You Have The Right . . .
- to be in a public place and to observe police activity.
If The Police Stop Anyone . . .
- STOP AND WATCH
- Write down officers’ names, badge numbers, and car numbers. Sometimes it can be difficult for a third party to get close enough to an officer to record their information without needlessly escalating the encounter. OFFICERS CAN BE IDENTIFIED BY THE NUMBERS ON THEIR VEHICLES.
- Record using your cell phone video camera, or write down the time, date, and place of the incident and all details as soon as possible.
- Ask if the person is being arrested, and if so, on what charge.
- Get eye witnesses’ name and contact information.
- Document any injuries as soon as possible.
If The Police Stop You . . .
- Ask, “AM I FREE TO GO?” If not, you are being detained.
- Ask, “WHY ARE YOU DETAINING ME?” To stop you, the officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” to suspect your involvement in a specific crime (not just a guess or a stereotype).
- It is not a crime to be without ID. If you are being detained or issued a ticket, you may want to show ID to the officer because they can take you to the station to verify your identity.
- If an officer tries to search your car, your house, or your person, say repeatedly that you DO NOT CONSENT TO THE SEARCH. If in a car, do not open your trunk or door – by doing so you consent to a search of your property and of yourself. If at home, step outside and lock your door behind you so officers have no reason to enter your house. Ask to see the warrant and check for proper address, judge’s signature, and what the warrant says the officers are searching for. Everything must be correct in a legal warrant. Otherwise, send the police away.
- The office can do a “pat-search” (search the exterior of one’s clothing for weapons) during a detention for “officer safety reasons.” They can’t go into your pockets ot bags without your consent. If you are arrested, they can search your possessions in great detail.
- DO NOT RESIST PHYSICALLY. Use your words and keep your cool. If officers violate your rights, don’t let them provoke you into striking back. Wait until you are out of custody, then organize for justice.
- Officers can arrest someone they believe is “interfering” with their actions. Maintain a reasonable distance, and it officers threaten to arrest you, EXPLAIN THAT YOU DON’T INTEND TO INTERFERE, BUT YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO OBSERVE THEIR ACTIONS.
If The Police Arrest You . . .
- You may be handcuffed, searched, photographed, and fingerprinted.
- Say repeatedly, “I DON’T WANT TO TALK UNTIL MY LAWYER IS PRESENT.”
- Even if your rights aren’t read, refuse to talk until your lawyer/public defender arrives.
- Do not talk to inmates in jail about your case.
- If you’re on probation/parole, tell your P.O. you’ve been arrested, but NOTHING ELSE.
REMEMBER you have legal rights – BE CAREFUL – BE STREET SMART