Billy Cowart, UAW Worker, CCW carrier: Not Guilty, Back Pay, Back to Work

Billy Cowart, UAW Worker, CCW carrier: Not Guilty, Back Pay, Back to Work
Billy Cowart, UAW Worker, CCW carrier: Not Guilty, Back Pay, Back to Work

U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- On 3 June, 2016 Billy Cowart, a concealed carry permit holder and UAW worker at Ford's assembly plant, was attacked and sucker punched in the parking lot of Union Hall 551, by Jeff Bacon, as shown in surveillance video. Cowart was staggered several steps back. As Bacon advanced, Cowart drew his self defense firearm, and fired, wounding Bacon and another UAW leader, Aaron Straker. Both Bacon and Straker had recently been elected to leadership positions at the Chicago Ford Assembly plant.

Cowart left the scene. He had just defended himself against a UAW leader, and had wounded two UAW officials. He was in the parking lot of a Union Hall. Leaving likely seemed the wisest course.  The news coverage portrayed the situation as one where people were arguing, then a crazed gunman shot two of them. That is not what the video shows. From chicagotribune.com:

About 9:52 p.m. Friday, three men were in a parking lot by the union hall, located at 13550 S. Torrence Ave., when they began to argue with each other, police said over the weekend. During the argument, one of the men, who police have identified as Cowart, pulled out a gun and shot at the other two, ages 40 and 44. Both were shot in the leg. Cowart then fled the scene, police said.

 An industry publication only wrote that he had been arrested and was awaiting trial. From autonews.com:

In June, two UAW local officials who represent workers at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant were wounded outside the Local 551 union hall. William Cowart, 50, was arrested and charged with eight counts of attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

In the video, you can see the union official going straight to Cowart, then sucker punching him. Cowart is staggered. He shoots toward the ground as the Union leader comes toward him again. The union leader has been reported as being intoxicated.

Here is the video of the shooting:

Billy Cowart pleaded with both Ford Company officials and with Union representatives that he had acted in self defense. The Union sided with the Union leaders. Ford fired Cowart.

It took two years for Cowart to get a trial. The first judge was removed from the case, pending a prosecution of the judge. The judge was found not guilty, but Cowart's case was delayed. Finally another judge viewed the surveillance video. He dismissed all charges. But Cowart had used his savings to survive and pay for his defense. His union wanted nothing to do with him. He had been at the Ford plant for nearly two decades. He sued to get his job, back pay, and seniority back. Three years after the attack, an arbitrator gave him his job, seniority, and 12 months back pay.  From cbslocal.com:

The second judge reviewed the surveillance video from the night of the shooting and said the victim, who was intoxicated and seen sucker punching Cowart in the face, was clearly the aggressor.

The judge ruled that Cowart was legally defending himself.

“Now, here we are today, 12 counts all dismissed,” said Cowart’s attorney, Irena Stephanovski.

Cowart had been exonerated but was still out of a job.

“Ford didn’t want to have anything to do with me,” he said.

So, he filed a grievance in January and finally won this week. An arbitrator ruled that Ford fired him without just cause and he should be reinstated with no loss of seniority and a year of back pay.

What will Cowart face on the job, now that he has wounded two Union officials, been fired, out of work for three years, and has forced the company not only to take him back, but reinstate seniority and pay him a years lost wages?

Perhaps he is nearing retirement. Cowart says he wants to be a role model to his 19-year-old son. He does not want his son to believe he did anything wrong.

Many people have been killed as the result of one punch. We have not been told why the union official sucker punched Cowart.

Punching someone can be a deadly attack.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 48 thoughts on “Billy Cowart, UAW Worker, CCW carrier: Not Guilty, Back Pay, Back to Work

    1. WOW, I have now heard the craziest thing ever! Leadership is not easy and if you can’t take the Damm bullshit from the rank and file get the hell out of the office. Freaking UAW anyway just heard they are screwing up most of north America. In bed with G.M. and trying to represent health care worker’s . To those of you who are so anti Union you need to wake the [email protected]$!k up and smell the sewer gas thats rotting your brains out. If we stood strong and together we wouldn’t be drinking lead based water and and working like our great grandparents had to. Get your head out of your own butt holes.
      Signed retired Chef plant steward for 8 years and oh yeah retired Union President for almost 10 more years. P. S. We had 96% percent full paying dues membership in a duck right to work for less State in the freaking middle of the darn Midwest. And I am so very proud to say that the guys that came in and replacement of of me are 100% at our original manufacturing location.

    2. This happened in Chicago, at a union hall and there is maybe no worse place in the country. We know Chicago legal system is upside down and backwards, look at the gay actor that staged his assault. They are still trying to figure out what to do with the crooked outcome of that. Democrats running anything is a pure clown show.

    3. This proves that UNION OFFICIALS are A-holes and crooks. If the leaders are bad then the organization has a hell of a time being clean and straight.

    4. Remember – With a dismissal, which Cowart got, the question of the defendant’s guilt never gets tried. As such, a case that is dismissed can sometimes be re-filed in the future. On the other hand, an acquittal cannot be re-filed in the future. He needs to get a court order that declares the dismissal was due to no guilt!

      1. That’s not necessarily true. It depends on how the case was dismissed. If the case was dismissed “with prejudice” then it can never be tried again. It’s over forever. If the case was dismissed “without prejudice”, then it can be tried again. If a judge dismisses with prejudice, that’s basically saying that there wasn’t enough evedince to even bring it to trial. It’s even better than a “not guilty” verdict, because in order to get a not guilty verdict, there has to be enough evidence to bring the case to trial. The dismissal with prejudice is essentially saying the defendant was clearly innocent.

    5. One of my biggest gripes about being a union member , a portion of my dues went directly to the DNC no choice . I could request return there of but all of the forms and hassle made it not worth the effort , and I would have to do that every year .

      1. That is not all true. Prior to the Citizens United SCOTUS case, unions could not use dues money for political purposes. Any and ALL money used for political purposes had to come through a PAC that was voluntarily contributed to. This is an indisputable fact. Now, after that aforementioned court case, unions as well as corporations can use money for polical purposes.

    6. In this scenario, it is likely that either Ford or the union will retaliate against him. That is when the big bucks are available.

      They do not say whether the arbitration was mandatory or not.

      1. I was a part of that union there at the time of the incident…trust and believe he did the right thing…they were gang related and they carried themselves as such…if he had not defended himself he would have gotten a beat down …im glad he did…very questionable group of officials in chicago assenbly

    7. If Ford would not allow Cowart back to work, why did the Arbitrator only grant 1 year of back-pay? Information missing or is the Arbitrator biased and in favor of the rich company and management?

        1. Article says it happened in the parking lot of a Union Hall. Not the Ford Plant. Is the Union Hall and parking lot Ford Property? Fuck Ford and their union thuggery anyway.

          1. no problems with unions except they back the demorats .this poor man has been put through the ringer because two drunk asses attacked him .what happened to him was wrong ,the settlement was wrong and now he has to return back to a hostile work environment the only brite side to this story is he did not go to prison ,did not loose his home ,was not killed and people will think twice before fucking with him .

            1. I agree with you that he is lucky to have kept his life in order somewhat but he should sue both the UAW and Ford. Those two Union officials are the kind we need to get rid of. I am a union supporter but I see there are so many problems with the Union right now it is hard to gain support from the public. It would help if the company and the union would hold officials accountable for their actions but they just want to cover everything up. And as far as the Union’s voting for Democrats, that’s because most Republicans are anti-union, and why wouldn’t they be, the union is pretty much given up everything our forefathers fought and died for!

          1. Doesn’t really matter what the UAW rules are regarding firearms on their property, all they can do if you are carrying is to ask you to leave or to put the weapon in your vehicle. If they discharge you, that is a violation of your second amendment right. Of course, in a leftist shitcago courtroom, you’re likely to lose that battle.

        1. Notice nothing was said about whether the union prick was charged and convicted of assault. And I’m curious how Cowart could be charged with 8 counts of attempted murder, when he clearly only shot at two people! It also isn’t clear how many times he shot, did he shoot once and hit both guys or did he shoot twice? And shooting them in the leg is clearly not attempted murder, maybe assault with a deadly weapon. Still no reason for EIGHT counts of attempted murder. I’m curious about who will pay all of his attorney fees since the charges were dismissed and he was minimally compensated.

    8. A little bit of background: Someone told the elected union official that Billy was across the parking lot talking shit about him. He was drunk and ran over to Billy, yelled something, and hit him. His buddy, also a union official, was right behind him. Billy was now faced by two attackers. He drew and fired ONE shot. He hit the guy who punched him, in the leg, the round continued through and also struck the second man in tbe leg. He intentionally aimed low, in self defence, even though in most cases when faced by two or more attackers lethal force is justified. It is worth noting that BIlly was the only one of the 3 who faced disciplinary action, even after the video was made public.

      1. I’m curious how Cowart could be charged with 8 counts of attempted murder, when he clearly only shot at two people! And shooting them in the leg is clearly not attempted murder, maybe assault with a deadly weapon. Still no reason for EIGHT counts of attempted murder.

    9. Bacon and Straker needs to go court for attacking the Cowart, and for the games they were playing.

      They represent leaders of UAW . They set up a POOR EXAMPLE OF UAW LEADERSHIP for Ford. And should be ashamed of themselves ……FOR LIEING …..SO WHAT IF YOU MADE A MISTAKE, YOU REPENT TO GOD AND APOLOGIZE TO COWART TELL THE TRUTH TO PUBLIC.

      LIVE A LIFE OF TRUTH AND FORGIVENESS AND YOU WILL ALWAYS BE BLESSED. YOU ARE CURSED WITH A CURSE! AND satan is liar. YOU ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD NOT THE devil!!!

      In the video, you can see the union official going straight to Cowart, then sucker punching him. Cowart is staggered. He shoots toward the ground as the Union leader comes toward him again. The union leader has been reported as being intoxicated.

      UAW SHOULD HAVE KICKED THEM OUT OF LEADERSHIP FOR THEIR BEHAVIOR. UAW YOU TOOK THEIR SIDE AND YOU SAW VIDEO ….SHAME ON YOU….YOU JUST CURSED UAW AT FORD AND UAW IN ALL OF FORD AND ALL UAW around the World.

      FOR LACK OF MORALS AND CONVICTION OF HONESTY!!!! YOU TELL YOU ME YOU CAN BUILT A EXCELLENT PRODUCT? AND BECOME NUMBER AUTO MAKER IN U.S.A.?

      YOU SUCCUMBED TO BE A LIAR AND FULL OF DECEIT!!! BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS AND YOU HAVE ALL THAT NOW AND FORGOT WHAT THE LEADERS FOUGHT FOR. THE WORKERS WORKED UNDER HATRED FROM THE COMPANY.
      I PRAY FOR YOU ALL ROMANS 10:9-10.
      GET BORN AGAIN AND LET THE LORD BLESS YOU!!!!!

      1. ALL THOSE INVOLVED NEED TO BE BORN AGAIN AND MAKE JESUS THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR!
        AND ALL OF US GIVING OUR OPINIONS NEED TO MAKE SURE WHEN GOD LIFTS UP THE COVER WE ARE NOT JUDGING ONE ANOTHER. JUDGEMENT IS SIN!!
        AND SIN STEALS HEALTH, FINANCES AND GOOD THINGS COMING OUR WAY (BLESSINGS)
        FORGIVE!
        AND THOSE INVOLVED , THEY APOLOGIZE FOR THEIR ACTIONS!
        WHAT GOOD COMES OUT OF STRIFE AND GRUDGES? NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        EARTH HAS NO SORROWS THAT HEAVEN CAN’T HEAL!!!
        THE WORLD NEEDS LOVE AND FORGIVENESS.
        WITHOUT LOVE AND FORGIVENESS ,satan gains due to Our Lack of knowledge!!
        We will BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR ACTIONS !!!
        WHAT YOU SOW IS WHAT YOU REAP!
        YOU WILL HAVE TO GIVE ACCOUNTABILITY OF YOUR ACTIONS TO THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE!!!!

        THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE

    10. UAW officials physically attacked a member? At this point it doesn’t surprise me. Only worse private organizations in America are the DNC and AFT.

      1. Zackley, the unions back the assholes and ignore the good workers, that is a FACT. Been a member of both the AFL-CIO and the UAW… BOTH covered the assholes that in ALL other workers opinions SHOULD have been shit canned, I saw it happen quite a few times. After the plant shut down i swore to NEVER be in a union again, DONE. I have worked in a non union business now for 29 years, and have had ZERO problem, have health insurance and make good money. AND i am not screwed out of dues to protect the ASSHOLES !
        Yeah the union backed the union thugs… Imagine that ! What started out as a good organization to back ALL WORKERS is nothing but a corruption and lies mob now, nothing but a money vacuum, almost as bad as the Dems.

    11. When did we get to the point that two retards,
      namely D.MARTIN and Todd Anderson,
      would make the absolutely asinine and
      moronic statements that they did?

      First of all, the lesson Mr. Cowart was trying to teach his son was standing up for what is right no matter who is telling you to just stay down. Todd in his grand display of stupidity forgot a few things.
      1. Cowart was approached from and attacked from behind.
      2. He was already dazed from the first blow, and turning saw more than one individual approaching him.
      3. when the closest one continued to advance it was logical to expect another attack with more than likely one attacker.

      Of course, I doubt Todd would be willing to prove his statements being that he is less of a man than Mr. Cowart. I can practically guarantee that if he gave me one opening sucker hit going in he would be completely defenseless for long enough that any subsequent attacks would leave him maimed or disabled, but more than likely also enough time to end his life barehanded(Simulated of course). The rules would be that he would have to take a bare handed sucker hit without doing anything to defend against it, and then remain or be able to defend himself physically within 5 to 10 seconds after the first strike.

      For those curious about why this would be such a sure bet, I’ll give you a hint. “Harvey”. For more details feel free to ask.

      To Mr. Cowart, congratulations on righting a wrong and standing up for yourself. You did good as a role model for your son in a town that is sorely lacking in them.

    12. I knew someone who was involved in a disagreement over a trivial matter. He got sucker punched on the side of his head. Or that’s what he thought had happened. It wasn’t until another person said he was bleeding that he realized that he had a cut from the top of his ear to under his jawline on that side of his head. It was 3/4″ deep at the deepest point.
      The point being you may not know just how bad you have been injured from a “punch.” In the instance above the wound was caused by a single edged razor blade which was in between the attacker’s fingers of his clenched fist. Any physical assault is a deadly assault until proven otherwise.

    13. When did we get to the point of needing to pull a gun when you’re punched? Be a man and fight with your fists……like the other guy did.

      1. Seriously? Let yourself be beaten to death to prove your ‘manhood?’ The ‘other guy’ was no man, he was a coward who attacked without warning or provocation.

      2. Yeah, “Be a man and fight with your fists” is not really good advice for a person who’s been dazed or knocked down with a sucker punch and sees multiple attackers coming for him or is being pummeled MMA style by a young thug slamming his head into the sidewalk. Also terrible advice for anyone with arthritic hands, very limited mobility and a heart condition. In the words of a popular meme, I carry because I’m too old to run or fight and too young to die.

      3. @TA, “When … ” you ask. Long before the gun was invented. Here is a better question, What manner of idiot would give up their self defense civil right, just to live up to your flawed notions of manliness?

        1. Wild Bill, I doubt that AmmoLand would allow an accurate answer to your question regarding “what manner of idiot?” I don’t think we’re permitted to use that kind of language… are we?

      4. I’m too old to take a punch from anyone. Never bring a fist to a gunfight — you’ll just get a posthumous Darwin Award and my lawyer will clean up the mess.

      5. one on one might be reasonable. But when the attackers come on in a coordinated superioroty of force due to numbers, all bets are off. Willie did the right thing. At fifty something, he had ten years on his attackers, and likely was not as agile or strong as the union thugs were.

        He was completely justified in his use of lethal force.
        I’ll bet he could practice on cardboard cutouts for months and still not be able to repeat his “two fer” shot.. one round hitting both assailants. At that point in time, I am certain he needed that advantage. Both got a wakeup call, but it seems it has gone unheeded, given their continued lies about what happened. Glad there was video, else Willie would still be behind bars.

        too bad Willie was so disoriented from his head-strike. Had he aimed better, at least one of those thugs would no longer be able to threaten or indimidate anyone. I suspect where he’d be he’d be surrounded by punks stronger, faster, nastier than he ever tghought anyone could be. Thus sucker punching would only serve to arouse the ire of his new “friends” and make his eternity even more of a hell than it will be.

      6. When you are not from chicago
        When you are attacked by a man that 280lbs
        When that man have his boy following him
        When you are hit so hard…thats the only thing you can do
        When you feel like you safety is in danger
        When you are blind sided by an attack
        FYI…Billy was known for being able to handle a weapon…if he wanted to he could have injured the both of them severely

    14. Off for 3 years and only gets 1 year back pay? He needs to sue the “victim” for the remaining 2 years plus all costs of fighting the charges and the cost of getting the job and back pay. Plus punitive just for being an azz.

    15. Off for 3 years and only gets 1 year back pay? He needs to sue the “victim” for the remaining 2 years plus all costs of fighting the charges and the cost of getting the job and back pay. Plus punitive just for being an ass.

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