Pampa, the Panhandle, and more Failure to ID Idiocy

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Here we go again.  Another Texas peace officer with no clue about what Failure to Identify, Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 38.02, actually says.

Andrew was taking photographs of the county courthouse and sees five police and sheriff squad cars on a stop, so he starts to film the scene from across the intersection.  At about 0:55, a Pampa Police Department officer Herrera walks across the street and contacts Andrew.  Their conversation goes well, clearly a consensual stop, and Andrew provides his name and date of birth on Officer Herrera’s request.

At 3:00 into the video, the traffic stop has concluded and Andrew starts to walk away, when he is confronted by Deputy Stokes of the Gray County Sheriff’s Office.  Stokes, who has since become employed by the Pampa Police Department, immediately attempted to seize the photography equipment as evidence.  Stokes refuses to get a supervisor on request, tells Andrew to stop talking, and threatens to arrest Andrew when Andrew points out that he has a First Amendment right to speak.  When that happened, Stokes said that “I think I’ll make up stuff” and attempted to grab the camera from Andrew (at 3:50).

At about 4:20, the demand for ID begins by Stokes and he really shows his ignorance.  First, as has been noted numerous times before, in Texas, under the Failure to Identify statute, one has to be under arrest to be obligated to provide their name, residence address, and date of birth to an officer.  Otherwise, the statute merely makes it an offense to provide fictitious information.

At about 4:40, Stokes tells Andrew that he is not allowed to record peace officers in the public arena while they are conducting a traffic stop.  Stokes is clearly out of his league here.  It is well-established that the public have the right to videotape public officers in a public place.  See Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011); ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583 (7th Cir. 2012); Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436 (9th Cir. 1995); and Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d 1332 (11th Cir. 2000).

This did not start to calm down until Andrew asked the Pampa officers if he could press charges on Stokes for assault.  At that point (7:50), the deputy was told to walk away by Officer Reynolds, who then talked to Andrew.  Stokes comes back over and starts to question Andrew again, and this time tells Andrew that he has to answer Stokes’ questions (at about 10:10).  This is obviously not true, and Andrew calls him on it.  At this point, Andrew is allowed to walk away.

 

When Cop-Blockers Don’t Understand the Law

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Two Cop-Blockers in Odessa, Texas were detained recently and did not like it.  Some of what they don’t like is correct, but much of it is mistaken.  I’ll address their comments, which are in italics.  Here is their video:

We were walking around Odessa Police Department around 7PM, both for exercise, and to get some shots of the building, and parking lot, all of which was captured while standing on a public sidewalk. As the video starts out, you can see use walking around the building complex, joking around and talking, and then we are illegally detained for over 40 minutes by quite a lot of officers. My biggest issue, is that they know very well who we are, and their excuses of us being “suspicious” were completely unfounded and outright lies. Anyway, here are several points we’d like to make about this detainment…

1: Filming from a public, or publicly accessible area is legal, including anything that can be seen in plain view from such locations unless it is sexual in nature, such as filming someone undressing in front of a window, or trying to take a picture down a woman’s shirt. OPD claimed that their facility was exempt from this legal activity. (It’s not)

This was a correct statement.  You can generally film anything you can see in public, with some narrowly limited exceptions (including the ones noted).

2: They changed their story several times as to why we were being detained. First it was suspicious behavior, then it was for filming their “vehicles”, then it was “possible intent to commit burglary”. One officer even went so far as to mention the naval base shooting, as if that was some other reason to think we might be up to no good.

They really didn’t change their stories.  At 3:15, when they first get stopped and are told they are being detained, the officer states that the detention is to make sure that they “are not breaking into people’s vehicles.”  That is a reasonably articulable suspicion of criminal activity based on the actions of the individuals, and it is consistent with the later comments on burglary since breaking into vehicles is Burglary of Vehicles, Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 30.04 (Vernon).  The officer further explained that it was nighttime, the individuals were walking through a parking lot, taking photographs of vehicles, etc.  Guys, that is reasonable articulable suspicion.

3: The supervisor on scene outright lied and said it is illegal to not carry ID on you at all times. This is a complete lie. You are not required to carry ID on you unless you are engaged in an activity that requires such identification, such as driving. You’re not even required by Texas law to provide your name and birthdate unless you are under arrest or legally detained.

The supervisor is ignorant.  There is no requirement under Texas law to carry ID.  I would suggest that the sergeant get hold of a copy of the Texas Penal Code and read it in order to find out what the law allows.  And WTF does Texas Open Records law have to do with photography?  She is really, really ignorant of the law and has no business supervising police officers when she doesn’t understand the law.

4: Upon hearing that the first amendment right of freedom of press was the “legality” I had for filming their facility, she insisted that the Texas state penal code protected police vehicles from being filmed or photographed. (It doesn’t)

More BS by the officers.

5: We were held for longer than 20 minutes, violating the Terry Stop law, from Terry vs Ohio.

This is incorrect info – there is not a “20 minute” time limit on a stop.

6: One officer refused to give us his name and badge number. After we were released I asked the remaining officers for his information and they refused to give it to me as well.

No state law requires that, but most PDs have a policy on identifying themselves.

7: We were apparently SO suspicious that between 15 – 20 cops were on the scene, and yet not once did they feel the need to pat us down to make sure we weren’t armed. They didn’t even ask for a regular search, or even to see the footage we had acquired. This was the biggest indicator that the entire detention was purely for harassment and intimidation.

Actually, that is not correct.  If they did not have reasonable suspicion that you were armed, a pat down for weapons would be unreasonable.  The officers did OK on that part.

8: Officer Aguilar did not let me read over the information he wrote down about me before demanding that I fingerprint myself.

There is no requirement for him to do so.

9: All except one officer on scene acted in an overly aggressive manner, trying their best to intimidate us. (Which didn’t work)

That’s a subjective view, but I can understand both sides here.

10: They claimed they had us on camera entering their parking lot, which we NEVER did. Another lie.

OK, so?

11: All in all, we could have remained silent, refused identification (since they had no reasonable articulable suspicion and therefore no legal right to detain us), gotten arrested on a bogus charge, and later fought it in court, but I was more concerned with getting us home that night. There will always be another time.

They actually had grounds to detain, or at least stated valid grounds, but you are correct, you did not have to ID, but not for the reasons you stated.  The Texas statute does not require a detained subject to ID themselves.  Check my earlier posts on this.

Royal Oaks Police Harass Open Carrier

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In Michigan, open carry is legal without a permit or a license.  Here, a young officer stops a citizen who is openly carrying.  The citizen immediately asks if he is being detained and the officer tells him he is not being detained, whereupon the citizen turns to walk away.  The officer clearly wasn’t expecting that and orders him to stop, telling him that he is being detained.  Thus far there has been nothing to indicate that the officer has any sort of reasonable suspicion of a crime to justify the stop.  See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 22 (1968); People v. Jenkins, 691 N.W.2d 759, 764 (Mich. 2005); People v. Custer, 630 N.W.2d 870, 876 (Mich. 2001).

Note that in Michigan, the Michigan State Police have issued a legal update that clearly states that the open carry of a firearm is not a crime.  Michigan also does not have a stop and ID law, meaning that the officer cannot stop someone and demand identification without reasonable suspicion for a crime.

The officer asks for ID, stating that the citizen may have a “mental injunctive order” or something.  The citizen refuses to provide ID, as is his right.  See People v. Williams, 234 N.W.2d 541, 545 (Mich. 1975); People v. Rivers, 202 N.W.2d 498, 501 (Mich. 1972).  Further, if the officer does not have a reasonable suspicion that the citizen has a “mental injunctive order”, or something, that is not the default position, that the possession of the weapon is illegal.  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. More importantly, where a state permits individuals to openly carry firearms, the exercise of this right, without more, cannot justify an investigatory detention.”).

The officer is obviously irritated by the refusal to provide ID, and wants to know what the citizen’s problem is, that he needs to see the citizen’s ID.  He then tries to get the citizen to turn off his own video, and the citizen wisely refuses, citing the First Amendment.  At that time (about 2:15 in the video), a second, more experienced officer shows up and tells the citizen that if he doesn’t want to give ID it is OK, he is free to go.

The younger officer looks like he got kicked in the teeth at that point.  He does, however, follow the citizen for the next 15 minutes.

From my perspective this is fairly clear cut.  The young officer was not prepared nor trained to handle this.  He had no idea what he could or could not legally do, and the fact that the citizen stood up for his rights surprised him.  He hesitated due to his confusion, which was actually a good thing.  Some officers are much more assertive in what they believe their authority is, and would have stepped off into a minefield by making an arrest or taking other illegal actions.

Officers are not used to be confronted in a calm and reasonable way where their authority is being questioned.  They don’t like it when it happens.  The young officer was also lucky that the more experienced officer showed up, because you could see that the younger one was losing his patience.

That is also the reason that the officer followed him for the next 15 minutes or so (the videos are available at the citizen’s Youtube channel).  Had the citizen jaywalked or spit on the sidewalk, the officer would have made contact under the guise of the minor violation.

Officer Fernandez Doesn’t Know Texas Law, Buda, Texas

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And here we go again.  A stop for openly carrying a long arm in Buda, Texas, and Officer Fernandez tells the individual that he is being detained based on a number of calls, and that the individual has to identify himself or he will be arrested for Failure to Identify.

The thing is, the citizen knows the law better than the officer.

Then some fat, plainclothes deputy constable shows up and tells him that if an officer asks for identification, the citizen has to produce identification.  Of course, this is not correct in Texas.  If detained, you do not have to produce identification, you just can’t lie about your name, date of birth, or address.  Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 38.02.

After getting out of the car, Officer Fernandez is no longer talking about arresting the citizen for failure to ID, but starts saying that if they keep getting calls, it is alarming the public and disorderly conduct.  Again, as we have noted before, it is not.  You have to have more than just phone calls, it has to be carried in a manner calculated to alarm.

Although the State maintains the fact that someone called the police is sufficient to show the gun was displayed in a way calculated to cause alarm, we cannot agree. The mere fact that the police were called is not evidence of the way in which the gun was displayed. Nor is the mere fact that a person saw a gun “displayed” on a balcony evidence that the balcony was in a public place. Without some evidence describing the balcony or the manner in which the gun was displayed, we cannot conclude there were any facts or circumstances showing the gun was displayed in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.

Grieve v. State, No. 05-07-00156-CR, No. 05-07-00157-CR, 2008 Tex. App. LEXIS 3756, at *9 (Tex. App.–Dallas 2008, no pet.) (not designated for publication).  The above link has the other cases on this issue.

The Buda PD phone number is 512-312-1001, the Chief of Police is Bo Kidd.

 

Another Example of Police in Texas not Knowing the Law – Corpus Christi

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Here we go again, with Texas cops not knowing the law.  This time it is out of Corpus Christi and not only one, but two lieutenants are involved.  Here are the four videos of the incident.

Here the user shows that he is videotaping from his own property and that he is openly carrying a holstered pistol.  Texas is not an open carry state, but the statute that covers this is Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon, Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 46.02.  This law states that: “A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is not on the person’s own premises or premises under the person’s control….”  Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 46.02 (Vernon).  At about 5:00 in part 1, the two officers approach and the user (Gloc361) advises them not to enter his property.  The officers then try to tell him that he can’t openly carry a pistol (at 5:26).  This is flat out incorrect.  See Johnson v. State, 269 S.W.2d 406 (Tex. Crim. App. 1954) (“Appellant had the lawful right to carry a pistol on his own premises and this right extended to every part thereof.”); Mireles v. State, 192 S.W. 241, 243 (Tex. Crim. App. 1917) (“Clearly, under the law and evidence, he was not guilty of violating the law in carrying said [weapon] on either the forty acres of tillable land that he had rented from Mr. Roberts nor in Mr. Roberts’ pasture, where he kept his team, and had the right to go to get them as a part of his rented premises….”).  A person can openly carry a handgun on his own property.

It appears that at about 1:00-05 in the second video that the officer makes a comment about notifying Child Protective Services, although the audio is not clear enough for me to be absolutely positive on this.  If she did mention that, then it is wrong on so many levels.  First, the lawful presence of firearms does not pose a danger to the child.  Second, using CPS as a threat for compliance is just vile.  At about 1:45 a third officer tries to tell him that he can wear the gun inside his house, but not outside.  Case law clearly doesn’t support that.  Mireles, 192 S.W. at 243.  In addition, “premises” is not limited to inside of a building.  See Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. No. H-185 (1973) (“The term ‘premises’ has attached to it various meanings, owing to the connection in which it is used, but, generally speaking, the term includes not only buildings, but the lot or land upon which the same are situated.”, citing Merch. & Mfgs.’ Lloyds’ Ins. Exch. et al. v. S. Trading Co. of Texas, 205 S.W. 352 (Tex. Civ. App.–Fort Worth, 1918)).

This is only 15 seconds, and really doesn’t cover much.

Here he talks to two different lieutenants.  The individual asks the lieutenant if he is violating the law.  The first lieutenant to talk to him will flat out not answer his question, but repeats what the other officer stated, that he could not be outside with a sidearm.  When pressed, the lieutenant states that it just “looks odd.”  Last time I checked, “looking odd” was not a violation of the penal statutes of the State of Texas.

At 3:52, Lt. Tim Brown walks up and states that the individual is creating a breach of the peace, causing alarm.  See Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 46.02  Again, this is not correct according to case law in Texas.  A recent case in Dallas addressed this very issue, stating:

Although the State maintains the fact that someone called the police is sufficient to show the gun was displayed in a way calculated to cause alarm, we cannot agree. The mere fact that the police were called is not evidence of the way in which the gun was displayed.

Grieve v. State, 05-07-00156-CR, 2008 WL 2152890 (Tex. App.—Dallas May 22, 2008, no pet.).  See also Bedford v. State, 69 S.W. 158 (Tex. Crim. App. 1902) (if pistol was displayed in a threatening manner, calculated to alarm, it is an offense);Jones v. State, 01-98-00645-CR, 1999 WL 517135 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] July 22, 1999, no pet.) (when subject grabbed victim and held her for a time, told her she was his and that she belonged to him, then pulled a knife from his pocket and opened it, he displayed it in a manner calculated to alarm); Biggerstaff v. State, 2 S.W.2d 256 (Tex. Crim. App. 1927) (speaking of the exhibition of deadly weapons or the semblance thereof in an angry and threatening manner calculated to alarm).Lt. Brown, without some evidence of a threatening display of the pistol, you can not show the elements of Disorderly Conduct.  Lt. Brown then compounds the error by demanding identification, and stating that he has the right to know who he is talking to on a police contact.  In fact, he doesn’t.  We discussed this in more depth at this post and this post, but unless he is arrested, he is under absolutely no obligation to identify himself to police.

The District is commanded by Capt. David Blackmon (DavidBl@cctexas.com) and the Chief is Chief Floyd Simpson (FloydS@cctexas.com).  Note that Corpus Christi is one of the few police departments in Texas that have a union contract, and they also have a unique rank structure of Officer, Sr. Officer, Lieutenant, Captain, Commander, Asst. Chief, and Chief.  There are no Sergeants.

 

Arrest for Failure to Identify in Houston

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http://www.khou.com/video/raw/RAW-Cell-phone-video–206701291.html

The above link is raw video of a clearly illegal arrest.  As I noted in a previous post, you cannot arrest for fail to identify based on someone refusing to provide their information while being detained.

In addition, there is no “fail to ID” exception to the requirement for a search warrant.  The deputies were clearly trespassing and clearly violating Jennifer Limon’s civil rights.

The Constable for Precinct One is Alan Rosen, 713-755-5200 (main number).  One of his sergeants, Sgt. J.C. Mosier, believes the same thing and told the TV station (KHOU) that they had to identify themselves.

Since the Constable’s Office clearly doesn’t know the law, you may also want to contact the Harris County District Attorney to ask why they aren’t looking at prosecuting the deputies for Official Oppression.  Their number is 713-755-5800.

 

Texas Failure to Identify Law, What it Says vs. What Police Think It Says

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The Texas Failure to Identify law is fairly simple.  Why don’t police get it?  It states:

  • (a)  A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.
  • (b)  A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:
    • (1)  lawfully arrested the person;
    • (2)  lawfully detained the person; or
    • (3)  requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense.
  • (c)  Except as provided by Subsections (d) and (e), an offense under this section is:
    • (1)  a Class C misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a); or
    • (2)  a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b).
  • (d)  If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that the defendant was a fugitive from justice at the time of the offense, the offense is:
    • (1)  a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a); or
    • (2)  a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b).
  • (e)  If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under Section 106.07, Alcoholic Beverage Code, the actor may be prosecuted only under Section 106.07.

Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 38.02.

OK, it is fairly simple.  If you are under arrest refuse to provide your name, date of birth, or residence address, you commit a Class C misdemeanor unless you have warrants outstanding, when it is a Class B misdemeanor.  If you are either under arrest or lawfully detained, it is an offense to provide a false name, date of birth or address.  The later is a Class B or A misdemeanor, dependent on whether you have outstanding warrants.

What is not an offense is refusing to provide your name, date of birth, or residence address when you are lawfully detained. See Dutton v. Hayes-Pupko, No. 03-06-00438-CV, 2008 Tex. App. LEXIS 6030, 2008 WL 3166324 (Tex. App.–Austin 2008, no pet.).  The court held that Deputy Derrick Dutton had arrested Sheryl Hayes-Pupko without probable cause since the law did not require her to identify herself while she was only being detained..  Dutton’s mistake of law did not provide a defense for the false arrest claim.

Unfortunately, this is not unusual for Texas.  Police officers in this state have an idea that they have the right to identify anyone at anytime for any or no reason.  The courts have repeatedly slapped them down on this.

  • “The application of Tex. Penal Code Ann., Tit. 8, § 38.02 (1974), to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct.  Accordingly, appellant may not be punished for refusing to identify himself, and the conviction is Reversed.”  Brown v. Texas, 443 U.S. 47 (1979).
  • “It is clear petitioner was arrested and convicted for his refusal to answer Officer Jennings’ question requesting that petitioner identify himself. This is impermissible even in the context of a lawful investigatory stop.” Spring v. Caldwell, 516 F. Supp. 1223 (S.D. Tex. 1981), reversed on other grounds 692 F.2d 994 (5th Cir. 1982).
  • “First, Officer Lowe obtained identification from each occupant of the automobile though he had no legal basis whatever for demanding them.”  Lewis v. State, 664 S.W.2d 345 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984).
  • “Moreover, the Supreme Court has previously dealt with a case in which Texas police officers demanded that an individual identify himself even though they had no reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime. In Brown v. Texas, the Court [11]  ruled that Texas Penal Code Ann. § 38.02 (a), as enacted by the Texas legislature in 1974, was unconstitutional because it allowed an officer to stop and demand identification of an individual without any specific basis or belief that he was involved in criminal activity.” Weddle v. Ferrell, No. 3:99-CV-0453-G, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2659, 2000 WL 256891 (N.D. Tex. 2000).
  • “Officers have the right to conduct an investigation of a driver following a traffic violation, but do not have authority to investigate a passenger without reasonable suspicion.”  St. George v. State, 237 S.W.3d 720 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007) (holding that arrest of passenger for failure to identify not valid absent legal detention).

Yet we still see police officers demand identification in Texas and threaten arrest (or actually make arrest) on Failure to Identify when in fact, no offense has occurred.

Examples of idiotic reasoning by officers:

At 1:40 the officer claims that he “automatically” has reasonable suspicion when someone fails to identify themselves.

Here, the lady was basically arrested because she was filming.  The charge was failure to identify, but she was never asked for ID.

Alice Police Officer Nick Juarez arrested this individual because he refused to identify himself.  Note that there was no suspicion of criminal activity, and Juarez made a statement that he didn’t want to appear on Youtube.  How’s that working for you?

 

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