Never Talk to the Police
2008 - YouTube (48:40)
• Prof. James Duane of the Regent University School of Law
• Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department
Prof. Duane explains why he is proud of the 5th Amendment, will never, ever talk to the police without a lawyer, and you shouldn't either. Don't take his word for it; he cites the advice of Nuremberg Trial Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prof. Duane is animated and interesting. This lecture is an eye-opener and goes by quickly.
Officer George Bruch candidly agrees in the second half.
Talking is dangerous because there are so many laws that you break every day. You are usually protected by invisibility. The police need to see "probable cause" to examine you further. You are clearly visible when they are asking questions, so watch out.
The power of government, the expansion of law, and the intricate rules governing your life make you the servant of government.
This defense attorney demonstrates how breathalyzers can be mishandled to report alcohol levels that are twice the actual level, the difference between freedom and jail.
See also his website.
10 Rules for Dealing With the Police
2010 - YouTube (38:40)
Baltimore trial attorney Billy Murphy gives advice. You may have seen him on "The Wire" on HBO.
The following are my notes. They give an idea of what is in the video, but I don't present these notes as being accurate or complete.
(1) Always be calm and cool. No profanity, insults, or backtalk. Do not challenge the authority of the officer. Keep your hands visible. Turn on the car interior light, to show that you are not armed. Do not reach for anything until asked for your papers. You may frighten the officer and provoke a bad response.
(2) You have the right to remain silent. Police do not have to read you your rights. Be polite, but do not make extra statements.
(3) You have the right to refuse searches. Be polite but firm. "Officer, I have nothing illegal, but I don't consent to searches." Do not say "I know my rights" or be confrontational. Saying no may not stop the search, but it makes it possible to challenge the search later in court.
(4) Don't get tricked. The police may order you out of your vehicle, so comply. Comply with all orders of the officer. The police may legally lie to you about what they might do. Remain calm in the face of threats, and continue to refuse a search when asked. The officer may not like this, but he will be more careful about violating your rights. This refusal is not evidence against you.
(5) Determine if you are free to go. Ask the officer "Excuse me officer, are you detaining me or am I free to go?" This establishes that you are not staying voluntarily. Do not refuse any orders by the officer. Leave calmly if they do not specifically detain or restrain you.
(6) Don't expose yourself to suspicion. An officer needs some reasonable suspicion to stop and search you. Don't show provocative bumper stickers, or for example, empty baggies (used for drugs), paint cans (vandalism), or items with price tags attached (theft).
(7) Never run from the police. They may pat you down for weapons, and pull suspicious items from your pocket. You may refuse to present items. "Officer, I will not resist, but I do not consent to a search." Only refuse verbally, not physically, and follow all orders.
(8) Never touch the officer. He may charge you with assault and arrest you just for that act. Respond to questions such as "You deal drugs, don't you?" with "I'm going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer." Do not be tricked. They may continue questioning you, but you need not answer, and should not answer. You cannot talk your way out of an interrogation or arrest, so wait to have an attorney as needed. Do not rely on the police to tell the truth about your situation or what will happen to you.
(9) Report police misconduct. Remember as much as possible to be a good witness. Do not tell them that you might make a complaint. Remember their badge numbers, but do not ask them for these numbers. That will incite them.
(10) You do not have to let the police into your home, and should not unless they have a warrant from a judge. Talk to them outside and close the door behind you, or use your chain lock to maintain a bar to entry. Say "I can't let you in without a warrant", even if they make the request again to enter and search your property.
If you consent to a search, you will be liable for any item that is illegal, whether you know about it ahead of time or not. Are you sure there is no marijuana cigarette lost in the couch cushions? If you agree to a search, they will stay as long as they want to, searching what they want to. You might ask them to leave, but they don't have to leave after a search has begun.
[edited]: A family in Arvada, Colorado cooperated fully with the police. The police then arrested their 11 year-old son and led him from his home in handcuffs. He had drawn stick figures in school earlier that day, one with a gun. His therapist had told him to draw stick figures to deal with his emotions.
If the Arvada parents had followed the defensive rules below, their son probably would not be on probation with a criminal record for being a boy.
- Do not expect authorities to respect or inform you of your rights.
- Record the encounter if possible. Write down names and badge numbers and ask how to contact an immediate supervisor.
- Ask to see a search warrant before admitting police into your home. Once inside, police can search for weapons, observe possible violations of law, and collect evidence.
- Do not resist if an officer pushes in. Passively refuse to cooperate and call a lawyer.
- You need not allow any questioning without a court order, nor are you required to speak to authorities. Seemingly harmless information can be used against your child. State as often as necessary, “I have nothing to say.”
- Ask for the nature of the complaint and the number of the state statute or local ordinance they allege has been violated.
- Have a copy of your state’s laws on hand, as you might have a phone book or dictionary.
Flex Your Rights.org
A site devoted to the rights of citizens when dealing with the police.