Badge-Wearing Criminals Object, But You Can Film The Police
January 7, 2013 by Bob Livingston
An Alice, Texas, man standing in his own yard filming a police stop was kidnapped by a uniformed, badge-wearing thug who is obviously either ignorant of the law or believes he can make up laws on the spot.
Gabriel Cabrera spent several minutes watching and filming the stop and providing commentary on why one should never consent to a vehicle search during a police stop. He was in his own yard and was too far away from the vehicles to have been hindering police operations in any way.
But Officer Nicholas Juarez apparently took offense to the Cabrera’s activities. Cabrera had been filming for more than 10 minutes when Juarez approached Cabrera.
Even though Juarez was informed he was on private property, he continued to approach Cabrera and then unlawfully demanded identification “in case this ends up on YouTube or something.” When Cabrera refused to provide his ID, Juarez placed him under arrest and threatened him with additional charges.
Federal courts have ruled there is a specific 1st Amendment right to record police officers. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review lower court rulings on the matter. State laws differ on when a person has to provide identification to an officer. Typically, it is required only if the officer has probable cause to suspect you are committing a crime. Under Texas law, a person is required to provide ID upon a lawful arrest.
Cabrera had not committed a crime, so Juarez had no probable cause. He jumped the gun in requiring ID post arrest. Juarez also left out his comment about YouTube in the official police report, according to KRISTV.
Assistant Police Chief Alberto Martinez assured a KRISTV reporter “the department will look into the matter to make sure that everything was done appropriately.” Cabrera has retained a lawyer.