The State of Texas is not a stop and identify state. That means you are under no obligation to produce your identification unless you are under arrest.
But that didn’t stop a Texas constable from arresting a man taking pictures of the tax assessor's office for failing to identify after he was detained outside there.
Jesus Padilla captured his arrest on video as he was conducting what has become known as a 1st Amendment audit in front of the Bexar County Tax Assessors office in San Antonio.
A First Amendment audit is usually described as being peacefully engaged in constitutionally protected activity to assess the response from authorities. These audits are normally conducted at government or public buildings and facilities. The audits have become popular with people across the country as you can see by simply googling the term.
Padilla’s video shows a Texas Bexar County Precinct 2 Deputy Constable approach him on the sidewalk outside of the tax assessors office. The deputy asks Padilla for identification.
“Did I commit a crime?” Padilla asks.
“No, We got a call on you so we need to identify who you are. So, I need you to put the phones down...” The Deputy replies
“Call your Sargent before you do anything else.” Padilla replies.
“I’m the lieutenant.” The deputy responds.
Eventually the deputy tackles Padilla to the ground before placing him under arrest for failure to identify.
But Texas Penal Code 38.02 says a citizen is only required to identify when they are lawfully arrested.
Of course we know that even in a stop and ID state an officer needs reasonable articulable suspicion of an actual crime to detain a citizen and require ID.
Padilla was arrested for failure to identify and resisting arrest.
Padilla says deputies refused medical attention for an injury to his arm and instead brought him to the Bexar County lock up where he stayed until he met with an assistant district attorney who told him his charges had been refused for prosecution.
Padilla says he is not deterred and that he will continue to try and educate other agencies about citizen's rights to document what public official do in the course of their public duty.