Is this a case of racial profiling or did the Harris County security officer have grounds to question the teen?
Let’s have a look at some of the details that may help derive at a conclusion.
On July 25th, a Harris County Security officer who apparently works for the Harris County Constable’s Office, Precinct One was called to a neighborhood where a lawn mowing company was working and a teen, who happened to be black, was passing out business cards door to door. The Facebook video that made this story go viral depicts the
officer approaching the teen and questioning his intentions. The teen explained what he was doing and the officer proceeded on to ask for identification. The teen, who has been identified as 19-year-old Marvin Gibson, stated he didn’t have identification on him and provided the officer with his name and date of birth.
Sources such as patch.com and thefreethoughproject.com highlighted that the teen’s date of birth was inaccurate. While this hasn’t been confirmed by any other news source sites, Gibson can be heard asking the officer for a card or some form of identification so he can address the issue of him being harassed while trying to work. The officer then reaches back and presents a pair of handcuffs. Gibson backed away and eventually ended up back at his home. Later in the day we see more video footage where the officer is standing in Gibson’s front law explaining that he needs to identify him. Gibson also shares footage of lacerations that were caused by the officer’s dog who allegedly was let loose when Gibson wouldn’t succumb and go into police custody.
Here’s what the JC Mosier of the Harris County Constable’s Office, Precinct One allegedly said regarding the recent account.
Did the Security Officer Have the Power to Make an Arrest?
Some input from a local police brutality attorney may be necessary as this incident has some unconfirmed details that make it difficult to determine whether the officer actually had the right to approach Gibson.
Apparently, a 911 call was placed to the Constable, which is a peace officer that would be equivalent to a community service aid. Neighbors allegedly were concerned when they saw Gibson going door to door as this is sometimes behavior displayed by someone who might be trying to burglarize a home. Although the first part of the account points out that the officer didn’t have a right to demand ID, if a 911 call was actually placed, then he had reasonable suspicion and may have actually held the right to request ID.
Although Gibson did present a business card, anyone can attempt to deceive another by doing so as a business card isn’t a valid form of identification. In any event, Gibson may want to consider enlisting the help of a local police brutality and misconduct attorney as the security officer may not have had as much jurisdiction as he claimed to, but played the role of a true police officer. One of the reasons why Gibson was able to make it to his home was because the security officer probably wasn’t armed. Had he been, we may have witnessed yet another police shooting of an unarmed black man.
It was also noted that Gibson had a warrant out for misdemeanor assault which won’t help his case in the event this is accurate. But, one thing we do see here is that just by speaking with an officer, who more than likely has ill intentions when approaching you, you place yourself in a sticky situation once you begin answering questions that could potentially lead to incrimination. In this case, Gibson could be faced with evading arrest and failing to ID.
As this story continues to unfold, it can be expected that police brutality lawyers may get involved as more details will come out.