“I don’t know that you are doing something to plot something against the police department…” Officer Bagley, #179.
That pretty much says it all. The officer does not know if the photographer is doing something. Uh, officer? That means you do not have reasonable suspicion, much less probable cause.*
Then the officer demands identification and Brett Sanders refuses, fully aware that § 38.02 of the Penal Code only requires that he identify himself if he is under arrest. There is not an offense if he is merely detained. And then the officer takes Sanders to the ground. Without more info, I’m hesitant to say more, but it would appear that the officer was completely out of line. I do know that the officer safety comments about the cell phone are bull.
As a side note, it has been my experience in over 20 years of law enforcement that officers who shave their heads tend to be overly aggressive prima donnas. While I could be wrong, take a look at the video. Just saying.
*However, Sanders is wearing a perfectly legal cap and ball revolver which is a replica of a pre-1899 weapon. The problem is that this can give the officer reasonable suspicion that Sanders is committing the offense of Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon. Sanders is not, but until the officer can verify that the revolver is a pre-1899 replica, it could have very well been a cartridge revolver which would be a crime. The issue is that gives the officer an out, even if he did not articulate it at the time. The law will bend over backwards for idiots, so long as they’re police officers, and will give him credit for actual reasonable suspicion even if the
idiot officer didn’t know it at the time.
However, this does not allow the officer to identify Sanders, and does not allow him to search Sanders for identification.
For more information, see the PINAC article.