The Texas Municipal Police Association is coming out against Texas House candidate CJ Grisham over what the group says are his “anti-cop” Facebook posts.
“We’re really concerned about anybody who has made the kind of hateful remarks about our law enforcement officers running for a position in the statehouse,” TMPA Executive Director Kevin Lawrence said on Friday. “That type of vitriol, that type of demonization of our law enforcement personnel we just don’t think it’s a good ingredient in the public policy making process.”
In some of the posts, Grisham describes bad cops as “thugs and cowards,” said that he’s “done feeling bad when cops get shot,” and that officers “should all be lined up and executed.” He later said the “cops get shot” comment was a poor choice of words and said he was talking about bad cops, giving examples of his arrest while carrying a rifle on a hike with his son in Temple.
Grisham is one of two Republicans — the other being Calvary Chapel pastor Brandon Hall — challenging incumbent Hugh Shine, R-Temple, for the House District 55 seat.
The TMPA met in Waco in Friday morning to discuss the Open Carry Texas founder’s Facebook posts. Grisham said he attended the meeting. Lawrence confirmed this.
Grisham said he wasn’t surprised the group was attacking him.
“I really think it speaks volumes what their true agenda is when they have no problem talking about me but they won’t talk to me,” Grisham said. “I will continue to support law enforcement with every fiber of my being regardless of what the TMPA thinks.”
The concern of TMPA, a group that represents more than 24,000 law enforcement officers in Texas, is that House District 55 voters need to be educated about Grisham’s positions, attitudes and “his real ambitions” before they go to the ballot box, Lawrence said.
While Grisham says he is not anti-cop, Lawrence disputes this.
“I say look at his track record. Look at the language he has used over and over and over and over again,” the police association executive director said.
Rhetoric, like what Grisham used, is damaging for the law enforcement community, Lawrence said. He added that it is bad for morale and the relationship between officers and their communities.
“It makes the jobs of those officers more difficult and more dangerous,” Lawrence said.
TMPA’s board of directors endorsed Shine in his re-election bid, Lawrence said.
Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange said he was saddened to learn of Grisham’s comments toward law enforcement officers. Lange said all his interactions with Grisham have been respectful, polite and cordial.
A request to comment sent to Temple Police Chief Floyd Mitchell was not immediately answered Friday.
As for Belton, politics is not the focus of the Police Department, Chief Gene Ellis said.
“It’s our practice at the Belton Police Department to stay out of politics when possible,” Ellis said. “Our focus must be on delivering high quality police service that Belton citizens deserve.”
While TMPA came out swinging against Grisham, Lawrence said the group will respect whatever decision the voters make.
“If CJ Grisham is the type of person the voters of District 55 want to send to Austin to represent them so be it,” Lawrence said. “That is, obviously, their right.”