This is a contact between officers of the Abilene Police Department and an individual who identifies himself as Bobby Ivester (at about 0:25). Ivester is openly carrying a rifle, allows the officers to inspect the weapon, but declines to produce identification when the officer requests it at about 1:30 in the video. The second officer explains to Ivester that he is being detained.
The reason for the detention? “Because we got a call on you” (at 2:40). Unfortunately, both Ivester and the officers do not understand Texas law.
Ivester is arguing that he is not being lawfully detained. I disagree. I believe that he is being lawfully detained (initially, at least). The 911 call about a man with a gun, combined with the officers finding Ivester with an openly carried rifle, provides a reasonable suspicion that Ivester may be committing the offense of disorderly conduct. See Tex. Pen. Code § 42.01(a)(8), displays a firearm in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm. Please note that I did not state that Ivester was committing that violation, clearly he was not, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the officers had reasonable suspicion to make the contact and detain Ivester.
Both Ivester and the officers are under the impression that if the police detain someone, that individual has to identify themselves to the officer. That is simply incorrect. Tex. Pen. Code § 38.02 is very clear, an offense is only committed if the detained person lies about who he is (or his date of birth or residence). Refusing to provide identifying information is not an offense.
At about 5:20 in the video, the second officer grabs the camera and handcuffs Ivester. At 6:55 in the video, an officer says that they don’t know what Ivester’s intent with the gun is. That’s true. It also doesn’t matter. The officers are not allowed to presume that Ivester is a felon or otherwise unable to carry a rifle. United States v. Black, 707 F.3d 531, 540 (4th Cir. 2013) (Being a felon in possession of a firearm is not the default status). The officers try this argument anyway, assuming that it is their “duty” to determine if Ivester has the right to carry the rifle. Uh, guys–his right to carry is called the Second Amendment.
At this point, Ivester is being unlawfully detained. The officers have already determined that Ivester was not committing the offense of disorderly conduct and are now just fishing for his identification to try and charge him with something else. They have improperly extended the contact, see Kothe v. State, 152 S.W.3d 54, 64 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004) (“once the original purpose for the stop is exhausted, police may not unnecessarily detain [individuals] solely in hopes of finding evidence of some other crime”).
If you disagreed with what the officer’s did, you can contact them at:
- Chief Stan Standridge, email@example.com, 325-676-6600
- Assistant Chief Mike Perry, firstname.lastname@example.org, 325-676-6600 (over Uniformed Services)
- Officer George Spindler, email@example.com, 325-437-4529 (Public Information Officer)
- Facebook; webpage
H/T: Jim Morriss