The criminal trial for a Texas cop who searched the car of a PINAC reporter without a warrant after arresting him for recording in front of a police department begins today.
Galveston Police Sergeant Archie Chapman probably did not realize his unconstitutional actions were being recorded by a dash cam inside Phillip Turner’s car in November 2015, even as Turner sat inside a jail cell.
Now Chapman is facing 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted.
Turner, who was charged with failure to identify after he was confronted for recording a police memorial in front of the Galveston Police Department, had his charges dismissed within a week.
Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady’s office brought charges against the award-winning cop in February 2016.
Turner refused to identify himself when Chapman was unable to articulate a reasonable suspicion that he had committed a crime.
PINAC reporter David Warden recorded the video of Turner getting arrested, but police never made the connection that they were together.
The video shows Turner continued to refuse to identify himself, even after he was placed in handcuffs, informing the officers he would be more than happy to do so – if only they could articulate a reasonable suspicion that he committed a crime.
Turns out, the crime was committed by Chapman who used Turner’s keys to search his car.
Sergeant Chapman is no stranger to being the subject of news stories.
In 2013, Chapman made international news for savagely beating and brutalizing Reginald Deon Davis, 34, after Davis traveled all night to attend a friend’s birthday party.
Exhausted from studying for a college exam after the party, Davis decided to nap near the Galveston seawall.
A Galveston police cruiser’s dash cam captured Chapman kick Davis in the head as two other cops held his head under water.
According to a civil rights lawsuit filed by Davis’ lawyer, Chad Pinkerton of Houston:
“Mr. Davis does not appear to resist until it becomes clear that he is in fear of drowning. In fact, during this entire incident, Mr. Davis can be heard yelling ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘You’re trying to drown me.’ While beating him, the officers continue to tell Mr. Davis not to resist, but the video clearly shows that Mr. Davis was forced to resist to avoid drowning from his head being forced under water.”
Corruption from the Galveston police department spills into its courts.
On July 18, 2016, Judge Kerry L Neves, the Galveston County judge in charge of overseeing Sergeant Chapman’s trial, issued an order stating he does not intend to accept plea bargain agreements in cases where police officers are threatened, disrespected or assaulted.
As PINAC readers know, cops often falsify assault and other charges against innocent individuals for using disrespectful language or gestures towards police, which is not against the law.
“I may only be one person, one judge,” Judge Kerry L. Neves posted on his Facebook page.
“But I will do what I can to stop the disrespect and aggressive behavior against our police officers.”
President of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association John Convery said the order is a terrible idea.
“It’s rather shocking to us.”
“It’s a breach of impartiality and basic fairness.” Convery said.
On Friday, Galveston Municipal Police Association, the agency’s police union, posted a message on its Facebook page urging police and the public to attend Chapman’s trial, prompting another Texas cop to refer to Turner as a “black moron.”
We’d like to do the same.
Jury selection began Tuesday and the trial begins today at 8:30 a.m. at the 10th District Court, 600 59th Street in Galveston.
And that’s quite a rare feat, which will become even more rare if Chapman is convicted, much less punished by Judge Neves.
In April 2016, the City of Galveston settled a civil rights lawsuit over the arrest and search of Turner in the amount of $10,ooo, according to galvnews.com.
Check out Turner’s Facebook video where he talks about the trial. Videos of his arrest and the illegal search are posted below along with the judge’s order to protect police from disrespectful words.