Fort Worth ‘First Amendment’ Auditor Knocked Out During Arrest, Plans To Sue Police Officer


60-year-old Carolyn Rodriguez, a well-known ‘First Amendment auditor’ has stated that she will sue a Fort Worth Police officer who apprehended her on Sunday.

Rodriguez was knocked unconscious and hurt during the arrest which she live- streamed from her YouTube page. Over 87,000 people subscribe to her “CFW Carolina in Fort Worth” account.

“You body-slammed like a sack of potatoes a woman, either for having a camera or asking “Why?” Rodriguez’s lawyer, CJ Grisham reported. “That is inhuman behavior.”

On Sunday, at about 3 a.m., Rodriguez had walked up to multiple officers in the West 7th entertainment district. Her recording shows that she thought that officers were towing bar employees’ vehicles from a business parking lot.

“How do you know if they paid or not, ladies?” she questioned two police officers.

FWPD says that the officers she was recording were there investigating a hit-and-run crash involving a suspected drunk driver who had fled the scene.

The officers never responded to Rodriguez until she had gotten closer. However, there was no police tape showing a perimeter.

In the video, a male officer is heard ordering Rodriguez to move across the street three times as Rodriguez continuously asked why.

While another police officer told Rodriguez that they were conducting an investigation, the male officer told her to turn around and placed her under arrest. Again, Rodriguez asked why, and the officer instructor her to “stop resisting.”

During the apprehension, Rodriguez’s phone shook and fell out. The live-stream wet black, but the audio was still recording.

Rodriguez was knocked unconscious and could be heard snoring. Minutes later, another woman was heard saying, “She’s bleeding.”

Rodriguez’s lawyer says that she suffered a dislocated shoulder and dislocated elbow. She required stitches close to her eye and on her lip and had a bloody nose, as well, he stated.

In her mugshot, Rodriguez could been seen with a black eye and blood on her face. She was charged with Interference with Public Duties, Resisting Arrest and/ or Detention, Evading Arrest, and False Alarm or Report.

The Fort Worth Police Department says that they are now investigating the matter, including the use of force.

In addition to that, Fort Worth city councilman Chris Nettles has requested that his colleagues delay their planned summer break to discuss the incident behind closed doors. He has also requested for a public comment session so city leaders could listen to the issues that residents have.

Nettles added that the Fort Worth Police Department should release their video of the incident. This is even though it isn’t known what recordings that they might have.

“The community is upset, and the community only sees one side. That’s why it’s important: release the footage. Let us see both sides. Let us see transparency. Let us see what truly happened that night and put them all together,” he stated.

Grisham concurred that any body camera or pole camera recordings of the occurrence should be released.

Rodriguez thinks of herself as a ‘citizen journalist’ and ‘First Amendment auditor.’ Normally, such auditors go into public buildings, record videos of working public employees asking questions, and then they ask them questions.

Last week, Tarrant County commissioners voted to settle a lawsuit that Rodriguez had filed. She had claimed that a Tarrant County Sheriff’s deputy was working security at the Tarrant County Court in 2022 and assaulted her by slapping away her phone.

She received a $6,000 settlement in that matter.

Rodriguez’s YouTube page has numerous of videos that show encounters with law enforcement officers. There, she also narrates or breaks down other auditors’ recordings. The recordings also depict the many times that she was forced out of public buildings or be arrested if she didn’t leave.

Douglas Deaton, a former police officer, has held seminars for police so that they know how to handle individuals who record or live-stream on-duty officers.

“I always recommend people handle this with bold and friendly professionalism,” he stated. “Never fear the camera.”

He added that there is no known best practice for handling ‘First Amendment auditors,’ or ‘citizen journalists.’ However, he has taught officers to offer their names and badge numbers right away, and they should answer some questions, as well.

“You’re not speaking to that First Amendment auditor or that so-called citizen journalist. You’re speaking to viewers. You’re speaking to the future audience who will see that video.”

Deaton said that the police should provide the person recording an opportunity to comply on camera. He also says that doing so provides the person a chance to be non-compliant on their own camera which will lead to “a case against the instigator more powerful.”

Leave a Response