A video was recently released detailing the death of a 17 year-old who had been stopped for flashing his lights at an on-coming vehicle. The traffic stop ended with his death. Here is an example of a citizen killed after failing to provide information.
Now consider the dead kid was stopped for a minor traffic offense the officer explained had not resulted in a citation in earlier interactions. Then consider that withholding public information is a higher level of offense. In Texas, it is the same level as a DWI. The Texas Attorney General has repeatedly ruled that as long as a requestor eventually gets some information, it’s No Harm, No Foul.
This is how the law actually reads:
Sec. 552.221. APPLICATION FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION; PRODUCTION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION. (a) An officer for public information of a governmental body shall promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both on application by any person to the officer. In this subsection, “promptly” means as soon as possible under the circumstances, that is, within a reasonable time, without delay.
If you apply that to a similar level of offense, say DWI, as long as a suspected drunk driver at some point sobered up and was no longer drunk they would not be charged. Neither could a person be prosecuted for failure to identify if at some point the police learned their identity. You really don’t have to be imaginative enough to think how that might play out since you can just review the first link and get a pretty good idea how that would work out.
Shiny badges do grant extra privileges. You will do what they say or go to jail and even though the law requires them to do something, there is not a damn thing you can do if they don’t.