What To Do When Stopped by Police

By DAVY V.

As a Filmmaker, the majority of my work has centered around exposing Police Brutality and Misconduct. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been approached or contacted by people who know my work, and they go into these very disturbing stories of being harassed or in some cases, even physically assaulted by the Police. And every time, when they finish recounting their experiences, I always ask the same question: “Ok, what did you do about it?” And every time, I get pretty much the same answer: “Well, nothing.” or sometimes, there may be a slight variation to the answer I get, such as: “I didn’t know what to do.” or “I felt like since they’re cops, they would automatically take their side and nothing would be done, or even worse, the cops who abused or mistreated me would retaliate against me, for filing a report against them.”

It is very sad, but true: There is an overwhelming percentage of people who either don’t know what to do if they have been a victim of Police Brutality or Misconduct, or they simply are too afraid to do anything! The result: Countless Police Brutality and Misconduct incidents go unreported, giving these rogue cops, the same ones who took an oath to “Serve and Protect”, a “free pass” to continue abusing innocent people!

I want to share with you something very important which everyone should know: Your rights, and what to do if you are stopped by the police, and what to do if you become a victim of police brutality or misconduct.

IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY THE POLICE:

YOUR RIGHTS:

– You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.

– You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.

– If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.

– You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.

– Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES:

– Do stay calm and be polite.

– Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.

– Do not lie or give false documents.

– Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.

– Do remember the details of the encounter.

– Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.

IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING:

Stay calm.

Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why. You have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions.

If you wish to remain silent, tell the officer out loud. In some states, you must give your name if asked to identify yourself.

You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect a weapon. You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.

IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR:

Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible.

Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window half way and place your hands on the steering wheel.

Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search.

Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent.

* ALWAYS TRY TO WRITE DOWN THE OFFICER’S NAME, BADGE NUMBER OR CAR NUMBER AND THE TIME YOU WERE STOPPED. PREFERABLY ALL FOUR.

Davy V.
keepitonthereelproductions@yahoo.com
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EPN

Davy V.

Davy V. is a Cuban-American Filmmaker, Video Producer, Photographer and Freelance Writer, best known for using the power of video and film to expose Police Brutality, Corruption and Misconduct. The son of the late Mario Vara, a community activist who for years fought against Police Brutality and Misconduct in Rochester, New York, Davy V. got his start in Television and Video by tagging along and working camera for his father's cable access television show, "La Voz Del Pueblo" (The Voice of The People). Davy V. later went on to produce and host "KEEP IT ON THE REEL", a cable access TV show with a mix of Hip Hop as well as issues affecting African-Americans and Latinos in Rochester, NY, such as Police Brutality and Misconduct. Some guests on the show included Treach, KayGee and Vinnie of Naughty by Nature, Method Man, Funkdoobiest, Da Youngstas, and the Rottin' Razkals. Davy V. won the U.S. ACM Video Festival Award for his Documentary, "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" about the Rochester, New York Police Department and their long history of misconduct, corruption and unnecessary killings of unarmed innocent citizens. "R.P.D. EXPOSED!" and Davy V.'s follow up, "R.P.D.: Badges of DISHONOR, CORRUPTION and MURDER!" were both screened at the National Hip Hop Political Convention at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Davy V.'s work has been featured in publications such as THE SOURCE Hip Hop Magazine, URBAN AMERICA Magazine, The Ave. Magazine, Insider Magazine, La Voz Newspaper, Minority Reporter Newspaper, CNY LATINO Newspaper, DOWN Magazine, as well as on television news stations, and programs such as CNN and Inside Edition. In addition to his freelance writing, Davy V. also writes a monthly Op/Ed Column for LA VOZ Magazine and Minority Reporter Newspaper. In June 2012, Davy V. joined Cop Block as a regular contributor.