The fringe ideology of ‘constitutional sheriffs’ is attracting believers within Texas law enforcement

Some 50 Texas sheriffs and numerous elected officials have attended trainings on the unsupported notion that sheriffs can single-handedly overrule state and federal law. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which offered state peace officers credit for the seminars, is now investigating.

By Jessica Pishko, The Texas TribuneJanuary 18, 2023 10:59 am, , ,

From The Texas Tribune:

Bridget Bennett / Reuters

Richard Mack, former sheriff of Graham County in Arizona and founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas on July 12, 2022.

Violent roots

Bridget Bennett / Reuters

Coryell County Sheriff Scott Williams (second from left) and True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht (third from right) onstage during a Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association event in Las Vegas on July 12, 2022.

– Rev. Mark Collins, a former pastor in Sutherland Springs, where a gunman killed 26 churchgoers in 2017. Collins dressed as George Washington for the training.

– KrisAnne Hall, an ex-prosecutor who describes herself as a constitutional lawyer and who, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “travels the country preaching that U.S. citizens do not need to comply with the government.”

– Michael Peroutka, previously the Maryland leader for the League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center designated as a white supremacist organization. Its new project is the Institute of the Constitution, which promotes a form of Christian nationalism.

– Gary Heavin, a former women’s fitness entrepreneur from Waco who has donated to the Oath Keepers.

Pamela Elliott, a controversial former Texas sheriff who is featured on the cover of Mack’s book “Are You a David?”

Chris Stokes for The Texas Tribune

The Kinney County Courthouse in Brackettville on May 9, 2022. The county’s sheriff — on a CSPOA member list — and the county attorney planned to patrol the border by hiring private citizens as an official posse, using state funds. The plans were later dropped after some objections.

Sheriffs on the border

Bridget Bennett / Reuters

Zapata County Sheriff Raymundo Del Bosque holds his hat over his heart during the national anthem at an event held by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 12, 2022.

Chasing voting fraud

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