POLICE DON'T LIKE THE EMPTY HOLSTER PROTEST
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA
The holster led to an encounter with campus police, a video obtained by Campus Reform shows. Ironically, Parten was wearing the holster to protest the school’s ban on all weapons on campus. Two officers approached Parten and another man while they were running a table promoting the group Students for Concealed Carry.
“Is it just because I have my holster on me?” Parten asked.
“Yeah it is because somebody called it in,” the officer answered. “If you’ve been a student since 2014 you know there’s a no-weapons policy out here.”
“This is a protest,” Parten said. “I
“Doesn’t matter,” the officer said. “You have permission to wear it?”
“I don’t need permission to wear it,” Parten said.
“You need permission from the university to wear it,” the officer said.
“You need permission from the university.”
“To wear a holster?” he asks with undisguised incredulity.
Standing his rhetorical ground, the officer simply shrugs off the challenge and says, “There's a no-weapons policy here.”
“It's not a weapon.”
“I understand that,” the officer concedes. “Take it up with Dean of Students, then, because y'all are gonna be written up for disciplinary [sic], and I will put in there your attitude, you understand?”
Assuming a more confrontational demeanor, the officer then turns to Parten and states, “So I'm gonna ask you one more time: where's the weapon?”
“I don't have it,” Parten tells him. “It's at home.”
Later in the video, though, the first officer calls Parten over after the others have stepped away and acknowledges that neither of the students had technically done anything wrong, then requests “for your safety as well as mine” that they be more compliant in the future when officers respond to reports of a possible weapon.
“What you’re doing is not against the rules or the law,” he explains, “but when we get a call thinking somebody might have a gun, you have to be polite and cooperative, because if you start being difficult, [it looks like] you’re carrying something.
“Your friend here had his hands in pockets, and he kind of laughed when I asked him to take them out, but he forgot that he put this little folding knife—that has a clip on the outside—in his pocket.”
Parten and Tews counter that, at least with respect to the holsters (which were the reason the officers were called, in the first place), they were engaged in a public display that was explicitly billed as an empty holster protest.
“There’s some people in here that disagree with what you’re doing,” the officer informs them. “And when they see a holster, they call in; it’s just part of your protest.”