Monday, February 24, 2014

Candid camera - North Texas edition

Electra, Texas is a small town on the highway outside of Wichita Falls. I'm sure it's a fine place to live - if you like living in small towns in rural north Texas just south of the Red River.

But for the out-of-towner who sent me this video clip from YouTube, it's a place that I'm sure he never wants to see again. It seems that he and his wife were driving through Electra at night when they pulled over to switch drivers. This immediately caught the attention to two police officers who proceeded to conduct a traffic stop for little discernible reason other than something funny might turn up.

The entire episode reminds me of what Scott Greenfield and Jeff Gamso talk about when they write of folks being arrested for not jumping when asked to do so by someone wearing a badge. The gentleman in this video clip had the audacity to (metaphorically) ask "Why?"

The drama only increases once we moved into the municipal courthouse where our star and the city prosecutor, criminal defense attorney Todd Greenwood, argue about whether or not he could view the video he requested from the city without the city attorney peeking over his shoulder. Mr. Greenwood got very testy when the defendant didn't do as he requested.

On top of the original charges being without merit, Mr. Greenwood talked both to the judge and the police chief about what else they could charge the defendant with. To the police chief's credit, he wasn't playing along.

And, while I'm giving out credit, Mr. Greenwood did redeem himself to a degree when he informed the defendant that things don't work in small towns like they do in the suburbs (not to mention the big city). And that is so very true.

Let's face it. Police officers take the stand and lie. They lie to support their arrest and to assist the prosecutor in obtaining convictions. And we all know that given the choice between taking the word of a guy wearing a badge and the person sitting next to the defense attorney, most jurors are going for the badge - regardless of what they tell you or the judge during voir dire. Without the video he obtained through a public information request, the defendant in our story would have been convicted - of that there is little doubt.

I'm not certain whether our hero grasped how close he came to being on the receiving end of a very harsh lesson of small town justice in Texas. If you still walk around with the delusion that you were spoon fed about the police when you were a child, this video should finally clear you of that thought.


Lee said...

So liberty and justice for some?

Unknown said...

I was a bit surprised this guy didn't go to jail. For something. You could tell both LEOs were just waiting for him to do SOMETHING.