Know your rights: how to behave with the police in the United States

If you are stopped by the police — you’ve got a stressful experience. Edition the ACLU describes the requirements of the law and offers strategies for behavior during meetings with the police. You can’t assume for sure that the employees will behave in a certain way or to respect your rights. But you have to know these rights. Remember that you can reduce the risk to yourself, keeping calm and not showing hostility towards officers.

Знайте свои права: как вести себя с полицейскими в США

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You are stopped by the police in public

Your rights

You have the right to remain silent. For example, you don’t have to answer any questions about where you are going, where they came from, what you do or where you live. If you wish to exercise your right to remain silent voicing this desire out loud (in some States you may need to provide your name, if you are asked to identify yourself and the officer can arrest you for refusing to do so).

You are not required to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, but police may hold their hands over your clothes if you suspect that you have a weapon. Please note that failure will not prevent the employee to carry out a search against your will, but timely objection before or during a search can help to keep your rights in any subsequent litigation.

If you are arrested by police you have the right to government-appointed lawyer if you cannot afford it.

You do not need to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a citizen of the United States or how you entered the country (separate rules apply at international borders and airports, as well as for those with certain nonimmigrant visas, including tourists and business travelers).

How to reduce the risk to themselves

Calm down. Don’t run away, don’t fight and don’t let officers. Do not lie or give false documents. Keep your hands where police can see them.

What to do if you are detained or arrested

Let’s say you want to silence and immediately asked for a lawyer. Do not give any explanation or excuses. Don’t say anything, don’t sign anything and don’t make any decisions without a lawyer. If you were arrested by the police, you have the right to make a local phone call, the police cannot listen if you call a lawyer, but it’s easy to do this if you collect anyone else.

If you believe that your rights have been violated

Write down everything you remember, including badges of the officers and rooms of the patrol cars, what Agency were the officers, and any other details. Get the contact details of witnesses.

If you are injured, immediately seek medical attention and take pictures of your injuries.

File a written complaint with the Department of internal Affairs of the Agency or in the civil complaints Commission. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish.

What can you do if you witnessed abuse by the police

Stand at a safe distance and filmed happening. Until you are interfering in what the officers do and are not close enough to impede their movement, you have the right to observe and record events that are clearly visible in public areas.

Do not try to hide the fact that you are recording. In many States you have to let people know that you write them down. Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant, and they can’t delete your photographs or video under any circumstances. If the officer orders you to stop recording or orders you to hand your phone, you should politely but firmly tell him that you do not agree to this, and to remind the officer that taking photos or video is your right under the First amendment. Keep in mind that you can be arrested for refusing, even if their orders are illegal. Compare risks.

Regardless of whether you are able to record the video, write down text anything you can remember, including the rooms of the officers ‘ badges and patrol cars, what Agency were the officers, how many officers were present and their names, any use of weapons (including less lethal weapons such as tasers or batons), and any injuries that they have caused. If you can talk to a person stopped by police after leaving the site, this person can find your contact details helpful in case it decides to file a complaint or a lawsuit against the police.

The police made you pull over

Your rights

Both the drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you can leave. If so, silently leave the car.

How to reduce the risk to themselves

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

Turn off car, turn on interior lights, partially open the window and put your hands on the wheel. If you are in the passenger seat, put your hands on the dashboard.

Upon request, show police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.

Avoid sudden movements and keep your hands where the officer can see them.

Otherwise, follow the instructions in the first paragraph: “If you are arrested in public.”

The police calling at your door

Your rights and how to reduce the risk to themselves

You don’t have to invite the officer into your home. Talk through the door and ask to see your ID. You don’t need to let police officers, if they will not show you the warrant signed by the judicial official that shows your address as the place to be searched or on which lists your name as the subject of the arrest warrant.

Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or bring it to the window, so you can read it. A search warrant allows police to enter at the address specified in the warrant, but the officers may search only those areas and items that are listed in the list. The arrest warrant indicates the name of the person subject to arrest.

Even if the officer has a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to answer questions or to talk with the officers while they are in your home and conduct the search. Stand silently and watch what they do, where they go and what they charge. Write down everything you watched as carefully as possible.

If your rights have been violated

Write down everything you remember, including admissions officers and numbers of patrol cars, what Agency were the officers, and any other details. Get the contact details of witnesses.

File a written complaint with the Department of internal Affairs of the Agency or in the civil complaints Commission. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish.

How to be a responsible witness

If you are a guest in the house and went to the door, you must make it clear to the police that you are a guest and have no right to let the officers in without the permission of the landlord.

You were arrested the police

How to prepare for a possible arrest

Prepare yourself and your family in case you get arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family and your lawyer. Make a plan of action in emergency situations, if you have children or you are taking medications.

Do not resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair. Follow the instructions of the officers.

You have the right to remain silent, call a lawyer, to record all the data and shoot video, pay attention to how to do it right, in “You are stopped by the police in public.”

The police violated your rights

Possible write down everything you remember, including officers ‘ rooms badges and patrol cars, as well as the Agency in which they work. To obtain contact information of witnesses.

If you are injured, immediately seek medical attention and take pictures of your injuries. File a written complaint with the Department of internal Affairs of the Agency or in the civil complaints Commission.

IN THE UNITED STATES

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US police

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