The man, 25 year old Gabriel Cabrera, began filming the incident on a cell phone while standing on his own property. While Cabrera explained, presumably intending to upload the video at a later time, that Americans should never concede their constitutional rights to police in such situations, the officer conducting the stop approached him and asked for ID.
“Am I committing any crimes?” Cabrera asked.
“I need to see your I.D. sir because if this end up on YouTube or something like that…” the officer, later identified as Nicolas Juarez said.
Cabrera then told Juarez that he was on private property and he would not show any ID because he was not committing any crimes.
“And now you’re under arrest” Juarez immediately fired back, attempting to cuff Cabrera and then suggesting he could charge him with resisting arrest if he did not comply.
A cursory investigation into the incident by news channel KRISTV revealed that Juarez omitted the YouTube reference from his report on the incident.
Assistant Police Chief Alberto Martinez told the news station that he didn’t see anything wrong with his officer’s actions. An internal police investigation is underway,
Mr Cabrera has been advised by his attorney not to comment on the incident at this time.
Watch the video:
While Juarez claims in the video that failure to identify is an arrestable crime, the Texas Penal Code, proves otherwise:
Sec. 38.02. FAILURE TO IDENTIFY. (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.
Additionally, photographing and filming police at work is not a crime in America.
As we have repeatedly highlighted, these rights are protected under the First Amendment. There is no expectation of privacy, and filming federal property, federal employees, police or any public servants is not illegal in the United States. Not only did a First Court of Appeals ruling last year re-confirm this, but a recent Supreme Court decision also upheld the right to film.
The case highlights the fact that even though the law allows reporters and everyday citizens to film and photograph in public, they are continually being harassed every day for doing so.
A man was recently arrested in California for recording police, sparking outrage as he was jailed four days.
A soldier in Georgia was arrested for filming police on the basis that he was ‘obstructing’ law enforcement activities (he was documenting while questioning police during a traffic stop).
Independent reporter and publisher of the Maui Time Weekly was arrested in Hawaii for ‘obstructing’ while filming police from a distance while they pulled over vehicles, reportedly for petty traffic violations.
Earlier in 2012, the founder of CopBlock.org was sentenced to some 3 months in jail for ‘wiretapping’ in New Hampshire. The organization seeks to hold police accountable by filming their actions.
These are just a smattering of cases.
The age of cell phone cameras and live streaming video has placed extra scrutiny on the behaviour of police and federal officials.
It is paramount that we stand up to such bullying and intimidation tactics, and exert our rights in such situations. Indeed, no more fitting than in these situations is the term “Use them or lose them”.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.