Candidate for Amarillo mayor, homeless advocate not found guilty on obstruction of passageway charge

Candidate for Amarillo mayor, homeless advocate not found guilty on obstruction of passageway charge
A candidate for Amarillo mayor and an advocate for Amarillo's homeless was not found guilty on a charge he obstructed a City Hall passageway last year. (Source: Facebook)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Kip Billups, who was arrested last March on a charge of obstructing a passageway or highway on the steps of Amarillo’s City Hall, testified on Wednesday he was there to protest against the city ordinance that blocks camping on public or private property after 72 hours.

Billups was free to go on that charge after an ‘instructed verdict’ from Judge Walt Weaver.

Candidate for Amarillo mayor, homeless advocate not found guilty on obstruction of passageway charge

“I think the judge today made the right decision,” said Ryan Brown, Billups’ defense attorney. “He stood up for everyone’s First Amendment rights, including Kip’s, to stand up and speak out in favor of homeless people, and outweighed the government’s interest of keeping people off of those steps at City Hall.”

The prosecution said the issue wasn’t his First Amendment right, but that the APD asked Billups to move and he did not.

The defense argued Billups was not obstructing people from entering City Hall and motioned for what Judge Weaver called an instructed verdict.

Judge Weaver granted this motion and said there was not enough evidence for a jury to be able to deliberate and told the jury they would be free to leave.

“I feel like justice was served, that my right as a patriot and a homeless advocate, and a Constitutionalist, we’re able to defend our right to be there,” said Billups.

“You’ve got to be principled on how you look at these things and that’s what the judge did today,” said Brown.

The prosecution left the courthouse before we were able to ask for comment, but they can appeal the verdict if they would like.

Billups says he plans to continue to be a voice for the homeless.

Copyright 2019 KFDA. All rights reserved.