State Senator Estes files ‘Freedom to Film Act’


 Senator Craig Estes

Texas State Senate District 30

For Immediate Release

April 17, 2013

Contact: Liz White


Texas veteran releases video documenting his illegal arrest

Freedom to Film Act by Estes confirms the legality of filming the police

Austin – Army Master Sergeant. C.J. Grisham, a decorated war veteran, was recently arrested in Temple, Texas while on a hike with his 15-year old son trying to help him earn a Boy Scout merit badge. Yesterday, Grisham released a video of the incident, which shows police mistreating Grisham and accusing him of “rudely displaying” a weapon. Sgt. Grisham was eventually charged with resisting arrest.

The video was taken by Grisham’s son and clearly shows that Grisham did not resist arrest.  Police later reduced the charges  to “interfering with a peace officer while performing a duty”, which is a Class B misdemeanor.

“Stories like these are why I have filed SB 897, which makes it clear that Texans have a right to film police in the performance of their duties,” Estes said. “Fortunately in this case, Sgt. Grisham was able to document the incident and the proof is on his side.”

As the use of smartphones has proliferated in recent years, there has been a disturbing trend of Texas citizens being harassed by law enforcement for filming, photographing, and recording law enforcement officers, even though doing so is perfectly legal.

SB 897 seeks to clarify that a citizen is not acting unlawfully by filming police officers during the course of their normal duties. Under the bill, if a citizen is charged with a crime for filming the police, such as interference with public duties, failure to obey the police, or assaulting an officer, and is subsequently acquitted, the citizen may recover the costs of defending the frivolous charges.

“My hope is that this bill will cause Texas law enforcement to think twice before arresting and charging a person who is doing nothing more than filming the police,” Estes said. “The police are
public servants, so they should not be doing anything that they would not want caught on film.”

Watch the video here:

Estes serves nearly 820,000 constituents across Senate District 30 which includes all of Archer, Clay, Cooke, Erath, Grayson, Jack, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wichita, Wise, and Young counties and parts of Collin and Denton counties.


Elizabeth (Liz) White

Legislative Director, Senator Craig Estes

(512) 463-0130


One response

  1. Senator_Blutarsky

    Maybe moderate-liberal democrat in R costume, Craig Estes, has FINALLY done something constructive for Liberty and the Bill of Rights. I fully support any and all citizens to film “peace officers” ( you know – those guys to “protect and to serve”).

    After all, as they like to get in YOUR face and say ” well what have you got to hide?”, we can say it right back to them.

    “A few lessons here: Always have your camera ready to record all interactions with law enforcement. You do not have to comply with illegal orders. You do not have to get out of a vehicle when there is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause. If you’re not driving, you don’t have to show ID. As illustrated by Terry Bressi at the great website CheckpointUSA.Org, you are not obligated to answer any questions at internal suspiconless warantless checkpoints. ”

    full column, well worth the read –

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