It’s estimated that every year cigarette butts make up nearly 1.7 billion pounds of toxic, non-biodegradable trash. Not to mention, there’s evidence every year of fires, large and small, that were caused by smoldering butts littered on dry, grassy areas.
According to Texas Legislation, disposing of a cigarette is illegal and can result in a fine up to $500.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person disposes or allows or permits the disposal of litter or other solid waste at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, including a place on or within 300 feet of a public highway, on a right-of-way, on other public or private property, or into inland or coastal water of the state.
(a-1) A person commits an offense if:
(1) the person discards lighted litter, including a match, cigarette, or cigar, onto open-space land, a private road or the right-of-way of a private road, a public highway or other public road or the right-of-way of a public highway or other public road, or a railroad right-of-way;
While it is illegal to litter anywhere in the state, it is also illegal to smoke on school property or at school-sanctioned events in Texas. According to the legislation, e-cigarettes aren't even allowed.
(a) In this section, "e-cigarette" has the meaning assigned by Section 161.081, Health and Safety Code.
(b) The board of trustees of a school district shall:
(1) prohibit smoking or using e-cigarettes or tobacco products at a school-related or school-sanctioned activity on or off school property;
(2) prohibit students from possessing e-cigarettes or tobacco products at a school-related or school-sanctioned activity on or off school property; and
(3) ensure that school personnel enforce the policies on school property.
Finding these laws required very little research on behalf of the Free Thought Project, which makes the video below that much more damning to the Dallas police department who should know these laws already.
As is the case in so many instances, however, police officers can violate laws, which citizens would be fined or imprisoned for, and face no punishment. And that is why it is up to us to expose this double standard.
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Government accountability activist and friend of the Free Thought Project, Kory Watkins happened to see this double standard taking place earlier this month and, he decided to expose it.
As Watkins was walking to his car, him and his son witnessed Dallas police officer Mike Whistle, Badge Number 716, breaking, at least, two laws.
The first law broken by Whistle was smoking on school property. And, when Whistle had finished his cigarette, he went on to litter and illegally discard lighted materials.
To most people, this is a typical act seen almost daily by careless smokers who treat the world as their ashtray. However, Whistle is a public servant -- he should be held to a higher standard.
Thanks to Kory Watkins, this officer may think twice before he goes around breaking laws that could land us commoners with fines, beaten, jailed, or even dead.
As Watkins tells the Free Thought Project, "If this was me and an officer saw me smoke a cigarette and then throw it in the grass and covered up and admit to it, I would have been fined twice. This officer should be fined and held accountable."
If you think that Watkins was harsh to the officer, you need to consider the following -- had the roles been reversed in the video above, things could have turned out gruesome.
As the Free Thought Project reported last November, a female college student was tackled, slammed to the ground and arrested for trespassing because she and several of her classmates had cigarettes during a break from class.
Before that assault, an NYPD cop violently assaulted a 17-year-old boy, knocking him unconscious after he saw him smoking a cigarette.
There is also the case of Daniel Johnson, who was brutally beaten and tasered in his genitals after his father did exactly what officer Whistle did in the video above.
In July of last year, Sandra Bland was arrested and later found dead over an improper lane change and her decision to smoke a cigarette.