On April 29, 2015, Brazoria County, Texas Deputy Constable Carlos Bustos* approaches an individual who is apparently open carrying a rifle over his back. The individual asked if he was being detained and was told that he was not, but when he attempted to leave was stopped by the deputy. He attempts to leave again and the deputy wants to know if the rifle is unloaded.
Uh, deputy? There is no law that states that the rifle has to be unloaded. And if challenged on it, you can’t turn it around and require that the citizen prove that there is a law which allows him to carry a loaded rifle. You see, in this country, to create a crime, the legislature must explicitly state what the violation is, to notify the public what the law is.
Pearland Police Officer Brown† took the same approach that the weapon had to be unloaded, and upped the ante by informing the citizen that he had to identify himself or he would be arrested for Failure to Identify (at 3:00). Again, this is not correct. A person is under no obligation under Texas law to identify themselves unless they have been arrested. This is clear, well established law.
Then, at about 14:00 in the video, Deputy Bustos claims that the citizen doesn’t have any respect for the law, because he won’t answer the officers questions or comply with their unlawful demands. He really doesn’t understand that to detain citizens, he has to have reasonable suspicion of a real crime, not something that he made up. And at 18:45, Deputy Bustos suggests that the citizen take it up with his legislators, because they “wrote those laws.” Except that the citizen is correct and there is no such law in Texas. Finally, at the very end of the video, Deputy Bustos apologized for his mistake.
*Deputy Bustos appears to be from Precinct 2. Contact information is available at the link.
†The Pearland Police Department contact information is here.