All charges have been dropped against PINAC Correspondent Phillip Turner after a flood of phone calls and Facebook posts lighted up the Galveston Police Department in Texas last week.
Meanwhile, the local media were still trying to figure out whether he broke the law by refusing to provide identification after he was confronted by police for video recording in front of a police station with KHOU questioning, “who crossed the line in this? Was it the photographer or police?”
Thankfully, they had a “legal analyst to confirm what they should have already known, especially considering they do the same thing except with more expensive cameras. The legal analyst informed the reporters that Turner was only legally required to produce identification if they have already lawfully arrested him on other charges.
Video recording a police memorial as he was doing or video recording police license plates as they accused him of doing are not grounds for arrest.
However, police have yet to return his memory card they confiscated.
In fact, he has posted five videos from the incident using footage from the camera his friend was using as well as footage from his dash cam when police illegally entered his car without a warrant after they had jailed him.
Galveston police tried to justify entering and searching his car because he would not identify himself and had no identification on him while in jail.
However, he kept telling them that he would be more than happy to identify himself if only they could provide him with a valid reason for arresting him.
And as hard as they must have looked through the law books, there is just no law against video recording police license plates from public space.
So the cops tried to outsmart him by taking his keys and entering his car where they found his wallet and were able to determine his name.
“This is what happens when you question authority,” Galveston police officer Gilbert Villareal told him in jail, referring to his bumper sticker that says, “Question Authority … Opinion Without Facts = Ignorance.”
Now Villareal is going to learn what happens when you violate a man’s Constitutional rights.
“These officers wont walk away from this situation,” Turner vowed. “They will pay for their illegal actions.”
Turner has attorneys who plan to subpoena the video footage from the jail and for any possible warrants they may have obtained to search through the memory card.
He also plans on filing a lawsuit under the grounds that his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments were violated. The lawsuit will also claim that Turner was deprived of his civil rights based on race.
Turner is a black man. His friend, David Warden, is white, but was not arrested, even though he was also video recording from in front of the station and even struck up a conversation with them about Turner’s arrest, whom they accused of being “suspicious” because he was video recording.
Below is the KHOU news report along with five of the videos surrounding his arrest. We will post more as soon as Galveston police release his memory card, which they have no legal right to hold as evidence.
PINAC reporter Joshua Brown contributed to this report.