Sometimes exercising your right to be free from unlawful search and seizure is a dangerous proposition. Some cops assume that a citizen taking a stand for their own liberty is a challenge to their authority.
In many ways they are correct, but one common denominator in all abuses of authority is the escalation of force by those wearing badges.
The scenario was no different today outside of the Addison Police Department in Texas where I was forcefully taken to the ground, handcuffed and assaulted for committing no crimes as seen in the video below.
While legally open carrying my pre-1899 black powder pistol and recording from a public sidewalk across the street from the police department, I was conducting a citizen seatbelt audit to find out if those who enforce the law were actually abiding by it.
It wasn’t long before one officer, T. Bagley (179), approached – jaywalking across four lanes of traffic – and asked if he could help me. I politely declined his offer.
However, it soon became evident the Texas cop had no intention of helping me and was only focused on impeding my First Amendment right to record public officials in a public space.
“Can you continue to move along then? You don’t need to be over here videoing the police department for any reason, unless you have a reason to be videoing.” Bagley stated.
I responded, “yeah, I’ve got a reason,” but I refused to tell him why I was recording since he has no business knowing why I’m exercising my First and Second Amendment rights.
Then officer Bagley demanded to see my identification, which I refused to provide. Under Texas law, no citizen is lawfully required to present identification unless they are lawfully arrested or detained while driving a motor vehicle.
T. Bagley is either ignorant of Texas statutes or intentionally violating my civil rights. Either way, he has proven that he is not worthy of wearing a badge.
After a brief back and forth, Bagley began losing his patience, along with his cool, and gave me the choice to either provide identification or be arrested.
I demanded that he provide me with a reasonable articulable suspicion that I have committed a crime, which he never did.
Sensing that this officer was going to arrest me, I wanted to fire up my live streaming application on my phone in order to alert my friends of the situation.
Bagley immediately ripped the phone out of my hands, telling me it was because of “officer safety.”
“You’re not using your phone because I don’t know if you’re calling someone to come over and do something to me,” he said.
Bagley grabbed my hand and twisted it behind my back while pinning my leg with his and took me to the ground. I was promptly handcuffed, detained and disarmed.
Several Addison officers arrived on scene, including one plain-clothed lieutenant who did most of the talking while I was handcuffed. He lectured me on why their job is dangerous, and why their fears of cameras and holstered pistols are justified.
I remained silent throughout my detainment and never identified myself. Outside of some minor lacerations on my leg, I am fine. Luckily, I was eventually free to go and left the scene with all my property.
I have a feeling that the Addison Police Department will know soon enough that Photography is not a Crime.
If you feel so inclined to politely let the fine folks over at the Addison Police Department know that officer T. Bagleys’ behavior was out of line. You may call their non-emergency line at 972-450-7156.
UPDATED: Below is a video of a call made by a PINAC correspondent to the Addison Police Department in regards to this incident.