Last night, WFAA's David Schechter ran a story featuring myself and my client after an obviously illegal stop and illegal arrest.
In order for the police to stop and detain someone, they must have "Reasonable Suspicion" that a crime has occurred. This can, of course, include traffic offenses.
But in this case, it is quite clear there was no reasonable suspicion that a traffic offense was committed by my client. The video shows as much. This is confirmed by the police officer, who, in response to my client asking why he was pulled over, states:
The reason you're being pulled over is because I'm gonna take your camera and we're gonna use it as evidence of the crimes that have been committed by other bikers.
Obviously stopping someone because of crimes committed by others is not legal. If everyone that took video of others were a crime, everyone at our local news stations would already be in jail.
The other major issue here, is the obvious "creation" of a crime: the obstructed license plate charge.
Texas law states that you may not have "a coating, covering, protective substance, or other material... that [distorts or alters] the plate."
Here, the video clearly shows that no coating, covering or protective substance is covering his license plate. So even if this were the reason he was stopped (which the officer clearly denies in the video), he was not committing a traffic offense.
This story has been commented on, and a question that came up often has been on the issue of arresting someone for a minor traffic offense.
An officer does have the option to arrest or issue a citation on pretty much any charge, this included. So if this were a valid charge, he would be allowed to arrest. But that of course is only if the charge is valid.
Since the video aired, the Sheriff's office has release video from a different officer, showing different bikers committing traffic offenses. I'm still not quite sure what this has to do with our case.
What this video show us, is that:
1. They already had video evidence of other people committing crimes, thus lowering the need to illegally stop and arrest Mr. Moore. And;
2. The Dallas Sheriff's Office should be arresting the other bikers they already knew were committing crimes.
The video release by the sheriff's office simply furthers our point -- Mr. Moore should never have been pulled over, much less roughed up and arrested.
Mr. Moore would like to thank everyone involved with helping to bring this case to light, and the outpouring we have received thus far.
Hunter Biederman is a DWI / Criminal Defense Attorney in Collin County. He publishes his blog (www.friscodwilawyer.com) which focuses on the Collin County and Texas legal system. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (469) 333-3333.