Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to Cooke County Commissioners and a representative of the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office and was submitted to the editor as an open letter. This version has been abbreviated due to space.

I am voicing my anger to you, sirs, for your obvious use of intimidation tactics and your escalated weekly maneuvers to try and derail the PRO Gainesville protests from occurring upon the very courthouse lawn where your prized ode to white supremacy and the Confederacy stands tall. The country sees you, and your legacies and memories will be forever tarnished with your despicable behavior in these times. You five, and all of Gainesville Police Department have put the very citizens that you are supposed to represent, protect and serve in danger on a weekly basis by not addressing counter-protesters….

But the danger that you have put your citizens in this week is unconscionable. Your commissioners put up barricades, and barrels and tape so that people protesting your monument in no way could safely and properly distance themselves from others….

This all happened on the evening after another protest was held, and no such measures were made to try to “corral” protesters like sheep…. That is discrimination. I wonder in the midst of all that is happening, have you commissioners ever taken such measures to deter your own citizens in exercising their legal right to the First Amendment? All upon a courthouse lawn paid for with their own tax dollars, being harassed by officers whose salaries are also paid with their tax dollars.

It seems to me that you commissioners, and every police officer present, have blatantly showed that your idea of “law and order” is more important than the direct statement made by the governor of Texas himself in how to handle, and protect ourselves from a worldwide pandemic….

Your officers’ primary responsibility to its citizens is to protect and serve. You, sirs, have abused the power of a police presence for intimidation, all the while ignoring every law and simple courtesy to make us even feel remotely protected.

…We have photographic and video evidence that it was impossible to maintain proper coronavirus protocol. Is this not a safety hazard in itself?

Furthermore, if you are trying to use the excuse of protecting the lawn itself, then this is laughable, considering the grass is in perfect condition, your own officers were walking all over it and the damage you are causing to that grass with the barrels placed every 10 feet is way more than we ever do on a weekly basis. These tactics are so obviously transparent, and by trying to make whatever point you are working on it is only making Gainesville, Texas, look worse and worse. I will be forwarding this letter to every news outlet that I can, and even Gov. Greg Abbott himself. I am sure that he will appreciate knowing that law and order resides here in Cooke County. It’s just not his executive order that you choose to enforce.

I am not anti-police. I am anti-police brutality. The conditions they are putting us in are very near brutal.

You, sirs, in the county are making the city of Gainesville look horrible, and all of the bad coverage of Gainesville’s image lies upon you. The city of Gainesville unanimously decided to have the monument under their jurisdiction moved. You are putting the entire city’s reputation in jeopardy with your actions.

You are confusing pride with honor.

“Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.” (M.H. McKee) Gainesville is showing they have integrity. County commissioners have only showed a lack thereof.

Trisha Sparkman, Montague

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