Police: Teaching Kids to Mistrust Government Makes Couple ‘Unsuitable’ Parents

Texans, beware: If you teach your kids that the “government is out to harm them,” police in Williamson County might just deem you an “unsuitable” parent.

That startling claim, leveled by officers in Child Protective Services documents detailing an investigation into an Austin-area activist couple, should be enough to give reason for pause to any staunch conservative in the state.

The allegation was made against drug reform activist filmmakers Barry and Candi Cooper, whose home was recently raided and searched after the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department claimed Barry’s voice was heard in the background audio of an allegedly false police report.

Once in the couple’s home, officers discovered a small amount of marijuana and charged the Coopers with Class B misdemeanors, resulting in both their arrests. Each immediately bonded out of jail and paid a small fine. Days later, while Candi’s youngest son was visiting his father in east Texas, Child Protective Services contacted the Coopers, revealing that the incident could cost them not only custody of the boy, but also their freedom on felony child endangerment charges.

After CPS interviewed the couple, Travis County Deputy District Attorney Dayna Blazey pronounced both Coopers to be fit parents, whose children are healthy, happy and “well cared for.”

“[There] is nothing to indicate that the kids are at risk,” she wrote.

A message requesting the deputy DA’s comment on this story went unanswered at time of publication.

Her conclusion, which falls at the end of documents published below, is almost odd following the numerous pages of text entered by police, who seemingly describe an alternate reality.

Among their claims — that Barry and Candi regularly give illicit drugs to their children, that they allow and encourage other kids to use drugs in their home, that they’ve mentally abused their children by telling them that marijuana is good and anti-drug efforts are riddled with lies — the most extreme is that the Coopers are “unsuitable” parents because they create an environment in which the children learn their “government is out to harm them.”

The allegation is found atop page five of the CPS report.

In another completely dumbfounding, ironic entry, Sgt. Gary Haston of the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department — the officer whose testimony appears on the original search warrant affidavit — actually claims he observed the children “crying for no reason” as armed officers invaded their home. [Emphasis added.]

He also claims that Barry “hates” his father and does not believe in church, as though this information would somehow be relevant to the CPS agents.

Haston, who Cooper described as Williamson County’s “head of narcotics,” has an extensive history with drug interdiction as a police officer. He was even the 2008-2009 vice president for the Texas Narcotic Officers Association Central Region, according to a memo circulated by the association. It was his testimony that gave officers access to the Coopers’ residence and files for the alleged misdemeanor offense of filing a false police report.

A request for comment left with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department went unanswered at time of publication.

“In my 19 years of experience with criminal defense matters, a search warrant for a misdemeanor charge is certainly unusual,” wrote Minnesota attorney Maury D. Beaulier, who had no prior knowledge of the Coopers’ case. “It indicates to me that this is a targeted investigation. It may be targeted because it is believed to be a part of a greater crime or conspiracy, or, perhaps, because there are political motivations at work.”

While searching through the Coopers’ private data, police discovered a photograph of a minor in the shower, nude from the bust up. The image was a risque self-portrait shot by one of the adolescent children, who later took sole responsibility for the photo. Both parents claimed they knew nothing about it before the issue was raised to them by authorities. Ultimately, the photo held no bearing on their case and the minor was warned to be cautious with digital imaging equipment. Because of the individual’s age, all identifying information has been removed from the documents published below.

In a court hearing Tuesday, the Coopers were unsuccessful in re-obtaining custody of Zachary, Candi’s seven-year-old who is currently under the care of his father in Upshur County, Texas. The court did not issue a ruling, as matters of geographic limitations have yet to be addressed. Barry and Candi are seeking to have the custody battle in Travis County, but it’s still a matter of dispute. Lawyers for the Coopers and Zachary Johnston’s father brokered limited visitation rights for Candi, but Barry is required to stay away from the boy for the time being.

Because of the nature of Texas’ drug laws and their status as nationally-known political activists, the Coopers are facing the very real possibility of losing Zach entirely, with future contact only allowed in the context of supervised visitation.

“I just don’t know what I’ll do if we lose Zach,” Barry said. “That would be the most horrible thing to ever happen to me in my entire life.”

The 19-page CPS report follows.

CLICK HERE to read the CPS Report.

– Article from True/Slant. on March 30, 2010.

Read more excellent coverage of Barry, Candi, and the KopBusters family by Stephen C. Webster at True/Slant.



  1. Anonymous on

    “Come on vacation, leave on probation” That’s all that needs to be said about Williamson County.

  2. gstlab3 on


    DISCENT IS TREASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!





  3. cheeba on

    “every cloud has a silver lining”

    As fucked up as this situation is, if Barry plays his cards right, this could easily turn into a national story and get him more exposure than he could have ever gotten otherwise.

    It never fails to amaze me how these stupid ass cops, while trying to crush someone, end up turning them into martyrs who become more well-known than ever before, e.g. Marc Emery, Tommy Chong, etc.

  4. Daniel Johnson on

    “If you teach your kids that the “government is out to harm them,” police in Williamson County might just deem you an “unsuitable” parent.”

    Because they’re right and police in Williamson county need to prove it’s true.

  5. foam on

    these assholes. Distrust of govt is healthy- so says Thomas Jefferson

  6. Samson on

    Why would a mexican go to Oklahoma; that place sucks. And further more…the gov’t does NOT have the constitutional right to tell people how to raise their kids. At least, not to my way of thinkin’….

  7. Anonymous on

    Seems like CPS saved barry.

  8. Dan-o on

    It’s odd that the police there think mistrust of the government is a bad thing…I mean let’s face it, the reason the founders of this country CAME here in the first place is MISTRUST of their government. In fact Jefferson himself in his writing WARNS us to mistrust our government. This kind of story makes me sick. Our government agencies are becoming so oppressive that they feel it is their right to undermine and destroy our families in order to oppress our views or supress someone who catches them in dishonest acts.Barry is a political target and this can not stand in a “free” society.

  9. Anonymous on

    Wilco cops make this county suck. Its too bad they cant learn a lesson from Travis county cops and stop being pricks so not everyone would hate them.

  10. old fart on

    are the only way to tame these corrupt police film them everywhere fim them on the crapper if you can its time these crimnals were brought to justice.thats right fellas if you obey the law you got nothin to worry about

  11. Covey69 on

    What the hell is this world coming to.
    Another obvious attempt to shut up or down anything that helps protect the everyday average individual.
    These people do not deserve this and they are the first to show us, we don’t have to be a part of the Government to show the corruption that exist in our society and with the Guards.
    Who is Guarding the Guards, who s watching the watchers?
    We all need to promote the same mindset that Barry and Candi try to present us, we can be the watchers of the Watchers.
    Cameras are getting smaller everyday making it harder for corrupt Officers to get away with such travesties.
    It’s time we all carry cameras just for our fellow people who need their side of the TRUTH shared when our society always takes the Officers side first even when they are broken individuals on power trips who are dangerous to everyone and need to be removed.
    If you step out and try and show people the foolishness of our societies ways, people of power come and squash us like a bug.
    And we all just walk away and allow ANOTHER CRUCIFIXION of needed Change!
    They destroy our noble leaders and chosen disciples of change.
    Jesus died becasue no one was willing to stand beside these people out of fear for themselves ALWAYS FORGETTING power comes from numbers not from someone left standing ALONE!

  12. Anonymous on

    God Bless you Barry Cooper, No doubt what is happening to you is part of a vendetta, an intimidation campaign to stop what ever you were doing to expose rampant corruption, prisonplanet.com
    CPS as well as the IRS are a facade to go after political targets.
    they need no evidence and now the IRS is going to enforce the new health care bill, if you have no health insurance you are a criminal and will be fined up to 750.00, it is a known fact that under child protective services children get drugged heavily then plied into submission with physical beatings before being raped and turned into child prostitutes for the government.what protection.

  13. Anonymous on

    What is a TEXAN?

    A Mexican that ran out of gas on his way to Oaklahoma!