GILBERT QUESTIONS WHY MAN WHO CHOKED PROTESTER HAS NOT BEEN ARRESTED
Campaign Releases Video Footage, Including Confession of Woman Who Incited Violence by Shoving a Gilbert Supporter
July 28, 2020
TYLER, Texas--Hank Gilbert (D-Tyler), Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress from Texas’ First Congressional District on Tuesday publicly questioned why the Tyler Police Department had not yet arrested Eric Artimire, a Tyler man seen in now-viral video and still photographs choking an older participant at Gilbert’s Protest Portland rally on Sunday in Tyler.
“The photo of Eric Artimire assaulting Paul Benson has been transmitted by the Associated Press around the world, and appeared online or in print in the newspapers in Houston, Tyler, and Dallas,” said Gilbert. “There is empirical, undeniable evidence of the assault. Why is this man still walking the streets,” Gilbert questioned.
“I understand the police department may need more time to go through the video concerning the assault on my campaign manager, but my lord--the photo of Eric Artimire violently choking a peaceful protester has been seen around the world, and I can’t figure out why the Tyler Police Department hasn’t placed this man in handcuffs yet,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert reiterated his call for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to ask the Texas Rangers to investigate the Tyler Police Department’s handling of the protest itself, and added to that a call for the Rangers to investigate the Tyler PD’s investigation itself.
“Clearly, we need to investigate the investigators here,” Gilbert said. “The Texas Rangers need to come up here, walk through the doors of the Tyler PD headquarters, and ask what in the heck is happening in Tyler, Texas,” Gilbert said.
“A photograph of someone being choked out by a man who has been identified by the Associated Press should be enough evidence to bring this man downtown and book him,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert also called on Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman to convene a special grand jury to look into the incidents on the square, and the police’s handling of those events.
“DA Putman needs to immediately convene a special grand jury--by Zoom if he has to--and look into this,” Gilbert said. “It is hard to believe, with Neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists so quickly gathered for this counter protest, that there was not some likelihood that violence was premeditated by my opponent’s supporters,” Gilbert said. “Look at the videos--there are people in gang jackets, with iron crosses tattooed on their heads, white pride on their arms, and carrying Confederate flags,” Gilbert said. “It is hard to believe these people weren’t already steeled for violence,” Gilbert said.
“DA Putman also needs to call Miss Caroline Artimire before this grand jury, and determine if she violated Section 42.04 of the Texas Penal Code--which covers inciting a riot. It sure seems to me that her admitted actions, from unplugging the sound system to admitting to being the first person to physically touch another person in a violent way, constitute such conduct, but I’m not a lawyer,” Gilbert said.
“Now, my opponent is a lawyer and former judge, so he should know what constitutes violating this statute. Yet he refuses to denounce the violence that injured my campaign manager, and has given two different stories about how he found out about the rally. In an interview with ABC affiliate KLTV yesterday, Gohmert claimed he knew nothing about my rally or the counter-protest happening until he called the Sheriff of Smith County. Later yesterday, in an interview with the CBS affiliate in Tyler, Louie said he didn’t know about the rally I had scheduled and the counter-protest until he received a text on his way to the airport. Which story is true,” Gilbert asked.
Gilbert also noted his campaign had released today, on its YouTube channel, a variety of videos of the protest Sunday, including video shot by the campaign’s videographer, video stills from local news outlets showing the attack on Campaign Manager Ryan Miller, and Caroline Artimire’s confession statement.
“When will Tyler PD act,” Gilbert asked. “The clock is ticking,” he said.
URL TO VIDEOS including four-part video of Caroline Artimire’s confession of throwing first shove and unplugging sound system, and various videos including KETK coverage showing Miller being assaulted, and videos taken by the campaign’s paid videographer showing the counter-protesters encroaching on speakers, etc.