No, seriously: Don’t talk to the cops

I’ve posted this before, but I think it’s worth repeating. I’ve actually read a few local stories where the police had limited leads, thought maybe they had the right suspect, but then someone threw magic fairy dust all over the place and the person just confessed. That’s all sunshine and flowers for those of us who abide by the law, but I hate the reason guilty people do it: police trick them into believing it is in their best interest to do so. That is rarely, if ever, the case. The police are not looking to help out those they suspect of crimes. That isn’t their job. And don’t think to yourself, ‘Oh, I’m innocent. Where’s the harm?’ You can still get screwed.

Unless your reason is that you need help, it isn’t worth the risk to talk to the police. If they come to you for whatever reason, turn them away (unless a loved one is injured or some similar incident, obviously). Don’t fill out or sign any affidavits, don’t tell them where you’ve been or where you’re going, and if you can avoid doing so, don’t even tell them who you are. (For my fellow Mainers, you have to give them your name and address during any traffic or terry stop, and if you’re trespassing, you have to tell them why you’re there. Only give out minimal information. The laws for every state can be found here.)

But for most of us, the situation isn’t going to be so significant as to require a lot of legal forethought like what’s in James Duane’s video above. Instead, most people are going to interact with police officers during traffic stops. There’s a way to handle those, too.

(Keep annotations on.)

There’s a longer version to that video where the kids actually had pot in their car, so they had good reason to be assertive in order to avoid a search. This may not be the best way for everyone to handle being pulled over. Sometimes there isn’t anything to hide, so asserting one’s rights is a good way to end up paying a $200 fine (like those kids) because the cop prefers his citizens friendly. But then there are times when it only seems like there isn’t anything to hide. Fast forward to the 22 minute point of this next video.

That video contains the entire clip with the first group of kids, but it’s the second kid who matters for this point. He may well have been innocent, but the fact that he allowed the police unnecessary access to his property got him in trouble. Keep watching for when he handles the situation correctly, giving minimal information. The police don’t need to know what they claim they should know.

Don’t talk to the cops.

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5 Responses

  1. Very interesting stuff. It’s unfortunate that citizens have to sustain this “us vs. them” attitude against the police but, unfortunately, I’ve seen too many cops act like assholes to believe that they always have my best interests at heart.

  2. Everyone certainly has the right not to speak to the police. You don’t have to let them search anything unless they have probable cause to do so. If you are stupid and don’t know your rights that’s not the officers fault when you say “go ahead” in response to “can I search your _____?”

    Maybe a bit less time playing play station and smoking dope and a bit more time in civics class.

  3. The first video does not include what the cop said about the not talking to cops. I would have liked to see their response.

  4. That video can be found in the related videos on the right at YouTube as well as right here.

  5. [...] Blago Posted on August 28, 2010 by Michael Hawkins The only interesting thing about Rod Blagojevich is that he was found guilty on one charge: lying to the FBI. Gee, what could have entirely prevented that conviction from happening? [...]

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