December 16th, 2012

Papers Please! Mayor Declares Personal Liberties Void In Paragould, AR

Paragould Mayor

Editor’s Note: Tyranny establishes itself incrementally, this is just historical fact.  Many people might argue that a small city in Arkansas is not worth being concerned about, that this event is an isolated incident with limited repercussions for the rest of America.  Those people would, of course, be idiots.  It is far more logical to look at Paragould as a microcosm, a practice run for martial law which is testing not just the citizens of that particular town, but all Americans across the country.  How will we react?  If we step aside apathetically and allow centralized tyranny to establish a foothold anywhere in the U.S., then we are sending a message that we are likely willing to accept it EVERYWHERE.  Random searches and armed patrols of America’s sidewalks are not conducive to liberty, or safety.  In fact, such an environment will inevitably produce the opposite.  Take special note of these quotes from Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall, who openly admit that the citizens of Paragould are now guilty until proven innocent, criminal until discovered otherwise:

“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”

Stovall said while some people may be offended by the actions of his department, they should not be.

“We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said. “Criminals don’t like being talked to.”

Gaskill backed Stovall’s proposed actions during Thursday’s town hall.

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”

These are the kinds of exclamations that are heard at the beginning of every dark age…

Brandon Smith, Associate Editor

In response to a recent increase in crime, Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill and Police Chief Todd Stovall offered residents at a town hall meeting Thursday night at West View Baptist Church what could be considered an extreme solution — armed officers patrolling the streets on foot.

Stovall told the group of almost 40 residents that beginning in 2013, the department would deploy a new street crimes unit to high crime areas on foot to take back the streets.

“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” Stovall said. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.”

Stovall said while some people may be offended by the actions of his department, they should not be.

“We’re going to do it to everybody,” he said. “Criminals don’t like being talked to.”

Gaskill backed Stovall’s proposed actions during Thursday’s town hall.

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” he said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”

Stovall said the foot patrols would begin on the east side of town and would eventually snake into the Pecan Grove area.

He said the police would follow where crime was taking place in order to snuff it out.

Normally, police would not stop individuals for simply walking on the street, but Stovall said the level of crime in certain areas and concerns from residents gave his officers the right to institute the actions announced at the town hall event.

“This fear is what’s given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they’re scared, we can do this,” he said. “It allows us to do what we’re fixing to do.”

Stovall further elaborated on the stop-and-ID policy Friday morning, claiming the city’s crime statistics alone met the threshold of reasonable suspicion required to lawfully accost a citizen.

“To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason,” he said. “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out. Then when I add that people are scared…then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area.”



This is a good example of an oath breaking Police Chief and an oath breaking Mayor, who don’t know the Constitution.  This is wildly unconstitutional.  Police cannot just stop every pedestrian and demand ID and interrogate them when there is no reason to believe that particular person is possibly engaged in criminal activity, and where the police are not investigating a particular crime.  Increased crime statistics do not give a cart blanch free pass for the police to treat everyone in the area like a criminal suspect and demand their ID and demand to know where they are going, and demand that they PROVE they are innocent.

This is an example of using fear to justify tyranny.  And this is the future of all America unless the American people put their liberty first, and also take personal responsibility for their own safety and security, and stop turning that responsibility  over to the state, with a disarmed, servile, helpless population “guarded” over by heavily armed and armored government “only ones” (as David Codrea of War on Guns calls them), who are the only ones to bear arms.   There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  A nation of sheep WILL beget a government of wolves.  The solution to crime in Paragould Arkansas is for the people of that town to arm themselves and form neighborhood watches, so THEY are vigilant, aware, and capable of stopping it.  The answer is not to turn the whole town into Nazi Germany, where heavily armed minions of the government demand “your papers please.”

- Stewart Rhodes, Founder of Oath Keepers

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38 Responses to “Papers Please! Mayor Declares Personal Liberties Void In Paragould, AR”

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  1. 1
    Shorty Dawkins Says:

    “Tyranny establishes itself incrementally, this is just historical fact.”

    this is right on the money. People give up their rights one at a time, thinking they will increase their safety, or their children’s safety. It is foolish to believe this, but we got this way by incrementally giving up our rights. Rights are not taken. They are given away by those who will not stand to protect them.

  2. 2
    Saber 5 Says:

    This is wrong, as a member of the Paragould community we need to go to City Hall in mass and show the mayor the non criminal ellement of this town will not be subjugated under unlawful search and explain to anyone why I am out walking.

    ” He who gives up Liberty for safety deserve neither” Ben Frankiln

    Mr Mayor Please reconcider this, Chief Stovall Dont become a yes man remember your oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foriegn or domestic so help you God. People of Paragould will not stand to be treated in such a “Police State” we are know as the friendly City, not the fearful City. I will petition the people of our town to have the Mayor recalled and the Chief replaced we will not stand for this.

  3. 3
    Bubba {the real one) Says:

    Please, maintain your credibility with completly accurate information. Arkansas is AR, not AK!

    [EDITOR: duly noted and fixed! Thanks.]

  4. 4
    Chris Bunch Says:

    As a member of Oathkeepers, before I came to this department almost wo years ago, I can easily dismiss this story as taken “completely out of context”!!! Because if it were true, they would have received ALREADY, my resignation!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Sincerely,Oathkeeper Cpl.Chris Bunch, Paragould Police Department.

  5. 5
    Deborah White Says:

    Thank you Oathkeepers for making this known, calling them out. Thank you Cpl. Chris Bunch.
    My daughter and grandkids are in Bono, AR, two years out of the Navy. They are use to seeing men
    in uniform and weapons at the base gates, etc. They being 5 and 11 now have pretty much grown up in a controlled area. But now they as settle after moving half a dozen times from both coast to living in a small town, making friends, a chance at a normal life. It would be so kind of you to educate your neighboring towns in Arkansas that children need to not be raised in fear in the public life.
    No need for a Nazi patrol harassing people. I have oathkeepers on my back window and educating the houstonians daily in my travels. My sticker is on it’s way! Bless you all…A concerned Free mother.

  6. 6
    Tom Says:

    I was just reading on the Pine Bluff, AR newspaper’s website…

    …that the “City” of Paragould has now cancelled all remaining townhall meetings.

    “On Monday, the police department posted another notice on its website saying the city’s remaining town hall meetings have been canceled ‘in the interest of public safety‘ after officials received a flood of responses to comments by the police chief and mayor.

    “We feel that with the strong feelings on both sides of the Street Crimes Unit issue, a safe and productive meeting would not be the probable outcome,” the statement said.”

    I am not a lawyer, I don’t play one on TV, and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but…..

    Is this another violation of the Constitution? Doesn’t this violate the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights for citizens “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    As a resident of Arkansas I see this going downhill fast.

  7. 7
    Chris Bunch Says:

    Questions now about how our city does not want to be *taken COMPLETELY* out of context again? Really??? This would be like asking Glenn Beck or David Barton to go on the View or MSNBC & NOT be be concerned about being misrepresented!!! Oathkeepers is NOT the problem, BUT it is a PROBLEM when “our own”, exhibit knee jerk reactions like the side we oppose!!!!!!!!!!

  8. 8
    Laura Says:

    As the wife of one if these officers and an Oathkeeper for several years, I say shame on the Oath Keepers for being like the mainstream media and NOT investigating the facts thoroughly before jumping to conclusions. I understand the concern for our liberties and freedoms, but we cannot act like a pack of dogs that has smelled fresh meat and start tearing at every “story” that comes across our paths. If you had a clue what a small town this is that wants to stay clean and low crime, you would see how wrong you are. Before any of you that want to scream Nazi or yelling that you’ll violate my rights, think that’s what God gave you a brain for! Oh my Word, fight the battles that need to be fought not ridiculous ones from a place that has had more children die in the last year than we’d care to think about. If [you think] being fed up with CRIMINALS is wrong you are in need of mental help. I do understand the fear of what our country is becoming but don’t let fear mongers take your common sense away. I for one am now very wary of the credibility of what I read even on sites such as these that I have trusted in the past. I also respectfully request you remove the ludicrous article on your website until you can back it up with actual facts.
    Laura Bunch
    Paragould, AR

  9. 9
    Elias Alias Says:

    Laura Bunch,

    First, let me thank your husband for his service to the citizens of Paragould, and thank you for being a supportive wife. I am sure that both of you love America, love your small town in Arkansas, and are the best of people. Please know that I do not wish for Paragould citizens to have to live with crime. But I am going to offer you a somewhat alternate perspective on this question of stopping pedestrians to demand their “papers please” in the name of fighting crime in your town. I also want to salute and thank you each for being Oath Keepers.

    I was born in Jonesboro, just a little ways downstream from Paragould. I have been in Paragould a number of times, but not in recent years. I would really appreciate it if you and/or your husband would describe for readers here the nature and extent of the crime which is prompting the Mayor to interrogate/or/investigate everyone walking on Paragould’s streets as the only possible remedy to a crime wave. I can’t imagine Paragould being that impacted with crime! I’m not doubting you, but I would really like to know more about the crime problem y’all are facing there, if you would be kind enough to describe it for us. Thanks!

    I was raised in Memphis, moved to Montana, and will be back in Memphis visiting for a while. I would like to meet with you and your husband sometime after Christmas, in January, if you would be agreeable to that. I will also be glad to speak to any civic or police group there as an officer in Oath Keepers.

    I hope to start a genuine conversation with you about this topic. Meanwhile, let’s look at your concerns.

    I went to the article online at the Paragould Daily Press, and I see that when Brandon Smith, (my associate editor here at Oath Keepers national), posted this story he took quotes from the story just as they are published in your local paper. The quoted passages Brandon published here are indeed accurate.

    That said, let me just say that I long for the day when America returns to the old days of simple living, the days when families had personal “family doctors”, the days when one’s home experiences taught a child more about how to become a person than Federally-funded public schools taught them; the good old days when teachers at school were more answerable to their community than to Washington D.C. mandates; when children respected their teachers; and especially I would like to see this country return, in each town and city, to the days when the local police officer was on his feet, on the street, walking his beat.

    While I’m under no delusion which would promise me that we’ll ever get back to the simple life, I yet hold memories of such times and I can see clearly, in comparison with today’s reality, that the police officer was a part of his community, held the community’s respect and gratitude, and did not strike fear in the hearts of citizens whenever he was encountered. Today there is a major disconnect between those a police officer is there to protect and serve and the strong arm of militarized police operating in a detached and aloof mentality which sees any and all persons as potential threats, potential targets upon which to enforce the dictates of the centralized power of government.

    The problem did not come from the cops – the problem came from the community. As cultural Marxism and secular Humanism rose in the census stats of the American way of life, and as the central government began to abuse a duped and pacified public mind by deceiving Americans about our foreign policy of conquest and control over foreign nations and peoples, and as the National Education Association and the un-Constitutional U.S. Department of Education began to program and condition our public school students and teachers, and as the corporate powers of Wall Street and Madison Avenue, and as creature-comforts, conveniences, and Constitutional concessions insulated the average American from the historic struggles of a more natural life-style, and as electronics from telephones to light bulbs to radio to television mesmerized and fascinated a rural America which yearned for more on its way to settle into the “City of Man” – two entire generations have been distracted, have lost focus on their souls, have compromised their honor, their integrity, their self-reliance, and their personal responsibility, and thereby have lost their personal sense of dignity.

    That cultural and societal erosion, handiwork of the cultural Marxists and the power-elite fascist statists of global banking and every sector of our lives which banking influences, has produced the crime – and the police function in society has adjusted as required, using the foundation of statism to protect society in general while sacrificing the individual for the greater societal good, (at least in theory).

    But there is also the statist influence, which I’ve covered in a series of articles about the SWAT murder of a U.S. Marine Iraq Veteran who was gunned down in a hail of seventy-one bullets fired at him in his own home at Tucson, Arizona last year (May 2011). There is the militarization of our police, which was the brainchild idea of a group of elitists who seek to control America for the one-world government, but I won’t drift off into that aspect here in this letter to you – just suffice to know that there is more to today’s problem than a simple need for law enforcement to rise to challenging changes within society’s mores and cultural sophistications.

    Even so, I still maintain that the problem of crime has come from an engineered public mentality which has been reinforced by powers on high who have ulterior motives that are not to your and my benefit. But back to Paragould, Arkiansas….

    I have not been in Paragould in many years, so I do not know how bad the crime problem there might be. I feel, however, that I can say that it is a good idea, in fact it is an excellent idea, to put cops on the streets in Paragould. I would like to see cops walking their beats in every community in America. I want to know that the cops on the streets have guns to protect themselves and to protect the general public. All of that is, in my opinion, lawful and in accordance with the Constitution, and I am glad that Paragould has faithful peace officers who will do the street patrols. But –

    It is flat-out wrong, unlawful, and un-Constitutional to accost the citizens of Paragould at gun point to demand their “papers please” as a matter of routine police policy. That is just not right at all, is not morally acceptable in America, and will most certainly lead to, (if it’s allowed to happen and expand), a police state which would be much worse than any crime spree which presently threatens the peace in Paragould.

    I understand the frustration of City leadership and the concerns of the citizenry, and sympathize with all involved. And I would support the cop on the beat approach which your leadership there is asserting, but only if the cop on the beat was required by his own authorities to honor the Bill of Rights for every American with whom he chances to come into contact while working his beat. A good neighbor walking his dog is not a target for law enforcement unless that citizen is violating a law. It is totally unacceptable to stop such a citizen and demand his identification as a matter of police policy.

    Our communities, towns, cities, Counties, and States must find a better, Constitutional, way to combat crime. I’m thinking it will take an entire generation of home-schooling and community control over public schools, instilling family values into the young impressionable minds of that generation to turn around the present trend in lawlessness – (thanks to the handiwork of the Humanists, socialists, secularists, and monopoly-capitalist system which has held sway over our country for more than fifty years, and thanks also to a mass-media which has supported the buildup of a ‘welfare-warfare’ state). What took between sixty and ninety years to accomplish in tearing down America’s moral fiber cannot be undone overnight, but we must begin to turn that corner and start heading back to the sanity of personal responsibility and the freedom/liberty which springs naturally from that.


  10. 10
    Tom Says:

    While I am not a member of Oath Keepers…….yet. I am very seriously considering it, but I am concerned about joining a group that claims to have members that will do what ever is necessary to defend the constitution and yet there are people who claim to be members that openly state that they would violate Oath Keeper Orders #2 and #10 in the name of crime prevention. If the mayor of a town or city decided that the only way to prevent crime was to ignore the constitution completely would these same people go along with that too? Maybe I should reconsider joining. Not because a few people make comments, I don’t scare easily, but because it may be possible that this organization has been infiltrated.

    Can some other members give me some feed back on their experiences with the members of Oath Keepers?

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