Galveston Sgt. Archie Chapman Indicted

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Earlier, I had posted on the arrest of Phillip Turner for standing up for his rights while he was photographing the Galveston Police Department building.

Phillip was arrested for Failure to Identify, when under Texas law he was not required to identify until he was already under arrest. A subject who is being detained, with or without reasonable  suspicion is under no obligation or duty to identify himself to police.

Sgt Archie Chapman

This week, Galveston PD Sergeant Archie Chapman was indicted by the Galveston County Grand Jury for Criminal Trespass. The past year has at least been interesting for Chapman, he was recently found not to have used excessive force against a fleeing suspect after he drove his squad car across a front yard and into the suspect. A federal jury apparently did not believe that this was excessive force.

Anyway, back to the indictment.

According to Chapman’s attorney, Greg Cagle, Chapman’s only motivation was the safety of his fellow officers.

I’m sorry, but that is so much bullshit. Chapman had no legal authority to enter Turner’s car. He committed a crime when he did so.

And both the Galveston County District Attorney and the Grand Jury agreed.

If convicted, Chapman’s peace officer license will likely be revoked. He is currently limited to administrative duties.

H/T: John Smith

PS: As you can probably tell, I’m not doing much blogging. This lawyer stuff takes up a lot of my time, and to be honest, earning a living takes priority. I apologize for not posting more often.

 

Does Any Police Department in Texas Actually Teach Their Officers the Law? Apparently Not–Galveston PD Edition

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We’ve covered this over and over again, to the point of exhaustion. See here, or at any of these (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 19).

Now we get to look at Galveston PD and their understanding, or more accurately, their lack of understanding of the Texas Failure to Identify Law.

First, the sergeant in this case, Sgt. A.J. Chapman, arrested the Battousai for failure to identify after stopping him for taking pictures of car license plates. Phillip even told him that under 38.02 he wasn’t required to ID while under detention, and wanted to know what crime he was suspected of committing. So since Phillip refused to identify himself without being told what he was being arrested for, a Galveston County sergeant took Phillip’s car keys, went out and found the car, and then searched it without a warrant.

Uh, do they realize that they can’t just go out and search a legally parked car?

The Battousai calls it burglary, but I would hesitate to characterize it that way, as I don’t think that you can prove that the officers intended to permanently deprive him of any property.

In the final video, I’ll make another observation. The officer that contacted David said that they had searched Phillip’s video camera. Based on how they have performed thus far, I would be willing to give odds that they didn’t get a warrant to go through the video that they seized from Phillip.

But wait! There’s more! Phillip and his buddy went to the local news station.

And the news station gets it right! The station legal analyst noted that Phillip was right, that he didn’t have to identify. Out of fairness, they did talk to the police department, who said that the legality of the arrest will be determined by a police internal investigation.

ROTFLMAO

No, jackass, the “legality” of the arrest will be determined in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Friends, Galveston has done stepped in it.

Police report below, of the “Saw drunk, arrested same” type.

Police Report

Lancaster, Texas Chief on Administrative Leave over an Internal Affairs Investigation of a Lieutenant

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On August 17, 2015, Alexander Tucker was walking down the street in Lancaster, Texas. He was on a sidewalk next to a main thoroughfare, and other than being black while wearing a hoodie, did nothing to arouse suspicion. In any event, Lancaster Police Lieutenant Michael Fine decided to stop him. The dash cam pretty much shows what happened next.

(Updated to replace dead link)

Here you see Fine confront Tucker and you see Tucker immediately ask why he is being detained–and you see that Fine ignores the question. I’ll agree that Tucker was non-compliant, and had this been a legitimate detention, the use of force would have been appropriate. No question about that.

The problem is that the detention was not appropriate, as it did not appear to be supported by a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot. Merely walking down the street while black is decidedly not reasonable suspicion. Especially not in a city where the population is 53% black. So Tucker protests and Fine ignores it, completing an illegal search (at 2:54, on a Terry stop, you don’t get to reach in pockets and remove the contents), and eventually arrests Tucker for Resisting Arrest, Search, or Transportation, Tex. Pen. Code § 38.03. Of course, under that statute, it doesn’t matter if the search was illegal. The problem is that Tucker did not appear to be using force to resist the search.

“[R]efusing to cooperate with being arrested does not constitute resisting arrest by force.” Sheehan v. State, 201 S.W.3d 820, 824 (Tex. App. 2006).

This creates a strange problem. You see, the officer is allowed to use force to obtain compliance, so the taser is justified, but refusing to cooperate does not meet the elements of resisting a search.

So Tucker complains, the Chief places Fine on admin leave, and the department’s use of force instructor, a Texas Ranger, and a Dallas County prosecutor look at the video and state that Fine did not use inappropriate force. Here is where the train is leaving the tracks. What they said was correct–but not really material to the bigger picture, which is what was the reasonable suspicion for the stop? You see, without reasonable suspicion for a stop, Fine was violating Tucker’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure.

In any event, Chief Cheryl Wilson then returned Fine to duty, but did not tell the City Manager about it for another five days, even though she had been instructed to keep the City Manager informed on the status of the investigation. The City Manager is concerned that a black man could be stopped for no reason and no remedial training or discipline be imposed. She wasn’t happy with Wilson’s performance at all.

Oops.

So now Wilson’s job is on the line.

This is what needs to happen folks. If the chiefs will not take action, they need to be held accountable. It’s the only way things will change.

San Antonio Police prove that they do not understand Failure to ID law

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The Battousai has done it yet again.

This started with a simple photography exercise at a federal facility, the NSA in San Antonio.

Here, there is a problem with his filming, which is actually the first time I’ve really seen him make a mistake. Under state law, there is no prohibition on filming, but under federal law, there is. Under 18 U.S.C. § 795, photography of a defense facility may be prohibited, under pain of arrest, fine, and imprisonment for up to a year. Plus, the Battousai filmed the federal warning sign that stated it was a federal violation.

But all was well, the San Antonio PD (SAPD) officer was ignorant, as he tried to tell the Battousai that he had to carry ID with him in Texas, which, as we have pointed out multiple places on this blog, is simply not true.

Then the Battousai starts to leave and the dance begins.

Here, the officers follow him around. They are waiting for him to get in a car so they can stop him, but that isn’t working. So the Battousai walks across the street and the officers make their second mistake, they stop him for not crossing at a crosswalk.

The Battousai knew the state law, that even if a crosswalk wasn’t marked, it still existed at an intersection. The problem is that where he crossed is not an intersection. Where private parking lot or drives meet a public roadway is not an intersection. So he wasn’t at an intersection. All was not lost, because the officers had not gotten any smarter.

The violation is not crossing where there is not an intersection. The violation is “Pedestrian Failing to Yield the Right of Way to Vehicle, While Not in Crosswalk.” See Bolds v. State, 14-07-00952-CR, 2008 WL 5341341, at *2 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 23, 2008, no pet.) (“A pedestrian shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle on the highway if crossing a roadway at a place … other than in a marked crosswalk or in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” ). Now, from what I saw, no cars were interfered with, none had to brake, swerve, stop, etc., in other words, there was not a violation. There other ways to make it a violation, but they don’t apply here.

I imagine that when the Assistant District Attorney was looking at this, he was trying to figure out a way to make it stick, but couldn’t. So the Battousai got released.

Now the Battousai is looking to crowd fund a civil rights lawsuit. While he is certainly free to do so, I’m not sure that these are the right facts to move on. But if you want to, here is his GoFundMe link.

A Lesson on Failure to ID Law in Texas

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I just found this, he explains it very well for a layman.

One issue, where he talks about video recording police and cites § 21.15, Tex. Pen. Code, that’s not really valid. That section deals with improper photography for sexual gratification, in other words for those pervs who plant cameras in restrooms, etc. Second, that section was struck down as unconstitutional, see Ex parte Thompson, 442 S.W.3d 325 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014); but see Prosecution of the Offense of Invasive Visual Recording, 2015 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. Ch. 955 (S.B. 1317) (Vernon’s) (new version of the law, narrowed, but unlikely to survive strict scrutiny).

Instead, base your filming of the police on the First Amendment and general case law.

In any event, this is a good explanation of the Fail to ID law in Texas.

The LPPA, Professional Police or merely Bullies trying to Silence Elected Officials

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In this video, you see Lubbock Police officers apparently abusing a Hispanic male who is sitting beside a wrecked Lubbock squad car. You see the first office come up and without provocation, kick Jose Carlos Escarcega-Ysaias in the face, and then the beating begins. Other than to say that it is wrong, I’m not going to comment on that, nor on Escarcega’s unprovoked violent assault on Lubbock Police Corporal Ryan Durrett. Nor will we be discussing it in the comments. On that, we are going to wait and see what the Internal Affairs investigation reveals.

No, what we are going to focus on it the attempt of the Lubbock Professional Police Association (LPPA) to silence a sitting city councilman from calling for an investigation into possible criminal violations by city employees.

Council member Victor Hernandez, after viewing the video at the request of the City Manager, James Loomis, publicly called for an investigation of the actions depicted in the video, as he should have. He is an elected representative of the people and that’s what they hired him to do.

LPPA President Jeremy Jones doesn’t agree, and falsely accused Hernandez of committing a felony in releasing a statement on the matter. Jones feels that Hernandez may have violated “Article [sic] 39.06” of the Texas Penal Code, Misuse of Official Information, which is a third degree felony. Jones is full of crap, what Hernandez did comes no where near meeting the elements of the offense for Section 39.06. To be charged with that crime, Hernandez would have to have intended that harm come to any person (presumably an officer who participated in the apparent beating), have disclosed information not available to the public, for a non-governmental purpose, and the information had to be exempt from disclosure under the open records act.

Did you notice that last part? The information had to be exempt from disclosure? It is not enough that the information had not yet been disclosed, it must be information that the government cannot disclose. The video isn’t it, because the local TV station obtained the video the next day, under the open records act.

Oops.

This was a straight attempt to intimidate an elected official who was concerned about police beating a suspect without justification. Period.

Perhaps Jones should have looked at the Obstruction or Retaliation statute, § 36.06, Tex. Pen. Code. It seems like threatening a public servant with a bunch of false charges, on account of their duties to represent the people, is a felony. Jones should be aware of that, police use it all the time.

Maybe someone should talk to Jones about his actions.

Sovereign Citizens Being Owned, for Your Viewing Pleasure (UPDATED)

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You gotta just love how dedicated to completely idiotic ideas these guys are.

I’ll be happy to address any questions on the applicable laws that anyone has, but suffice it to say that all of these nutcases were wrong.

UPDATE:

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