Glen Rose Reclassifies Criminal Citations To “Warnings”

UPDATE 5-7-2020

The City of Glen Rose has reclassified the citations given out in this story to “Warnings”. In a press release to K-HITS 95.5, Mark & Radonna Geotz, owners of Geotz Physical Culture Center say that on Thursday – May 7, 2020 at about 8:00 A.M., they received formal notification by telephone from the City of Glen Rose – Police Chief Buck Martin that the citations issued as a result of the enforcement action occurring at Goetz Physical Culture Center on Friday – May 1, 2020 were being reclassified as “Warnings”. As such, there are no pending criminal charges against the patrons having been present at the facility and no other response is required on their part to satisfy the matter. On Tuesday – May 5, 2020, Governor Abbott announced that gyms were scheduled to reopen on Monday – May 18, 2020; subsequently, Goetz Physical Culture Center looks forward to operating without the potential of punitive measures whether civil or criminal in nature on said date.

 

ORIGINAL STORY 

5-4-2020

Glen Rose City… Geotz Gym Story 1

The City of Glen Rose, known as the “Dinosaur Capitol of Texas” for having prehistoric dinosaur tracts, now has a new distinction, Being the first city in Texas and one of the few in the nation to issue criminal citations to citizens who go to a private, membership only gym. Mark and Radonna Goetz owners of Geotz Physical Culture Center Gym and Fitness in Glen Rose tells K-HITS News that several of it’s members were issued citations coming out of their gym on Friday May 1st. …..

Geotz said that Chief Martin remained in the parking lot for 3 hours, leaving a final citation on a vehicle, which was an employee of the gym, and who was later pulled over leaving the building.

Glen Rose Mayor Pam Miller in a statement response to K-HITS news said the gym did close for the month of April at their request due to hearing from Heath authorities, and a few complaints. Over the last several weeks the Mayor said the city received letters from Goetz saying he intended to open the gym and was asked not to do so…. Geotz in his letter told the city said if any action was to be taken it should be against him…

The City believed the gym owner was trying to make a bold statement, and he wanted to be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, arrested, and jailed for his defiance of the Governor’s orders….

 

Geotz who is a retired police officer said that the city has discretionary authority on enforcement…

One thing Geotz wanted to make sure people understood , that this was a Glen Rose City law enforcement operation and the Somervell county sheriffs dept had nothing to do…

The Sheriffs Department was called in as backup by Chief Martin, but just stood by for a short period as a citation was written out.

Glen Rose City Councilman Chris Bryant in social media posts believes Chief Martin is fair when it comes to law enforcement, but that this was quote “ an absolute force of control from a city administration that say’s..I don’t want to hear or read your concerns, so I’ll make you an example for questioning me” un-Quote.

Geotz says..that Geotz Physical Culture Gym and Fitness will remain open, just that clients may receive citations…

Mayor Miller said that the city does not like having to take action against local citizens and businesses, but we all know that COVID 19 is a serious virus and can have deadly results. As Mayor, I have a responsibility to protect public health and defend the most vulnerable members of our community. Several cities in the state have issued warnings to citizens, but these are the first citations.

K-HITS news reached out to Chief Martin for comment but has yet to hear back.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Glen Rose City… Geotz Gym Story 2

The City of Glen Rose becomes the first city in the state of Texas, and one of the few in the Nation to issue citations to citizens for violating a local ordinance related to a Govornors Executive order during the COVID 19 heath crisis. On Friday May 1st, Glen Rose Police Chief Buck Martin issued 3 citations to members of the Geotz Physical Cultural Center Gym and Fitness as they were leaving the building. In a statement given to K-HITS News…Mayor Pam Miller said that Governor Abbott ordered the people of Texas to avoid gyms. He did not order gyms to close.  So, the city had Police Chief Martin issue tickets to members of the public who were using the gym for violating the City’s Emergency Management Ordinance under which Governor Abbott’s orders had been adopted. Violation of that ordinance is a class C misdemeanor.

Mark Geotz who is a retired police officer, and owner of the gym along with his wife Radonna believe that if any citations were to be given out…he should be included..

 

During the issuing of citations, it is reported a gentleman walked up off of Jefferson Street to retrieve his car out of the parking lot and was approached by Chief Martin and was told he was going to receive a citation. When the gentleman questioned how he could receive a citation without coming out of the building, Chief Martin called in for backup….

Geotz says that the Somervell County Sheriffs department did what any officer would do when backup is requested…

Geotz reiterated.. ..that the Sheriffs department had nothing to do with this incident…

Mayor Miller said…after consulting with City Attorney Pendleton, Governor Abbott’s staff, and the Attorney General’s Office, the administration determined it was on solid ground and asked Police Chief Martin to take action

Glen Rose City Councilman Chris Bryant in social media posts say’s quote “this had nothing to do with enforcing the Governors mandate, this was an absolute force of control from a city administration that say’s..I don’t want to hear or read your concerns, so I’ll make you an example for questioning me” un-Quote

Geotz believes that Somervell County and area counties are at a different level number wise then the metro areas of Texas…

Mayor Miller said that the city does not like having to take action against local citizens and businesses, but as Mayor, I have a responsibility to protect public health and defend the most vulnerable members of our community. Several cities in the state have issued warnings to citizens, but these are the first citations.

Geotz says the gym will remain open..except with a warning..

K-HITS news also reached out to Chief Martin for comment but has yet to hear back.

K-HITS 95.5 will have updated stories as developments occur …..

Statement From Geotz Physical Culture Gym And Fitness Center (posted on their website)

To all the patrons of Goetz Physical Culture Center.  If you come to the gym, local law enforcement may issue you a citation!  They asked to gain entry into the facility for purposes of identifying attendees and were refused.  Subsequently, law enforcement stayed in the parking lot for an extended period of time and issued citations when patrons exited the building or they perceived had exited the building.  After 3 hours, a citation was placed on the windshield of a remaining vehicle and law enforcement departed as though the situation was resolved.  Wrong!  Law enforcement continued surveillance of the property and stopped the vehicle when it departed only to find that it was an employee of the gym.

Law enforcement did not issue citations to Radonna or me!  Why?  If you want to unjustly influence and/or leverage a business owner(s) to comply with a government order, write citations to the clients of whom the owners care about!  I am the person having primary care, custody and control of the property.  Law enforcement knew I was willing to accept legal consequences so they knowingly and strategically chose to target only the patrons!  Law enforcement attempted to claim no action could be taken against me as an owner and law enforcement was made aware of Texas Penal Code, Chapter 7, Section 7.02(2) [Criminal Responsibility for Conduct of Another].  Law enforcement calculatingly elected to only cite patrons!

Regardless of if you believe the police enforcement was valid or invalid legally, the actions of citing secondary persons and purposely not taking punitive measures against those most responsible (owner) is unequivocally wrong!   Goetz Physical Culture Center shall remain open.  You must decide if it is worth the potential of receiving a citation.

This message is intended for two reasons.  Know that if you come to the gym, you risk getting a citation!  Regardless of your position of if law enforcement intervention was appropriate, the deliberate action of attempting to manipulate my choice of having the gym open by taking punitive measures solely against patrons is wrong!

I will not name the officials personally as they are merely performing their job as directed by higher authorities!  This was a cause of action performed by the City of Glen Rose.  Sheriff Department personnel were present only as a result of a request for assistance.  This was exclusively a City of Glen Rose enforcement / punitive operation!

Statement From Glen Rose Mayor Pam Miller

Responding to the COVID 19 crisis has been a difficult task.  On one hand, some citizens have complained that the City hasn’t done enough because we haven’t closed Big Rocks Park.  On the other hand, some complain we have done too much.  We have carefully weighed the matter and have tried to balance civil liberties and public health.  To achieve this balance we have looked to Dr. Vacek, our Somervell County Health Authority for guidance.  At one City Council meeting when asked about closing Big Rocks Park, he stated that at the time he did not think it was necessary.  He indicated that sunlight is a great sterilizer.  He was also asked about gyms.  He expressed concern about gyms because of all the contact surfaces and the propensity for people to cough while working out.  Up to that point, the City had not approached the owner of a local gym about his enabling customers to violate Governor Abbott’s orders by keeping his facility open.  After considering Dr. Vacek’s advice and after receiving a couple of complaints, the administration asked Police Chief Martin to contact the owner of the gym about closing his doors to the public.  The owner complied.  No citations were issued.
In recent weeks, the owner of the gym sent letters to City Administrator Leamons, members of the City Council, and myself, advertising his intention of defying Governor Abbott’s order addressing gyms by reopening for business on Friday, May 1st.  He was asked not to do so, but did so anyway.  After consulting with City Attorney Pendleton, Governor Abbott’s staff, and the Attorney General’s Office, the administration determined it was on solid ground and asked Police Chief Martin to take action.  It was the opinion of City staff that to make a bold statement, the gym owner wanted to be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, arrested, and jailed for his defiance of the Governor’s orders. The City’s administration chose to take a less dramatic approach.  Governor Abbott ordered the people of Texas to avoid gyms.  He did not order gyms to close.  So, Police Chief Martin issued tickets to members of the public who were using the gym for violating the City’s Emergency Management Ordinance under which Governor Abbott’s orders had been adopted.  Violation of that ordinance is a class C misdemeanor, which is equivalent to a traffic violation.
We do not like having to take action against local citizens and businesses, but we all know that COVID 19 is a serious virus and can have deadly results.  As Mayor, I have a responsibility to protect public health and defend the most vulnerable members of our community.