw me into the back seat of a squad car for an hour and drove me to jail. When I tried to tell them what happened, I was told to “Keep my mouth shut.” They called the prosecutor from the scene, who told them to arrest me and to let the kid go with a couple of tickets.
    I was held without bond (not by a judge, mind you, but on the orders of the prosecutor), was not told what the charges were until the following day, when I was summoned to the interrogation room. There, a cop told me, “I’m here to read you your rights and take your statement.” By then I was so angry, I told the cop, “You can get my statement from my attorney!”
    Until this happened, my entire criminal record consisted of one count each of Minor Entering a Tavern and Minor Consuming Alcohol, both from the same incident in 1978. I’ve never been arrested nor investigated for ANY other crime.
    Anyway, the prosecutor got mad when I wouldn’t sign a plea agreement. He said, “Fine. If you don’t want to play ball, I’ll just add a few more charges and send you to state prison for twenty years!” I replied, “You add just as many charges as you think you can spell correctly, and I’ll see you in court!” I learned of the specific charges when I was arraigned a few hours later, and I told the judge I was trying to prevent a felony, not trying to commit one (I knew that “Leaving the Scene of an Accident With Injuries” is a felony because it has been published in various editions of the Indiana Driver’s Manual). He ordered me released on my own recognizance (no bond, which further angered the prosecutor).
    I was acquitted of all charges following a nineteen-hour-long trial. The prosecutor did EVERYTHING he’s prohibited from doing; suborned perjury from police officers and state witnesses, fabricated evidence, falsified evidence, withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense (during his testimony, the kid who hit us admitted he was currently ON COURT-ORDERED PROBATION for Driving While Suspended for having caused previous accidents, but the prosecutor had had his criminal record sealed until six months after my trial was over).
    So I was acquitted on all counts. Walked out of the courtroom vindicated; a free man.
    Yeah – not so fast.
    The law states, quite clearly, that my property (my weapon) and my rights (my handgun license) are to be restored immediately upon my acquittal. The prosecutor told the Noble County Sheriff’s Department NOT to return my gun (it took EIGHT YEARS and the election of a new prosecutor to finally get my gun back), and I was promptly (seven months AFTER my acquittal) re-tried by an Indiana State Police kangaroo court, who found me guilty by virtue of the same evidence and testimony by which I had been acquitted in a court of law!
    The NRA turned their backs on me when I needed them most (although, after refusing three separate pre-trial requests for help from my attorney, they sent me a check after I was acquitted and put my story on their web site, claiming the NRA had “played an instrumental role in my successful defense.”), the USCCA had absolutely NO INTEREST in anything except my credit card, and no lawyer in this state will touch this case with a ten-foot pole because, “… The statehouse can make it very difficult for us to make a living.”
    If the lawyers in this God-forsaken state are afraid of the government, what chance do the rest of us have???
    I’m STILL fighting with the State Police to reinstate my handgun license as required by law. So far, I’ve spent over $55,000 on this stupid case (my trial cost $12,000 – the rest has been gifted to lawyers who write a couple of letters or emails and say, “Well, I tried. I can try again, if you want, but I’ll need another five grand.” Uh … No, thanks; I can write my own letters. I am absolutely at my wit’s end. Like you, I NEVER would have believed this could happen in America, but I’m not their only victim. A friend of mine who has no felony convictions, no history of violence and a squeaky-clean driving record has been denied a handgun license by the Indiana State Police because (according to the letter he received denying his application), “One of our officers doesn’t believe you should be carrying a handgun.” INDIANA IS A “SHALL ISSUE” STATE!!!
    At my administrative hearing (which was legally precluded by statute), the State Police embellished my testimony, falsified evidence and did everything they were not supposed to do. I wasn’t even allowed to call my own witnesses, for Pete’s sake!
    The ONLY people involved in this case who DIDN’T break the law were my now-deceased mother and me! And yet, here I sit, fighting a very serious Second-Amendment battle against the Sovereign State of Indiana (I am CONVINCED Indiana has seceded from the United States, and just didn’t tell anyone).
    My state representative refused to get involved, saying, “In Indiana, we don’t send police officers or elected officials to jail.”
    My congressman formed a comittee to find reasons NOT to get involved. I know this because I received a letter, signed by the chair of that comittee, which stated, “… this is not a constitutional issue, and should be addressed by the courts.”
    As a disabled (non-combat but service-connected) veteran of the United States Navy, I have to say that this entire experience has made me ashamed of my military service. I know that’s going to piss a lot of you off, but I don’t care anymore; YOU go through this and see how much pride you feel when you see the flag or when you hear the National Anthem.
    I should NOT be FORCED to accept my role as the victim of blatant public corruption! No American citizen should have to do that.
    Oh, one more thing: the prosecutor, in his attempts to show the jury how easily I lose my temper, left my mother sitting in the hallway on a hard, wooden chair for TEN HOURS before calling her to testify (he knew she had a broken L-1 vertabra). She never walked again after that day, and spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. When he did finally call her, two people had to help her take the witness stand. When asked whether she had written the statement that was in her handwriting, she tapped her finger on the rail and said, “I wrote down the exact words that officer told me to write.” “That officer” is now our county sheriff. Anywhere else (in the United States, for example), this would be, at the very least, Witness Tampering. In other states it can be construed as Obstruction of Justice but, here in Indiana, it’s apparently Standard Operating Procedure: My witness has a concussion? Oh, no problem; just write down what I tell you to write, sign your name and then we’ll see about getting you some medical attention for your injuries.
    I hope it never happens to you, but when it does, I hope you’ll also remember my name.

    Reply

  • Lynch

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    Here is a simple truth most cops have a low I.Q. unable to think for themselves they merely follow orders. Their training tells them if they see a man carrying a rifle to be suspicious, logical thought tells one that an old guy with a slung rifle in the open in the middle of nowhere hiking with a kid is not much of a threat. This was Texas the cop and the judge should have lost their jobs over this civil right violation.

    Reply

  • Iamedbytes

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    Say the cop is jerk, your response is to stay calm and keep your mouth shut. What was the cop told about this man? Did he perceive an immediate threat? Is it better to secure the rifle or wait until it escalates and somebody gets shot? If the vet had gone along and kept his mouth shut we wouldn’t be reading this story. People, including cops, respond to loudmouths even when they shouldn’t. Were the cops perfect? Probably not. Did they do anything wrong? The totality of the circumstances. Until you know all the facts. Until you know what training and experiences the cops have had you can back seat drive but you are probably going to be wrong. Was the man physically abused? Was he or his son in danger from the cops? The vet took a minor welfare check and turned it into a confrontation. The cops did nothing substantively wrong.

    Reply

    • dprato

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      I get a kick out of people like yourself who don’t respond to what was written.
      First the cop did eventually say that they had a call from someone about him carrying a rifle which if it is legal to do then they should just have told him he was scaring people but that is really their problem since he was not violating the law. Second the guy said nothing out ofl to the cop until the cop grabbed his gun. You also never responded to the comment of the supervisor that he didn’t care what the law was. Since folks like you always need to get the last word we are done. You and the cops need some lessons in looking at the facts not what you assume may have happened. No further responses forthcoming. You may have the last word if you like but if I get one back I won’t bother reading it.

      Reply

    • subnukemm

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      The cop was wrong. If he felt threatened he should have used his vehicle as cover and then ordered or directed him to put down the weapon. Instead he just walked up to him and put his hands on the weapon. Granted his mouth didn’t help, however the response by the officer didn’t help anything either. Being cooperative with the officer probably would not have any effect on this, as you watched the officer’s actions. The officer had already made up his mind that this guy was in the wrong. It pains me that officers are not up to speed with gun laws/concealed carry laws of their state, given the larger number of citizens carrying firearms. If he was so concerned for his safety, why did he never keep the son is his view? Allow the son to walk right up behind him? I’ve had contacts with law enforcement officers while carrying and had people I know stopped for speeding and had legally carried firearms in open view by the officers and they have all been excellent contacts because the officer did not over-react as in this case. Matter of fact most of them turned out to have good discussions about firearms in general. I work in the public safety sector, and while I don’t know what dispatch information they had, I also know that 911 callers can and do greatly exaggerate the information they give dispatch. You have to balance that information with what you see. Both sides have faults, but the officer set the tone and never tried to de-escalate the situation with the video I saw.

      Reply

    • Kenneth

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      Lamedbytes is completely wrong on the statement that the police did nothing wrong. Law abiding citizen harassed and subsequently arrested on false charges is exactly what we just watched. As a fellow man in blue who works in an open carry state, go have a civil conversation with the citizen in question. Don’t put you hands on the citizen, or just walk up and grab their weapon for no reason. The officer escalated that situation from the word go. Talk! Listen! Then decide reasonably what needs to happen next. The officer violated that mans rights, there is no denial of that fact. This was a case of police over stepping their duties and wasting resources. Great job on the camera work.

      Reply

    • Dale2

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      You ask if the cops did anything wrong. Yes! They arrested the man when he had not broken a law. But after working with cops for 10 years, I have found out that cops are not required to know the law. It is ok to stop him and check his status. Was he legal to have and carry the gun? The cop could have asked the citizen to disarm from the safety of his car and not have gotten in his face and grabbing his gun. You or the cop may no have liked what he was doing, but if he was legal you have to let him go. And his supervisor or his chief back at the P.D. Should have dropped the charges and signed the cop up for legal and operational training. P.S. If you are ever asked to come down to the P.D.to talk. Say no by I will meet at my lawyer’s instead. A detective will stick anyone with a crime just to clear his back log of cases. Seen it done. And they record everything you say from the minute you walk through the door.

      Reply

    • Caguuror

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      You sir, are a twit. I’m sorry to tell you but you are probably one of those people who thinks everytime a black person was arrested he was done do as racism.

      I know how cops are trained, and this cops breeched every form of training. Lets go over it shall we?

      1: The cop approached the individual. If a cop feels threatened by somebody openly carrying, they are suppose to remain in the vehicle and use their loudspeaker. The Army Vet even addressed that in the video. It doesn’t matter, as you say, what he had been told of this individual or anything. That is police standard when feeling threatened.

      2: If you pay attention, the cop actually TOUCHED the gun, and he touched the weapon WITH OUT ASKING. That’s a BIG no no, for not only did the officer place his fingerprints upon the weapon but you have to ask somebody if you can see the weapon. You absolutely can NOT walk up and grab another person’s weapon. As you seem to like your ‘what ifs': What if the firearm had been loaded and accidently discharged? The officer created an unsafe situation for both himself and the suspect.

      3: The officer made up a law. Yea, I’m sorry but you can not simply make up a law upon the spot. Police officers actually have something for that. They have the right to detain you for up to 24 hours for no reason. So really, the officers had no reason to simply make up a completely bogus law upon the spot to begin with.

      4: The cop was physically aggressive upon a man putting up no resistance. He slammed that guy down upon the hood of the police cruiser…WITH A FIREARM BETWEEN THE SUSPECT AND THE CAR! Again, what if the firearm had discharged? The police are suppose to ask for the gun, and if a suspect is willing to give up the weapon they are then required to ask the suspect to drop the magazine. These are all safety precautions for the safety of the officer and the suspect.

      4: Yea, they never searched that guy until after they had him handcuffed and accused him of resisting search, a search they never advertised a reason for.

      5: Miranda is Rights? After placing him under arrest, Miranda Rights where never read.

      So, although the cops are not the bad guys, they clearly violated many of their own policies and the rights of the suspect. Which I’d obvious in the fact that the man was eventually exonerated! So perhaps lamedbytes should follow their own advise and stop backseat driving on something they clearly have no idea of which they are speaking of.

      Docduracoat is also right, that you can not argue the law with the police. However, a suspect has rights provided by the law to help protect themselves when court time comes. This man was cooperating, he allowed his weapons to be taken away when asked, he answered the the officers questions. The officers blatantly ignored his rights, which was what he was questioning.

      This man actually made an exceptional point. These officers never provided proof of their police identity other then their cars and badges. The was an instance in Mississippi when I lived there during which somebody was pretending to be an officer, pulling people over and killing them. The police themselves actually told people it was their RIGHT to prove the officer was truly an officer by calling dispatch and asking if an officer had actually pulled them over.

      Finally I have one last comment. You are blaming it on the suspect…saying he was in the wrong. Yet this exact thing has happened many times with black people and the cops did the same thing and it was racist, all over the news, etc etc etc. If this man was colored, would your arguments still be the same? I find it unlikely…

      Reply

    • NormV

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      I disagree. The cop touching the rifle is what set the confrontation on fire. Cops were wrong.

      Reply

    • Mr Texas

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      It was all on video. The local yocal
      cop was wrong read the story soldier boy. The judge and probably the cops mentor was a drunken pervert.
      The judge was De benched, thrown out and case dismissed.
      The citizen did nothing wrong. This is a big problem as poor training and basically people not qualified to be cops carry badges and guns smart guy.
      This story in fact is a perfect example of a complete clusterfk from a law enforcement perspective.
      I hope the guy wins a big judgement against those aspholes.
      Have a nice day.

      Reply

    • Aardvark

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      BS! The cop started the confrontation by stopping a citizen that was exercising his Constitutional right. First mistake. Then he grabs the guys rifle without reason or permission. Second mistake. Yes, the citizen should not have gotten mouthy, but police are supposed to be trained NOT to deliberately provoke or agitate people they stop. Then the cop goes on to lie about what transpired before the back-up arrived. Third mistake. This cop needs more training or a different career. Would you feel the same way about this confrontation if the citizen was carrying a bottle of water and the cop tried to seize it without explanation and when the citizen argues that the cop can’t take his water, the cop grabs him, pushes him to the hood of the car, handcuffs him, and starts ransacking his wallet, then lies to his supervisor about what happened? Why couldn’t the cop just ask the citizen to please put down his rifle before he got out of the car, or have him unload it before he was face to face with the guy. This cop obviously thought he could do as he pleases to satisfy his power trip.

      Reply

    • Justavin

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      The story contends that the cop made up an non law! This is classed as an Action Under Color of Law.
      In a number of my past law classes, it has peen pointed out that 90% of the people who are in jail, talk there way in!

      Reply

  • Docduracoat

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    Lamedbytes is 100% correct
    You cannot argue the law with the Police
    That is for the courtrooom
    Your best course of action is to be calm, polite and cooperate
    You can’t win an argument with a policeman
    He has a radio as well as a gun and a badge and can call in reinforcements
    You can sue them later

    Reply

    • stravo lukos

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      I agree, Doc. The cop was called for a suspicious person who was openly armed. The cop had the right to stop & question the fellow &, if he felt threatened, to arrest. Beyond that, the guy should’ve remained calm & explained to the camera what was going on, then shut up & submit to the police. It’s as though Grisham was just itching for a fight w/ the cops. This is NOT the day & age to be so brazen, unless you are making a public display for standing in court. Taking his son w/ him was, imho, plain bad parenting. And I am all for 2nd Amendment rights! I used to carry firearms to the shooting club as a teen; however, those days are over, & people have been scared out of their wits by maniacs & media.

      Reply

    • Jason

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      Cops lie in court they hide evidence to make their case! Innocent people go to jail or get killed! Your full of s%$t buddy! These pigs need to be stood up to they should hear they are doing the job wrong!!! They laugh because even if they get sued it’s not their money or problem!

      Reply

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