Austinite, citizen-journalist, ACC student, and activist Phillip Turner was driving towards Jarrell, TX, at around 10 p.m. on August 1st when a State Trooper went sailing past him. As can be seen in Turner’s YouTube video below, the officer was noticeably speeding, but did not have his lights or siren on.
Unlike most people, who would simply be relieved to have more distance between them and a possible altercation with police, Turner let his dash-cam roll as he tailed the officer, clocking up to 90 mph according to his speedometer.
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After several minutes in pursuit of the officer, Turner got close enough to flash his brights and – in effect – PULLED THE COP OVER FOR SPEEDING.
The Trooper, David Granado, veered onto the shoulder, got out, and approached Turner’s car to see what the problem was. Turner, a young African American man, was prepared for this and other future encounters with police, as can be seen on his YouTube channel, The Battousi, which chronicles his observations and personal interactions with police, and his passion for civil justice.
With his dash-cam and cell-phone recording the up-close interaction, Turner calmly began speaking to the officer. Turner first explained that he’d seen the officer fly by, and then asked this simple question,
“Are you in an emergency?” To which the Trooper immediately apologized and stated that he was not.
Turner went on to remind the cop that “people get tickets for this [speeding] all the time.” His next question was, “What’s your name, and your badge number?”, initially eliciting this response from Granado:
G: “Uh, I don’t have it on me.”
T: “You don’t have a name or badge number?”
G: “I don’t have it on me. I apologized.”
T: “Do you have a badge number?”
G: “Uh, yeah, I do.”
After finally taking down Granado’s name and badge number, his Supervisor’s name, and photographing the Trooper’s license plate, Turner let the apologetic officer off with a warning, saying, “Mind slowing down for me?”
This is by no means the first time Phillip Turner has dealt with a miscarriage of justice as concerns the police, which would explain his level of preparedness. Turner was arrested in Galveston while filming a police memorial for refusing to identify himself. In addition to living in the U.S. at a time when tensions between the public and police have finally hit the mainstream media among a fever-pitch of disquiet, Turner boldly took it upon himself to document such inequity.
Whatever you think of Turner’s brand of justice, if you believe that photography is NOT a crime, feel free to subscribe to the site he corresponds for, photographyisnotacrime.com. The site provides a way to stay informed and connected with citizen-journalists like Turner in their ongoing mission for transparency and equality for all citizens under the law. His online presence is even called The Battman, and with that in mind, we leave you with this quote from John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces:
“I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he’s found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.”
And so do we.
(H/T: Dallas Morning News)