Nacogdoches parade prepared for potential disruption - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches parade prepared for potential disruption

Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff Source: KTRE Staff

The Nacogdoches Nine Flags Christmas Parade is an event everyone looks forward to this time of year.

"It’s a big, big deal,” said parade coordinator and Nacogdoches United Way President Gary Lee Ashcraft.  “A lot of people come out to the parade, it's very family orientated. You'll see all kinds of folks come out and see it."

However, the Church of Wells showed up to nearby Lufkin's Christmas parade Monday night, causing quite a stir when one member shouted “It’s an abomination” and “He doesn’t want you to burn” at crowd members.

Nacogdoches parade organizers are expecting a similar visit.

 Does the Church of Wells have the right to preach at public events?

"Freedom of speech is there,” said Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches. “However, everybody has to remember it comes with respect to everybody that's around them."

When does freedom of speech become disorderly conduct?

"When it comes to interfering with the roadways, assaulting anybody, or causing any kind of disturbance, then there's a problem,” Sanches said.

This is exactly what happened in Lufkin, when Lufkin Police, Taylor Clifton refused to obey their requests and continued to harass people and walk in front of parade floats. LPD said they took him into custody for his own safety and the safety of others.

Should the same thing happen this weekend, Nacogdoches said they are ready.

"We'll do exactly what the Lufkin Police, I'm just sure of it,” Ashcraft said.

Ashcraft said Church of Wells members are welcome to come, along with the rest of the public, but hopes everyone heads his warning of safety.

"I hope that all organizations will respect that this is a family event and kind of blend into it and keep their messages civil,” Ashcraft said.

Parade organizers ask attendees that witness any kind of harassment disturbance by anyone to notify Nacogdoches Police or parade volunteers. They will both be on hand at several locations on the parade route.

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