A video surfaced on Facebook showing an entrepreneurial Houston teenager being harassed by a cop for putting out business cards while his crew was mowing lawns. According to the post, later that day cops “broke into his home and attacked him with dogs,” although this has not been verified.
The video begins with an officer telling the young man named Marlin Gipson to “step over here” next to a vehicle which is presumably their lawn work truck. Lawn machinery can be heard in the background as others are going to and from the truck.
“When I saw you, you were going from door to door to door,” says the unidentified cop.
“Yeah, I’m putting my business cards out,” Marlin replies, holding a business card out for the cop. Later in the video, we see the Marlin hold his business card in front of a push mower.
“Well that’s what I’m trying to find out,” says the cop.
“Well that’s all you had to ask,” says the teen. “You see me cutting grass.”
Marlin seems to think the situation was de-escalating, but the cop was not done. He demands to see the teen’s ID.
It’s important to note at this point that Texas is not a ‘stop and ID’ state, so the teen was not required to show his ID or even answer any questions. And everyone has the right to invoke their 5th Amendment right to remain silent.
This what the police who suppose to serve and protect do to black ppl now ah days…. ps thts me pic.twitter.com/gPpVHpw5wM
— ElGuxop_Marly (@Elguxop_Marly) July 24, 2017
Instead, the teen fell into the cop’s trap. Law enforcement can prey on ignorance of the law and fish for anything incriminating or any behavior that can be used to escalate the situation. The teen said he doesn’t have it on him, so the cop proceeds to interrogate him and write down the information.
“Now what is all this for,” asks the teen after giving his name and date of birth. The teen said he was nineteen, but gave his date of birth as 10/12/1999, which would make him seventeen. This can be construed as providing false information to an officer, giving them grounds for arrest.
“Because I’m investigating what you’re doing,” said the cop with feigned incredulity.
Of course, it’s very obvious at this point what the teen was doing. There was a crew mowing lawns and the teen was putting out business cards and offered one to the cop. No damage was done to any vehicles and nothing illegal was taking place.
The cop tells a lie himself, insisting, “When an officer asks you for your ID, you’re supposed to provide your ID. You don’t have your ID. I don’t care what you’re doing.”
The teen then asks the cop for his card or his name, and that’s when the cop decides to arrest the teen
With the clear lack of any justification for escalating the situation, it has to be asked if this is a case of ‘cutting grass while black.’ Perhaps the cop, like others caught in racist moments, thought the teen looked like a ‘bad dude.’
As the officer brandishes handcuffs, the teen backs away, reminding the cop that he’s on video. Others on the crew notice and approach, asking why the teen is being harassed.
“You cannot put me in handcuffs, sir. Put them back in your pocket,” asserts the teen.
The video transitions to a segment “later that day,” presumably at the teen’s house well after the confrontation. The same cop, who apparently just can’t let go, is seen standing in his front yard.
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