Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to deal with the police: 10 rules you should know if you are a US Citizen

Oh. That video's a bit long, you say?

Salient points: How to act around the police.

1. Always be calm and cool. Don't ever talk back. Being hostile with police is stupid and dangerous. Control your words, the tone of your voice, your demeanor. Check your ego at the door.

2. You always have the right to remain silent. Keep your mouth shut.

3. You have the right to refuse searches. Magic words: "I don't consent to searches". Assert your rights calmly.

4. Don't get tricked: the police can legally lie to you. Refusal to submit to search is not admission to any guilt. Best to never consent to a search.

5. Determine if you're free to go. Magic words: "Officer, are you detaining me, or am I free to go?"

6. Don't expose yourself. Police need reasonable suspicion; but reasonable suspicion is an easy threshold to meet if you are cocky and careless. If you wonder if the police have reasonable suspicion, ask if you're free to go.

7. Don't run. Ever.

8. Never touch a cop. Ever. Magic words: "I'm going to remain silent. I'd like to see a lawyer." Then shut your mouth. You can't talk your way out of a police interrogation without a lawyer.

9. Report police misconduct: be a good witness. Never ask for an officer's badge number; that's throwing napalm on a fire. Remember the details, the words spoken. Gather witnesses if any. If you were beaten, have a photo taken as soon as possible.

10. You don't have to let police in your home. Unless there's a serious emergency, they can't come in unless you invite them in. Don't. Talk to them outside your home. Magic words: "I can't let you in without a warrant." You don't even have to answer the door unless you have an emergency.

Provided as a public service. Now, go keep your nose clean.

h/t The Voice of Reason, found in comments on this post of how not to act around the police.


  1. Not bad advice. I've gotten out of a lot of tickets and even a public intoxication charge by being calm and personable.


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