Alleged assault on Marble Falls officers during traffic stop prompts tips for other motorists

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Christine Causey Burns

Christine Causey Burns

MARBLE FALLS — A traffic stop that could have resulted in a warning ended with a motorist allegedly assaulting two police officers and landing in jail facing a felony charge, according to the Marble Falls Police Department.

The incident occurred at about 3:30 p.m Jan. 28 at the intersection of Avenue M and Second Street in Marble Falls.

The motorist, 33-year-old Christine Causey Burns, was pulled over by Sgt. James Cole and Officer Ben Masters, the report stated.

What happened over the course of the interaction has served as a precautionary tale for motorists, officials said.

“She ran a stop sign. The officer went up to talk to her. Apparently, she rolled up her window, refused to talk to him, refused to (identify) herself, refused to exit the vehicle,” Det. Sgt. Barry Greer said. “She ultimately exited the vehicle. While being placed under arrest for failure to identify … she struck Sgt. Cole.

“Officer Masters was injured as well,” he said.

Ultimately, the officers arrested Burns and charged her with assault on a public servant, a third-degree felony; resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor; and failure to identify, a class C misdemeanor.

Cole reported hand and face injuries, while Masters suffered a neck injury.

The incident provided an example of restraint by officers in an agency that emphasizes “de-escalation” tactics.

Some of the situations these guys have been in, they would have been justified in using deadly force,” Greer said. “But we train these guys in de-escalation techniques so they don’t have to use deadly force.

“They did a great job from what I read,” he added about the handling of the Jan. 28 incident. “They handled it as they were trained using the minimum amount of force necessary.”

After Burns was booked into the Burnet County Jail, both officers returned to work.

“She turned a misdemeanor into a felony by her actions by failing to do her duty to identify herself and comply with the officer’s demands,” Greer said. “Just because we stop you doesn’t automatically mean you get a ticket.

“We write more warnings than we do citations,” he added. “The side of the road is not the place to debate the violation that has or has not occurred. The courtroom is the appropriate place.”

The Marble Falls Police Department offered motorists the following words of advice if stopped by an officer:

• Make sure you pull over in a safe, practical manner as soon as possible.

• As the officer approaches the vehicle, keep your hands visible.

• Roll down your window at the officer’s request.

• Wait for the officer’s instruction to produce the proper documents (avoid rummaging in a console or purse before the officer asks for documents).

• Explain to the officer what you are about to retrieve upon his or her request.

• Avoid sudden movements that might cause suspicion.

• Do not exit the vehicle unless you are requested to do so by the officer.

• If the officer requests you exit your vehicle, comply and await further instructions.

“We enforce traffic laws to keep the roadways safe for you and your children. It’s a privilege that we all have,” Greer said. “You don’t have an inherent right to drive. You have to abide by certain rule and laws to keep that privilege.”

Multiple attempts to reach Burns at her residence after she was released from jail Jan. 30 were unsuccessful.

editor@thepicayune.com

8 Responses to “Alleged assault on Marble Falls officers during traffic stop prompts tips for other motorists”

  1. Steve says:

    Have to call B.S. on the possible warning. I got stopped several years ago for speeding and the young officer said if they initiate a traffic stop they have to issue a citation. Don’t EVER expect a warning in M.F.

  2. Tgm says:

    I always thought you DID NOT have to identify yourself unless your being accused of a criminal action. Which balsa now makes me ask why when being pulled over and if your a passenger in a vehicle do you have to submit your information when your not the one driving or being issued a ticket or warning persay??? I think that is really uncalled for and as far as I know on a case like that the passenger legally doesn’t have to produce any identification is that the law today or am I miss informed..

  3. Dawn says:

    I beg to differ. I have received just as many warnings as I have citations from the MFPD. They have only shown me respect and courtesy in any interaction I have had with them.

  4. mike says:

    I’f you are driving a vehicle and they have probable cause to pull you over then you have to produce a drivers license. I’f they suspect you of a crime they can ask for identification. They must be able to articulate what crime they suspect you of committing. If you are a passenger in a vehicle and they don’t suspect you of a crime then you don’t have to produce identification – they have to have a legal basis to ask you for. They like to say that you are acting suspicious. That is not a crime – nor do you have to produce id for that as well.

  5. Christine Burns says:

    This is so not true, I was the one assault. I was pull from my vehicle by 4 officers and my hands was force behind my back, when all they had to do was ask. I was never ask to identify myself. I would never put my hands on one, my father is a former police officer so I have the most up respect for them. This is so not true but I’ll fight this in court. I hope they wear body cameras because the true would be told. God bless and I apologize for any trouble I may have cause.

    • J.B says:

      So an officer with many years of experience and another officer pulls you over and then stands there? Never asks for I.D.? I’m not buying it. I’m no fan of MFPD but I think you’re pushing the victim card.

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