Tag Archives: The Battousai

The Battousai is Harassed, Assaulted, and Illegally Detained by Austin Police Officers for Filming

Date of Incident: November 11, 2016
Officers Involved:
Officer Maufrais Badge #7432 and Officer Lane Badge #7705
Department Involved: Austin (TX) Police Department
Department Phone Number: Chief Art Acevedo – (512) 974-5000
Department Facebook Page: Austin PD on FB

Department Twitter Profile: @Austin_Police
Department YouTube Account: Austin Police Department
Internal Affairs Division: Citizens Complaints

The video above shows “the Battousai,” a man from Texas who often films the police, being harassed, threatened, and even assaulted by two officers from the Austin Police Department. At the time he is accosted by Officers Maufrais and Lane, he is doing nothing but quietly and very much legally filming a traffic stop from a very appropriate distance.

In addition to shining a light on his camera(s), Maufrais and Lane physically bump the Battousai numerous times and illegally detain him from leaving by declaring that the area where his car is parked is off limits, claiming that it is part of the area they are using to conduct their investigation despite it being nowhere near the actual traffic stop. All this deliberate and ridiculous harassment is supposedly rationalized by their need to protect the safety of the officer conducting the traffic stop, which is clearly nonsense.

austin-tx-police-public-filming-policyAlthough this video is fairly self-explanatory, there are a few “highlights” from it that are worth mentioning. One is that Officer Maufraus states in the early part of the video that he “is not intimidated by you people, like most officers are.” When asked for clarification he defines “you people” as people that legally film the police. That’s both telling and a little sad that police would be intimidated by someone simply filming them in public.

The second issue is that when Officer Maufraus is told that he is violating Austin Police Department policy by interfering with someone legally recording them in public, he not only acknowledges being aware of that, but states that he “doesn’t care about policy.” The APD, like most police departments at this point, does in fact have a policy that clearly states recording police officers in public is allowed and should not be interfered with. The screenshot to the left shows the first page of Article 302.2 in the official Austin Police Department handbook. (You can see the entire handbook in PDF form here.) The fact that this officer readily admits on camera to not caring about the department’s  policies is pretty bad.

And in keeping with that theme of not knowing or caring about policies or laws, the last lowlight is when Officer Maufraus states his definition of a “lawful order.” While threatening the Battousai with arrest for supposedly violating a lawful order, he is asked, “What’s lawful about it?” to which he answers, “because I told you to do it.” That’s very far from the definition of a lawful order. The fact that it was a cop who told someone to do something is incredibly far from what makes something a lawful order.

Below is the description from the Battousai, via Youtube:

“This was one of the most stressful videos I have ever filmed. I was harassed and intimidated for nearly an hour all for exercising my 1st amendment rights. I was grabbed, shoved, and bumped into a few times when trying to walk in a different direction. Then the cops prevented my from going to my car and leaving. They made me wait until after arrested the tow truck to come and take the arrested individual’s car. When the tow truck left I was allowed to get my property back and go to my car. Estimated amount of detention was 56 to 57 minutes.”

If you’d like to let the Austin Police Department know what you thing of the behavior of their officers and their stated disregard for department policies, you can contact them through several social media and/or email options, via the links above. In addition, you can contact Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo directly via Twitter using this link: @ArtAcevedo

Austin PD Officer Assaults and Interferes With Photographer

APD Officers involved:

Brewer #5607
Allegretti #7756
Hoke #7304
Cummings #7080
Aalbers #7591

With the amount of negative press that officers from the Austin Police Department are getting these days, one would think they would do everything they could to change their public image.  However, in yet another video by The Battousai they continued to demonstrate their hate for people exercising their constitutional rights.

Batt was filming a traffic stop that led to a DUI investigation.  He was filming from a public sidewalk, was over 30 feet away from the scene, and was not interfering with the officers at any time.  The stop began with just one officer and the driver being investigated.  Once the officer saw that he was being recorded, four more officers soon rolled up on the scene.

At 5:23 into the video, an officer identified as Officer Brewer, Badge #5607 approaches Batt and asks him to move back another 20 feet.  He tells the officer that he is on a public sidewalk and is far enough away from the scene and that he is not interfering. Brewer then assaults Battousai when he puts hands on him and pulls him onto private property.  Batt tells the officer several times to remove his hands from him.  He tells the officer that he is not going to stand on private property and moves back to the sidewalk.

Throughout the video, another officer; Officer Allegretti Badge #7756, keeps looking back to see where the camera is and then moves to block his shot.  Because of this, he has to keep moving to get a shot of the scene.  Brewer tells him to quit moving around and he tells the officer that if the officer would stop interfering with his photography, he wouldn’t have to keep moving.

According to APD Policy:

302.2 INTERACTION WITH COMMUNITY

(b1):  In areas open to the public, officers shall allow bystanders the same access for photography as is given to members of the news.  Officers shall be aware that:  3.  Public settings include parks, sidewalks, streets, and locations of public protests; but that protection extends also to an individual’s home or business, common areas of public or private facilities and buildings, and any other public or private facility at which the individual has a legal right to be present.

(c) As long as the photographing or recording takes place in a setting at which the individual has a legal right to be present and does not interfere with an officer’s safety or lawful duties, officer’s shall not inform or instruct people that photographing or recording of police officers, police activity or individuals who are the subject of police action (such as a Terry stop or an arrest) is not allowed; requires a permit; or requires the officer’s consent. Additionally, officers shall not:

1. Order that person to cease such activity;

2. Demand that person’s identification;

3. Demand that the person state a reason why he or she is taking photographs or recording;

4. Detain that person;

5. Intentionally block or obstruct cameras or recording devices; or

6. In any way threaten, intimidate or otherwise discourage an individual from recording officer’s enforcement activities.

Several of the officers present seemed to interact professionally with Battousai, but it’s quite apparent that Officer Brewer and Officer Allegretti are in need of retraining on the department’s policy when interacting with the public.  If these officer have nothing to hide, why do they seem to lose their minds every time a person films them?

The Battousai is a real professional when dealing with officer when he goes out and films them.  He is always polite and never puts himself into the situation.  His only interactions are when they approach him or when they are finished with their stop so that he can get names and badge numbers.  Don’t let his being polite confuse you into thinking it’s weakness.  This man knows the local laws and does not back down when one of these officers tries to challenge him on his actions.

Check out some of his other videos below:

Battousai also included the link to a story involving field sobriety tests that you may find informative:  Passing a Field Sobriety Test

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