Law enforcement, when done correctly, is critical, but we must all understand and use our rights that are provided by the Constitution. Bad and over-zealous law enforcement needs to be eliminated as much as crime itself–the ends do not justify the means.
Here is my first attempt to inform people of their rights and let them know what they should and should not do when they encounter police officers. As a former central Texas cop, I am particularly partial to this subject and it always amazed me how people would interact with me and other officers on a scene.
Try to remain calm and control your words, attitude, and body language/actions. Do not argue with the cop, even if you truly believe you are justified and the officer is wrong. I understand this is difficult and that you may be trembling with nervousness, but it is critical for you to gather your emotions here and control yourself.
1) Everything you say or do will be used against you if possible;
2) Never run from the officer;
3) Never touch the officer;
4) Never resist—you will only get hurt and face more charges;
5) Do not complain or tell the officer s(he) is wrong;
6) Remain silent – make no statements;
7) Refuse all searches, do not give in to their pressure to allow a search. Nothing the officer says should change your mind… refuse searches;
8 ) Ask for a lawyer if you are arrested and if any questions are being asked of you;
9) Try to take note of any witnesses, cameras, or “extra” officers;
10) Do not interfere or obstruct an officer’s action—that is a crime and you will go to jail for it;
11) If the officer says they have a warrant, ask to see it—if they refuse to show you, continue refusing to allow the search;
12) Never bad-mouth a police officer (even though it can be so hard not to—that’s your lawyer’s job);