State law sets some parameters for when police officers may use force or deadly force. However, local police departments have a lot of leeway in setting their own policies on what types of actions are permitted and when those actions are permitted. Also, local governments can make laws that ban or curtail certain practices (such as choke holds or use of tear gas). School districts who employ school resource officers (SROs) and college campuses with their own police forces can also set their own policies. Be sure to check the laws and department policies in your area.
For general information about recording in a public place or recording conversations, see our Recording Laws research guide. Despite your general rights to record, your right to record the police can be restricted in certain circumstances. See the resources below for more information.
Texas law only requires that you show your ID to a police officer under certain circumstances. These circumstances include: after you've been arrested, when you are driving, and when you are a License to Carry holder carrying a handgun.
Most complaints about a particular officer and their actions can be reported to the department where the officer works. Your local government may have an Office of Police Oversight or similar department that can take the complaint. Misconduct can also be reported to the office of the county or district attorney. Civil rights investigations are handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In addition to criminal charges, citizens can bring civil lawsuits against the police in certain circumstances. An attorney could advise you on what course of action to take if you are considering this aproach.
Aside from the police, there are many organizations that can help with problems or issues you are facing. Below are some organizations that may be able to provide you with assistance.