Justice

Black Man's Run In With Cops Reveals Why Stop And Frisk Isn't the Only Law You Need to Know

On Monday, a handful of tweets from a Houston, Texas, man went viral, detailing how he was allegedly harassed, then assaulted by law enforcement for not producing an ID after being asked.

The unfortunate experience highlights an often overlooked way that police and other law enforcement can utilize to arrest people.

Stop and Identify statutes, though not as well known as Stop and Frisk, allows officers with a reasonable suspicion of a crime to arrest individuals that refuse to give them their IDs.

The black man who recorded the interactions in the viral video, who appears to be 19-year-old Marlin Gipson, can be heard in one video telling an uniformed man that he doesn't have his ID with him after the officer confronted him as to why he was going door-to-door in an unidentified neighborhood. Gipson's response was that he was simply leaving cards for his lawn mowing business.

It was then that the man in uniform pulled out handcuffs to arrest him and Gipson backed away. In a second video, Gipson can be heard telling an officer that he went home after the incident.

It was immediately believed online that the members of law enforcement were with the Houston Police Department (HPD). However, ATTN: spoke with HPD representatives that denied members of their department were involved in the incident. One representative speculated that the officers in the video were deputies with Harris County, though they were unsure.

A series of pictures were posted, with the videos by Gipson showing extensive injuries that were reportedly the result of "police" assaulting him with a Taser and police dog. However, there's no evidence from police reports or otherwise to confirm his claims. In one of the videos, an uniformed man with the word "CONSTABLE" on his vest can be seen approaching Gipson's residence, which suggests that the officer was with a smaller and more local department.

Furthermore, a representative of the Harris County Sherriff's Department directed ATTN: to Harris County's Precinct 1 after being asked about the videos. The precinct has yet to respond to inquiries from ATTN:. It also remains unclear whether Gipson was eventually arrested or what probable cause local law enforcement had to allegedly enter his home.

Lee Merritt, an attorney who reportedly represents Gipson, went on Facebook to post several statuses detailing more information about the incident:

Many people may not realize they live in one of the at least 24 states that have Stop and Identify laws.

Some states, like Arizona, though, have versions of the law that don't require Americans to give police officers their IDs and instead only requires that they truthfully give their full name upon request.

It's important to point out that it isn’t illegal to not have an ID with you in any state and that if police officers cannot detain you, which also requires a reasonable suspicion of a crime, then it's likely that they cannot arrest you for not providing an ID. This is one reason why some Know Your Rights advocates urge people to ask if they are detained or are free to go when being aggressively questioned by police on the street.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Stop and Identify laws in 2004 over concerns that it violated the 4th and 5th Amendments, which prohibits unreasonable searches and guarantee due process, respectively. Since then, the statues have been somewhat controversial in their use, as they have allowed for arrests for offenses as small as jaywalking.

There appears to be little reporting on what happened to Gipson, which department the members of law enforcement were associated with who were seen in the videos, and little information as to whether an investigation is underway at this time. ATTN: has reached out to Gipson, as well as the Harris County Constables and will update this story when we receive their responses.

Gipson has started a GoFundMe to raise $30,000 to cover the cost of his medical expenses in the wake of the police confrontation, an amount that some people on the page have questioned in the comments section.

Merritt wrote the following on his Facebook page: "Our office is investigating this matter and preparation for a Civil Rights suit against the department and officers involved."