What should you SAY and DO when stopped by police?
Hypothetically, you’re walking down the street headed to lunch. You hear someone behind you saying, “Hey you, STOP!” You turn around, see cops 🚓👮🏼♂️👮🏻♀️, and realize they are yelling at you. What do you say and do when you’re stopped by police on the street? 🚨
- 🤷🏻♂️ “AM I FREE TO LEAVE?” You don’t know why you’re being stopped, so don’t assume that everything is okay. If you’re stopped by police, it could be for innocent reasons or you could be a suspect–and police won’t tell you which one unless you ask this question. If the cop says yes, LEAVE! If the cop says no, then stay there but say….
- 🙋🏼♀️“I HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT.” Exercise your constitutional right. Don’t say a damn thing! The ONLY information you must give is your name or birthdate. If you choose not to provide identification, you could be charged with Failure to Disclose Identity, a Class B Misdemeanor.
- 🙅🏽♂️“I DO NOT CONSENT TO YOUR SEARCH” If police want to search your car, home, property, force them get a search warrant signed by a judge. You don’t look innocent when you say yes–you look foolish. Having nothing to hide is the best reason to say no because it forces police to establish probable cause that you’re committing a crime. If you agree to the search, cops may find something that you didn’t put there. Warrantless searches are allowed in some circumstances, but always say no if asked.
An officer can pat you down if they suspect a weapon. If you’re arrested, police can search your person and any property they seize, including your vehicle.
- ✌🏼BE POLITE and firm. Police deal with challenging people all day. If you’re polite, you may not only be treated better, but you’ll look better on the recording while the cop looks like a jerk. Prosecutors don’t like cops who are abusive.
- 🤳🏼RECORD the interaction with your phone. Tell the cop you are reaching for your phone so he doesn’t think you’re a threat. If the cop says to stop recording, ask “Is your body camera recording?” If not, ask to put the phone where it can record the interaction. Recording your interaction is legal if it doesn’t interfere with the arrest.
- 🖐🏽COOPERATE PHYSICALLY. If asked to put your hands behind your back, do it. If asked to get into a police car, do it. Don’t fight physically or verbally. The time to fight is in court with lawyers, not on the street.
- 🤐 BUT DON’T SAY A DAMN THING!🤐