A man exercising his First Amendment right to film in public was confronted by police who proceeded to interrogate, search, handcuff and detain him in what appears to be a blatant violation of his civil rights.
The man, who goes by the handle The Battousai on Youtube, routinely conducts what he terms “First Amendment audits” to ensure police around Central Texas are upholding their fellow citizens’ constitutional rights.
Last Tuesday, while filming a police substation in North Austin, the activist was approached by three uniformed Austin police officers who demanded to know what he was up to.
The activist, in accordance with his right to remain silent, refused to answer any questions, further aggravating the officers.
“The reason we’re out on you is you caused kind of a scare up here, so we’re trying to figure out what’s going on… so… you videotaping for a reason? Or… what’s going on?” one officer stammers out.
Absent of justification, the officers begin insisting the man identify himself.
“Am I doing anything illegal,” the man filming asks, to which one plainclothes cop says, “Yes,” before quickly correcting himself and saying, “No you’re not doing anything illegal, but based on your suspicious activity we’re gonna go ahead and ID you.”
Despite refusing to consent to a search, police begin to frisk him.
“He can either provide us his information willingly or we can do it through the ID section downtown,” the plainclothes officer, identified as “Shurley 4895” in the Youtube description, states.
“I know you’re used to this going one way based on the Youtube education you’ve gotten, but that’s not how we do it,” the officer states, as the activist asserts he’s filming in a public area.
Astonishingly, after handcuffing the suspect, one of the cops continues to place the man’s camera in ideal filming locations.
The suspect then spends nearly 20 minutes in the front seat of a squad car as police conduct their investigation into his identity, all the while being berated by officers hellbent on forcing his compliance.
Following his release from temporary captivity, the man films lines on his wrist indicative of tight handcuffs.
In the video’s comment section, the activist says he’s currently seeking a local attorney.