A Texas deputy responding to call of suspicious activity about a PINAC reporter recording outside a military base not only ended up respecting his right to record the base from public, but his right to remain anonymous.
However, Kleberg County sheriff’s deputy E. Gonzalez acknowledged his agency’s policy is to identify all “suspicious” people, even though he made an exception to David Worden after contacting his supervisor.
But recording military bases from public areas is not against the law, even though we reported about a man getting arrested for doing just that last month.
Worden, an Army vet, recently spent four days on the road conducting First Amendments audits traveling through the Rio Grande Valley hitting Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, Kingsville and Corpus Christi before arriving at the Naval Air Station Kingsville earlier this week.
As Deputy Gonzalez approached, Worden joked, “you scared me. I thought you were one of those Navy idiots.”
“Oh, no, man. The reason we’re out here is because they called. They said you were out here, I don’t know, walking around. But I saw you earlier. You were in front of our office in font of the KPD’s office.”
“Yep, and now I’m headed to the border patrol,” Worden told the deputy.
“Is this for like a documentary or something?”
“Just video taping?”
“You from around here”
“You’re not from around here?”
“Do you mind if I ask where you’re from?”
“Houston,” Worden says, after a brief pause.
“Do you have an ID on you, man?”
“I do, but have I done something wrong?”
“Not that you’re anything wrong, like I said, it’s just that they’re reporting you. So it’s just suspicious activity. Every time we get called out it’s just protocol we get everybody’s either ID or license plate number. You don’t have a card, do you? So do you have an ID, so I can run you?”
“You just want to run me to see if I got any warrants, so you can put me in jail,” Worden says.
“It’s not warrants. It’s not–I wouldn’t say that. You’re out here, so if anything does happen, you were out here. You know what I mean? You got called in at our office. You got called in at KPD’s office. You got called in out here. You’re probably going to end up getting called in at the border patrol office.”
Worden explained he didn’t have any weapons on him while deputy Gonzalez gave his spiel that he had to see identification because of protocol.
“Respectfully, I’m going to decline,” Worden says.
“You’re going to decline?”
“I haven’t done anything wrong. I haven’t broken a law. I’m on a public roadway. The problem with giving ID–and I’m going to explain it to you. I’m not trying to be overly difficult,” Worden explains.
“When citizens start giving up ID, OK, and they’ve been taking pictures of public buildings. You’re going to generate a report. Your intel division is going to send a report over to the fusion center. You know, I end up on the terrorist watch list. Because I took pictures of things that belong to me. I’m just a tourist. That’s all it is. I just want my privacy respected.”
“OK, I see where you’re coming from,” deputy Gonzalez replies.
“I have no ill intent. I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m not trespassing on anyone’s property and I’m not going to.”
“OK, it’s not so much that I want your ID. I didn’t just stop you because I saw you. They called me,” deputy Gonzales says before going back to his vehicle to call a supervisor.
He returns to tell Worden he’s not required to provide ID, but says if they get called out again, they’re going to end up back out there.
“Well, what I recommend you do, if they call again, just let them know I’m on public property. It’ll save you a trip out here. And save me from getting all nervous.”
The interaction ends with a friendly handshake, Worden thanking deputy Gonzalez and relaying to his bambuser live feed followers and PINAC cohorts, “alright, they released me for the moment.”