Grayson County, TX — Phillip Turner has done it again. The First Amendment speech rights activist has once again exposed police officers’ use of questionable traffic stop practices to highlight the importance of knowing one’s right to remain silent under the law.
Still reeling in a landmark court ruling for citizens’ rights to film police officers, Turner was passing through Grayson County, Texas on his way to Oklahoma this week, when he was pulled over by Grayson County Sheriff’s Officers Mark Hanning (10 years on the force) and Kenna Barker, who appears to be in training.
The traffic stop started with the officers approaching Turner on his passenger side and asking if Turner could roll down his window more. Knowing his rights, Turner refused and said if the duo wanted to see his license they’d have to come around to his side of the vehicle where they could feel free to see both items through his window.
“Texas law states I only have to exhibit them, I don’t have to hand them over…I don’t want you to think I’m reaching for something,” he said when asked to reach over his license and registration and hand them through the window to the officers.
One could say the two officers lost control of the situation from that moment, because Mr. Turner, who calls himself the “Battousai,” a reference to an animated assassin known in English as Himura Kenshin, remained in one step ahead from that point on. When the officers walked around to speak with Turner on his side of the vehicle (and on his own terms one might say) they began to question Turner as to what reasons he believed he was pulled over.
Knowing his rights, Turner refused to answer any leading questions such as, “Do you still live at the same address as your license…Do you want to tell me why you got pulled over or do you want to remain silent?…Did you happen to see me sitting on the side of the road back there a couple miles?…Were you aware you were following that close?…How far away were you from the vehicle you were following?…So you were aware how far away you were from the car you were following?…Do you know how fast you were going when you came by?…When’s the last time you got a ticket?”
Through each and every question, Turner didn’t fall for the fishing expedition of the officers. What most motorists are probably unaware of is that law enforcement asks these questions in order for motorists to incriminate themselves. All Turner would say is, “It’s on my dashcam,” and refused to answer those questions.
Turner then took a moment to address his viewers, and followers alike. He told them, “You don’t have to answer those questions.” And just like Turner, he demonstrated how not to get a traffic ticket.
Officers Hanning and Barker said they’d be right back. Clearly unable to show evidence to issue a citation, the officers then attacked the darkness of his window tint. They went to their police cruiser and retrieved a window tint meter to test to see whether or not the window tint was ‘legal.’ It was, and he was not cited.
After getting both officers’ names and badge numbers, the Battousai passed them his business card, asked if he was free to go, and then rolled up the window as Hanning asked, “Where’s this at?”, referring to his business of educating the public about their constitutional rights.
“Don’t answer questions, remain silent, and let them do all the work,” Turner advised as he ended the recording. But we had some questions for him. We asked Turner if he was actually following too closely, the precipice for which he was pulled over. Turner said he “didn’t see” what Hanning saw and was referring to when he pulled over the activist. He said what he did notice was how fast the officer was going in order to catch up with him.
Often times, as The Free Thought Project has reported, officers place themselves and the general public at risk when they travel at high rates of speed in order to catch up to a motorist they believe is guilty of breaking laws.
Turner said he purchased his camera system for $299 and installed it himself. We encourage all of our readers to get cameras and film because photography is not a crime and is the best form of self-protection from badge abuse.