This submission is one of the better videos I’ve seen showing how to calmly, yet firmly, assert your rights and handle yourself when being harassed by the police. And obviously the first thing he does right is filming his interaction with the officers. It begins with Officer Deleon stating that he needs to see Gonzalez’ ID to make sure he “isn’t an illegal alien.” Deleon further states that this is based on the fact that Gonzalez is walking close to a border fence at night.
This is a pretty blatant case of profiling, based on the fact that Gonzalez is of Latino origin. I have very little doubt that if someone of another ethnicity were doing the same that it would be unlikely they would be stopped to check if they are in the country legally. Gonzalez subtly points that out by asking Deleon why he suspects that he is in the country illegally. And of course, much like someone shouldn’t have to prove that they “belong” in a certain neighborhood based on their appearance, people shouldn’t have to arbitrarily prove that they are a citizen (without even going into the many abuses justified and perpetuated by border controls and the hysteria surrounding them) based solely on their appearance, either.
A rather interesting exchange is when Officer Deleon begins asking Gonzalez questions about whether he has any weapons on him and responds to Gonzalez asking for his name and badge number by asking for his name. Each time, Gonzalez asserts his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent by stating, “I don’t answer questions.” In a frustrated voice, Deleon says, “you like to ask questions, though.” As a matter of fact, that is the exact proper way people should handle being questioned by police. The best course of action is to refuse to answer any questions and any conversation that you have with a cop should be to question them about the legalities of the situation in order to clarify if they are being accused of a crime. (Also, in order to get them on record stating what, if any, crime they think you might have committed or admitting that they don’t have any reason to suspect you of a crime.)
Toward the end of the video, Gonzalez turns the tables a bit and begins asking Officer Deleon if he and Officer Spinoza are “illegals.” He follows that up by stating that he needs Deleon to show him three forms of ID to establish if he is in the country legally. The real cherry on top of the whole exchange is when Deleon responds by again requesting ID from Gonzalez.
Gonzalez correctly explains that, unlike police officers, citizens aren’t required to provide ID unless they are suspected of committing a crime (and therefore legally detained) citing the Brown vs. Texas case. Another, more recent, case that pertains to requirements to produce ID is Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police could arrest someone for refusing to identify themselves, but only if they have reasonable suspicion to believe that someone has or was in the process of committing a crime.
In both cases, it was also ruled that citizens are not required to produce physical ID unless they are driving. They are only required to verbally identify themselves. In addition, the requirement even with reasonable suspicion only applies to states that have “stop and identify” statutes. Currently, there are twenty-four such states. The other states require an arrest in order to compel someone to provide identifying information.
Shortly after that, Gonzalez asks, “are you accusing me of committing a crime” and then when Deleon responds that he isn’t asks the Magic Question that lets you know whether you are being detained or just being harassed – “am I being detained?” When Officer Deleon states that he is not being detained, Gonzalez follows up with “then I’m free to go?” Once again Officer Deleon confirms that he is free to go and therefore not being detained. At that point, Gonzalez does the smart thing and simply leaves.
Date of Incident: December 08, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer Deleon Badge #208, Officer Spinoza Badge #858
Department Involved: San Luis (AZ) Police Department
Department Phone No.: 928-341-2420
Department Contact Page: Contact Us
Video Description (via Youtube):
I was walking home from my job in San Luis, AZ at 1:31am on December 08, 2016. While between San Luis and Gadsden, I was approached by a police officer who accused me of being an illegal immigrant. This is the video and audio documentation.
– Rudy Gonzalez Jr.
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