Most Texans are unaware of the rights they have when it comes to confrontations with a police officer. The importance of gathering evidence when one is confronted with an officer cannot be emphasized enough, yet many people are afraid to pull out their phones to record the situation due to fear of the officer’s reaction.
What most people do not know is that most officers generally already have dash cameras and body cameras on their person recording the entire event. If a person wants access to this footage in Texas, they will generally have to pay a fee. Therefore, it is always a good idea to try and record the interaction on one’s own. Every single person in Texas has the constitutional right to record anything in a public place. However, the one factor to keep in mind is that officers have the authority to ask a person to step back and move away from the scene if they feel like the person is interfering with the interaction.
If an officer tells a person to stop recording and to move away from the scene because the person is getting in the way, then it is best to comply with the officer. Failing to step back can be considered a crime because the person in question was interfering with police interactions and making their job harder.
However, if a person is at a safe distance, they have every right to record the interaction. The officer does not have the right to seize a person’s phone or delete photos and video footage. Anyone who has had their property confiscated by an officer should call a police brutality attorney in Texas to get the justice they deserve.
Recording is not allowed on private property
Though it is allowed for a person to record an officer while they are on public property it is not allowed to record any interaction while on private property unless consent is given. If a person tries to record an interaction on private property, they can face serious legal consequences such as being charged with trespassing and they may have to pay fines.
When a person is confronted with an officer in a public area such as on the road or in a mall, they have every right to record the interaction as long as they are not interfering with the officer performing their job. A common mistake people make is they quickly reach into their pockets for their phones. This is a serious mistake as any sudden movements can be misinterpreted by the officer and the officer may react badly and hit a person out of fear that they are reaching for a weapon.
The best way to go about it is to inform the officer that the interaction will be recorded and to slowly take one’s phone out and calmly put it on record. Having the conversation recorded will not only decrease the chances of the officer behaving violently but the footage can also be used as evidence later on if matters escalate.