Texas cops handcuffed and detained PINAC reporter David Worden earlier this month, threatening to jail him for breaking a make-believe law for recording police station from a public sidewalk.
The Missouri City police station, southwest of Houston, is in plain view of the public right of way.
And if you can see it from public, you can photograph it as well.
But it does not appear that Missouri City cops have received the memo that photography is not a crime, even though it’s been proven by numerous court decisions, including a 2010 settlement that required Homeland Security to inform its employees not to harass citizens photographing federal buildings.
Aerial view of public sidewalk in front of the Missouri City, Texas police department. (Photo courtesy of google.com.)
The Missouri City police station is not a federal building but the laws still apply.
Video of the incident shows two Missouri City officers in typical good-cop-bad-cop fashion attempting to intimidate Worden into providing his identification, even going so far as threatening him with arrest for the crime of failure to identify, a class A misdemeanor in Texas punishable by up to a year in jail.
But 38.02 of the Texas penal code states a person is only required to comply with the officer requesting identification unless they are under arrest for a crime, have been lawfully detained or a witness to a crime.
And as we’ve been saying for ten years now, photography is not a crime.
The February 16 video begins with Missouri City Police Sergeant Phillip Englishbee extending a handshake to introduce himelf.
But the cordiality ended with Englishbee telling Worden his right to personal privacy didn’t matter even though the sergeant acknowledge he was committing no crime.
Footage shows Englishbee accompanied by a subordinate officer interrogating Worden in typical good-cop-bad-cop alarmist fashion for “being a suspicious person.”
It’s all something Worden has heard many times before while conducting civil rights audits, a free service