Know Your Rights! A Few Simple Questions to Ask When Stopped by the Police

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Shawn Peterman of Southeast Alabama Cop Block shared this post, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

A little knowledge and a few words can go a LONG way toward getting a cop to leave you alone and move on to easier prey.

Two simple phrases that could change the way the police deal with people everywhere:

  1. “Officer, am I being detained or am I free to go?” Saying that line will usually make a cop believe that you are very aware of your rights (even if you’re not). It will also usually encourage him/her leave you alone and look for easier prey. In order to detain you, he/she must at least suspect you of committing a specific crime.
  2. “Officer, I am not resisting you, but I do not consent to ANY searches.” Say that loud and clear, and in front of witnesses. Prisons are full of people who claim that the cops put drugs in their vehicles. True or not, saying this will usually stop cops from searching or least make them send for a dog. In either case, this will often encourage them find easier prey.

Bonus:

“Officer, I’d prefer to not produce ID at this time. What crime do you suspect me of committing?”

Great line for a pedestrian stop. While you have to show ID in a traffic stop in Alabama (and most other states), according to Alabama law (2006 Alabama Code – Section 15-5-30) law enforcement is only able to demand ID from a person that he/she “reasonably suspects is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a felony or other public offense.” Even then, he’s only allowed to demand your name, address and your reason for being where you are. Check your local laws. Remember this the next time you’re walking down the street and a cop appears and demands your papers.

For more information, check out: www.flexyourrights.org, www.copblock.org facebook.com/southeastalabamacopblock

– Shawn Peterman
Southeast Alabama Cop Block

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Kelly W. Patterson

a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who's been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He's also the founder/main contributor of Nevada CopBlock, Editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official CopBlock Press Passes. ____________________________________________________________________________ If you appreciate Kelly's contributions to CopBlock, consider donating to the CopBlock Network and/or visiting the CopBlock Store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Kelly at these social networks; Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.