HOUSTON—A trip to a Montgomery County community center in Texas landed a World War II veteran behind bars, in part because of the T-shirt he was wearing.
Emmitt Lewis, 86, is a regular at the Lone Star Community Center in the town of Montgomery. It’s a popular hangout for the small town’s senior citizens.
"Usually we go there we play dominos and eat lunch," Lewis said.
That’s what he and his son intended to do earlier this month. They had no idea that early voting was under way inside another room of the building.
Lewis was wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt, which violates polling-place rules. He was asked to change it.
"One man made the mistake of putting his hand on me and shook it," Lewis said.
Lewis wasn’t happy and someone called the police.
Officers arrested Lewis and his son, saying they were disruptive and refused to cooperate.
"If the police department or any police agency arrives at a call for a disturbance, the disturbance is ongoing you’re going to have to take the necessary steps to ensure that it stops," said Montgomery Police Chief Royce Goodson.
Lewis’ attorney believes the cops overreacted.
"I think the law enforcement officers that responded to this scene did not exercise discretion to treat him with the dignity and patience that someone of his age deserves," Katherine Shipman said.
Lewis and his son have been banned from the community center, but Shipman hopes to change that. She said he will plead not guilty to the charge against him.