The person submitting this didn’t include many details, nor does the video itself have much of a description on YouTube. However, the commentary included at the beginning, as well as the actual interaction captured on the video, are pretty self explanatory. It seems to be a fairly obvious case of the police harassing someone for simply walking down the street and which is more likely to occur when the person being harassed is a minority (often referred to as “walking while black“) and/or in a neighborhood police perceive them to not “belong” in.
It’s also not unusual for the police to lie about having received a report of a crime nearby and state that the people they are in the process of harassing match the description of a suspect in that supposed crime. One of the prime giveaways in this particular instance that this is the case is that one of the officers says they don’t have a description of the person who fled from a traffic accident, while the other says that the two people being profiled match the description of the suspect who fled.
It’s good that these guys had the wherewithal and foresight to record their interaction with these predators, so that if anything violent or otherwise abusive had occurred they would have a clear record of what exactly happened. Of course, as has been seen many times on this site, filming the police can also act as a deterrent to such threats, as well.
In spite of that, they did make some serious errors within the video. In the future, they should understand that they are not required to identify themselves unless they are being legally detained. In order for them to be detained legally, it is required that a police officer has reason to believe that the person to be detained is committing, is about to commit, or has already committed an offense. The police also have to identify themselves in order to detain someone (or any other time when asked).
At anytime someone is stopped by the police, they should ask if they are in fact being detained or are free to go. If they are not being detained, then they should simply leave. Anytime you can avoid an “interaction” with the police, it’s more than likely in your best interest to do so. That especially applies when it involves cops who are obviously on a fishing expedition. In addition, they should ask for the name and badge number of the officer(s). Outside of the possibility that you could actually be dealing with someone pretending to be a cop, the reason that is important is so that if something happens that necessitates the filing of a complaint or some other action you have the identity of every officer involved.
Another issue is the fact that the cop tells them that they are required to submit to a search because they are on probation and that he was only asking as a courtesy because they were being so cooperative. While it’s true that many courts will impose a search clause as part of probation, that’s not necessarily true in every case (in relation to patrol officers) and even in those cases there are restrictions. One restriction is that the searches are not “arbitrary or harassing.” Another restriction is that the officer has to know that you are on probation and have a search clause at the time of the search. Once again, reporting your probation status to a police officer is not necessarily a requirement of parole. So exercising your Fifth Amendment right to stay silent may prevent them from forcing you to submit to a search based on probation status.
As everyone that reads CopBlock regularly should know, cops are allowed and even trained to lie in order to get people to incriminate themselves. Police also generally don’t ask for your permission unless they have to. Therefore, there is a pretty decent chance that these guys agreed to allow what would have been an illegal search if they hadn’t consented to it.
No one should ever consent to a search voluntarily, if for no other reason than simply to discourage the police from stopping people simply because they know most people are prone to allow searches. Essentially, this gives them an incentive to go on fishing expeditions targeting certain areas and/or demographics and playing the odds that harassing everyone within that specific group/location will yield a worthwhile percentage of easy arrests.
Date of Incident: August 16, 2015
Department Involved: Normal Police Department
“Watch as the officers lie about a crime that never happened just to have a reason to stop, search, and see what these innocent young black men are doing.”