3 arrested after protest groups clash outside Texas drag show, police say
Three people were arrested in Texas after one of them pepper-sprayed protesters outside a restaurant hosting a drag show, police said.
The incident unfolded in Fort Worth on Sunday afternoon when a small group of people from an anti-LGBTQ nonprofit called Protect Texas Kids arrived at Fort Brewery and Pizza to stage a protest across the street from the restaurant during a scheduled drag show. A group of counter-protesters -- dressed in black, wearing helmets and outer tactical vests -- also showed up and stood in front of the restaurant, many of them armed with handguns and long guns, according to the Fort Worth Police Department, which said it was monitoring both groups via a city-owned surveillance camera.
At approximately 12:50 p.m. CT, police observed a member of the counter-protest group -- later identified as Samuel Fowlkes, 20, of Weatherford, Texas -- cross the street and approach the Protect Texas Kids group, then allegedly spray them with pepper spray. Officers attempted to arrest Fowlkes on scene, but police said he evaded their efforts and swung his closed fists at them.
As the officers tried to stop Fowlkes and place him in handcuffs, another member of the counter-protest group -- later identified as Christopher Guillot, 33, of Lewisville, Texas -- intervened and swung an umbrella at the officers, hitting one of them in the face, according to police. The officers then attempted to arrest Guillot.
Both Fowlkes and Guillot continued to resist arrest, prompting police to deploy a directed response unit to assist. When the officers instructed the rest of the counter-protesters to move to the sidewalk, away from the situation, a third member of the group -- later identified as Meghan Grant, 37, of Dallas, Texas -- repeatedly tried to charge past the officers to gain access to Fowlkes and Guillot, police said. An officer attempted to stop Grant by pushing her back toward the sidewalk, but she refused to comply and was taken into custody, according to police.
On Monday, police released footage from city cameras and an officer's body-worn camera showing Sunday's incident. In the videos, a counter-protester is seen spraying a substance at a small group protesters. The videos also show the tense situation between counter-protesters and police, including the moment an officer was struck in the face by an open umbrella. Some of the counter-protesters are seen evading and resisting arrest, while others are heard shouting at the officers.
"Our main goal during any protest event is to provide a safe environment that respects all participants' constitutional rights, while effectively maintaining public peace and order," the Fort Worth Police Department said in a press release on Monday. "However, those who choose to violate the law and assault others will be arrested and charged."
Online jail records for Tarrant County show Fowlkes is facing four counts of assault causing bodily injury, one count of evading arrest or detention, one count of resisting arrest and one count of assaulting a peace officer. He was being held on $22,500 bond. Guillot is facing one count each of interfering with public duties and assaulting a peace officer. He was being held on $9,500 bond. Grant is facing one count each of interfering with public duties and resisting arrest. She was being held on $4,000 bond, according to jail records.
It was unclear whether any of the three suspects had obtained attorneys.
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