Date: Tue, 11 May 93 15:16:07 -0400
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Faux Joe)
Subject: Dealing with Police (in light of the FMR)
When you talk to a police office, it is certainly not an easy thing. They are usually decent people, but they have to deal with some bizarre individuals; you as a ravers are usually decent people, but *anyone* will get nervous when having to deal with a police officer. Tensions are high on both sides, and it's easy to get intimidated by the nice man with the gun.
Take deep breaths and remember this:
It is against the law for officers to search you without your permission, threaten or coerce you into letting them search you, or asking you questions you don't want to answer. It violates your fourth amendment rights that protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures, and guarantee you reasonable degree of privacy.
When an officer stops your car, or comes across you in your stopped car, or approaches you in a public space, and asks to see inside your car, bag, pockets, etc., you have the right to politely say "no, you may not".
If they threaten you, stay inside your car or at a comfortable distance and calmly tell them that they cannot search you without your permission, and you do not wish to be searched. If you are inside your car, keep the window rolled down only about an inch.
Above all, do NOT let yourself be intimidated. They may have guns, but YOU have rights.
For example -- let's say you catch a flat on the way to a Full Moon Rave, and a local dinky police cruiser comes along.
Officer says: "Where are you going?" You say : "Our destination isn't important. Our tire is flat; we'll be on our way after we change it." Officer says: (shining light in back seat) "What's in those backpacks back there?" You say : "The contents of our backpacks are private. If you wish to search the inside of this car, please ask. We will be on our way shortly." Officer says: "May I search your car?" You say : "No, you may not search my car." Officer says: "Well, can I see what's inside those backpacks?" You say : "No, you may not search our backpacks. If you would like to search our backpacks, please obtain a search warrant." Officer says: "Please step out of the vehicle." You say : "If you have an arrest warrant or a search warrant, please show it to me. If you have none of those, I am not required to leave my vehicle." Officer says: "You're being very uncooperative, I could arrest you for that." You say : "I will cooperate with you, but I have the fourth amendment right to refuse your requests. If you present me with a search warrant, I will gladly cooperate."
Being stopped for a moving violation DOES NOT give the officer the right to search your vehicle.
Being approached in a public place (as in the FMR this past week) DOES NOT give the officer the right to search you, your belongings, or "impound" your equipment.
You DO NOT have to tell an officer anything that you do not want to, and they CANNOT force you to do so; they also cannot use your refusal to answer as an excuse to search or arrest you.
If you get an officer who decides to ignore your fourth amendment rights and informs you that s/he is going to arrest you, let them. When you are brought back to the police barracks, complain politely but firmly that your fourth amendment rights have been violated.
If you are found with anything contraband on you, remember that it is inadmissable in court, having been found as the result of an illegal search, seizure, or arrest.
Please call your local police department and confirm this before you act on it; I beleive these are federal guidelines, but they may vary from state to state depending on the state Supreme Court.
|-|-|-|-|-|-/\-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| Joe Turner <<>> email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org