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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE student receives Bart Simpson-style punishment from FWPD

NE+student+Channing+Gould+says+he+was+hit+with+a+Taser+and+arrested+for+doing+his+job.+Photo+by+Georgia+Phillips%2FThe+Collegian
NE student Channing Gould says he was hit with a Taser and arrested for doing his job. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

By Kenney Kost/editor-in-chief

NE student Channing Gould says he was hit with a Taser and arrested for doing his job. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
NE student Channing Gould says he was hit with a Taser and arrested for doing his job. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

After being hit with a Taser, taken to jail, spending six months in and out of court, paying fines and fees, given an odd punishment and ultimately a case dismissal, a NE Campus student is glad just to be back at school taking dance classes.

But Channing Gould believes he was wronged by the police and would like to see these wrongs made right.

Gould had been working with Liberty Tax Services’ North Tarrant Parkway location for about two weeks in March and stood in the median every day dancing in his costume and holding a sign offering customers a chance to win Rangers tickets.

Liberty sends dancers out to the street dressed in Statue of Liberty costumes with signs pointing to their locations, Gould said.

While Gould was dancing in a median toward the end of his shift, a Fort Worth police officer pulled up and asked Gould to move to the sidewalk. Gould said he didn’t hear or see him because he was wearing headphones and facing the other side of the street.

“He [Fort Worth police officer] said he tried to just tell me through his PA, [public address] but I didn’t hear anything,” Gould said. “The next thing I knew he was in my face telling me to go stand by his car.”

According to the police report, the officer called out twice over his car’s PA asking Gould to leave the center median. It appeared to the officer Gould ignored his direction so he drove up closer and Gould looked directly at him and waved him off.

At this point, the officer got out of the car and approached Gould. Gould said he told the officer he was working and his employer instructed him to be in the median, so he didn’t think he had done anything wrong.

The officer reported that Gould told him he “was working and this is not your jurisdiction, get away from me.”

Before Gould knew it, two more police cars drove on the scene, and he was being slammed into the back of a police cruiser.

“All of a sudden, he tells me I am under arrest,” he said. “He flipped me around into the car and actually dented the back fender.”

At some point, police used a Taser on Gould, but how it happened is in dispute.

Gould said once he was placed in handcuffs and thrown to the ground in a sitting position against the back of the car, the officer proceeded to use the Taser.

“They got me point blank in the head and then in the back,” he said. “They got me while I was in handcuffs. That is when I started to be confrontational. Then I blacked out.”

According to the police report, the officer only displayed the Taser as a warning when Gould refused to stand by the car. After several attempts to get him to come to the car, he did but refused to get in. The officer attempted to take control of Gould to arrest and cuff him, and he resisted. The other two officers on the scene tried to help, and he struggled to get away from them as well.

At this point, the first officer deployed his Taser into the small of Gould’s back and claimed it had no effect on his resisting. He rolled over and was moving erratically. When the officer fired his Taser a second time, it ended up hitting Gould in the face.

Police took Gould to jail on charges of resisting arrest and transportation.

After paying around $1,000 in fines and court fees and spending months in and out of court, he was shocked at the punishment handed down to him Sept. 9 on his final day in court.

“There was a lot of weird stuff that happened in court,” Gould said. “They tried to get me to plead guilty, and I said I wouldn’t unless they showed the video of what really happened. So finally when I showed up the last day of court, they agreed to dismiss the case if I wrote on a huge markerboard 52 times that ‘I will not argue with police officers.’”

The police report said the car video disc was removed by another officer on the scene.

Christina Sukhewatha, owner of the Liberty Tax Services office and Gould’s former employer, said the city ordinance for distributing, selling and soliciting on medians and traffic islands has a gray area.

“I pulled up the city ordinance online and looked over it and don’t feel we asked anyone to do anything illegal,” Sukhewathan said.

Sukhewatha also said Gould was fired due to his story evolving over the course of a few days, and, by that point, his credibility was shot.

“His judgment is what is at fault,” she said. “It was because the story changed three times and the statement was constantly evolving. Having someone who is careless is a liability on me, and he signed a contract agreement to follow company standards.”

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