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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Months following arrests, students await court date

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Professional staff listening to students requests given at protest. Photo Courtesy of Cameron Hubbard

In the aftermath of the spring student sit-in arrests, four students await court dates as local law enforcement builds cases.
The arrests of Journey Carnahan, Nayir Viera-Freeman, Russell Boyd II and Addison Houser stem from the April 12 53-hour student sit-in protest over the Student Government Senate’s inability to reach quorum for the impeachment of former Student Government President Connor Clegg, who was later found guilty on six articles of impeachment, including misuse of Student Government social media to call for the defunding of The University Star.
As a part of the protest, students blocked a University Police Department vehicle escorting senators and cabinet members from leaving, which led to warrants issued for arrests. No students were arrested at the scene, but all four of the arrested were later charged with two Class B Misdemeanors of Obstruction of Highway and Interference with Public Duties.
The cases are still under review according to Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau, meaning no trials have occurred yet. The Hays County Intake Division is putting a file together for each defendant and gathering all relevant information before moving forward. Mau said there is a lot of subjectivity in cases like these that could sway the outcome of the case once a trial is held.
“A person can see civil disobedience and another person can see criminal trespass or resisting arrest,” Mau said. “There are going to be situations where people are violating the law and they may have the opinion that they are exercising their rights. It will be up to the courts to determine whether they are or not.”
Carnahan, criminal justice sophomore, was arrested May 1 in Chautauqua Hall, the first of the four to be arrested. Carnahan was released May 2 on a personal recognizance bond, meaning a signature and a promise to appear in court is required but a deposit is not. All four students were released on these bonds. An email was sent to the other three students the following day telling them a warrant was issued for their arrest and advising them to voluntarily surrender.
Viera-Freeman, studio art and electronic media sophomore who prefers they/them pronouns, said they knew it was only a matter of time before police came for the protesters. Freeman turned themselves in May 5, a week after the warrant was issued, alongside anthropology sophomore Addison Houser, who also had an arrest warrant issued. The final student, Boyd, was arrested May 7 during finals week.
“As soon as the sit-in was over, I stopped living on campus,” Freeman said. “I slept on a friend’s couch for a month and a half. I was technically homeless because I just didn’t feel safe on campus. I was in Beretta so I was directly across from the police building.”
The arrest warrants were issued by Justice of the Peace Maggie Moreno on behalf of affidavits submitted by University Police Department officer Adam Rodriguez. Vice President of Student Affairs Joanna Smith said though the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs has oversight over UPD, the administration had no say in the police department’s decision to issue arrest warrants for those specific students.
“The police department has the authority to handle anything relate to police matters,” Smith said. “The administration does not interfere or is not a part of any conversation about that. If an arrest is made, that’s a police authority issue. The university does not take a stand in either saying you can or can’t arrest anybody.”
Freeman said they will continue to do activism work, despite their arrest. Houser, Carnahan and Freeman will come back to school this fall. Boyd graduated this spring, shortly after his arrest.
“I’m always going to do it,” Freeman said. “I did some work over the summer. It’s definitely something that’s always been a part of my life.”
The University Star will continue to follow the trial and story of the four students arrested, and will provide updates as they become available.

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