Man Sues Police for Arresting Him for Recording From Public Sidewalk

Andrew Meyer

PINAC correspondent Philip Turner was arrested in July for recording police from a public sidewalk.

Now, Turner is suing the five officers from the Round Rock, Texas police department who illegally arrested him.

As PINAC reported back in July, Turner broke no laws as he stood in the middle of a public sidewalk in broad daylight recording the Round Rock police station when Officer Hernandez approached Turner and asked him, “What’s going on buddy? Are you taking pictures for your personal use? Where do you live at?”

With no reasonable suspicion of a crime, Hernandez then demanded Turner’s identification, claiming that Turner was on private property while standing on the sidewalk of a police station – property which most fourth-graders can identify as public.

“Either you show me ID, or I place you in cuffs for failure to identify,” said Hernandez, threatening to arrest Turner for failing to identify himself.

But again, Hernandez had no reasonable suspicion that Turner had committed a crime, making Hernandez’s next act – grabbing Turner’s arm, handcuffing and arresting him – an illegal arrest, assault, battery and false imprisonment.

Turner’s lawsuit, which you can read here, seeks damages for the officers’ breach of Turner’s First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Turner is currently crowdfunding his legal defense and still seeking $1600 in funding. He has posted a video update to his situation, which we posted below, thanking supporters for their generous contributions.

Turner has conducted several additional First Amendment audits of Texas police departments, finding himself illegally detained by Austin police for recording in public, ordered off of public property in Dallas, and arrested again in Fort Worth.

He also recently gained notoriety for playing N.W.A.’s Fuck the Police while being pulled over in retaliation for recording cops.

If Turner and cop watchers like him continue to win lawsuits, police may soon learn the hard way that Photography Is Not A Crime.

The original video of Philip Turner’s arrest is also below. Turner wrote as a caption, “I was taking a few pictures of the RR police station, in doing so all over 6 officers came and intimidated me by placing me under arrest until i identity myself. I didn’t break any laws, according to these officers knowing your rights make you some type of lawyer or judge.”


War on Photography