When the police stop you on the street shut them down like this guy did.

Posted: September 27, 2014 in For your information, knowledge is power

A video posted on YouTube shows police officers harassing a man named J.C Playford on the side of a road. The man claims to be a journalist with “American News and Information Services.”

The guy is doing nothing illegal yet he is stopped by the police and is questioned.

So here is what you do if you are ever stopped by the police out in public. Some state and local laws may vary but these are some basic guidelines.

Film them. The police will almost invariably tell you that you do not have the right to film, as they do in the video below.This is not true. There are very limited circumstances where filming the police in the line of duty would be against the law. The only time that you legally cannot film the police is of doing so poses a direct harm to the officers on duty. Never make a sudden movement. If the police officer is in earshot of you tell them that you are reaching into your pocket to pull out your smart phone/camera.

Ask if you are being detained. This should be the first and probably the only thing you should say to a cop if you are stopped on the street. Police are trained to never directly say no to this question. Anything other than a clear variation of “Yes, you are being detained,” means you can leave without any need for any further engagement with the police. If the police have a gun pointed at you or other extreme display of authority while stopping you that is also a way a police officer can show that you are being detained. If the police officer does say that you are being detained, say nothing. You have the right to remain silent. You can continue recording the police while being detained, but you cannot leave.

Police do not have the right to search you. The only search that police can conduct is a “pat down” in order to check you for weapons. They can only pat down the top layer of your clothes. If the police feel anything at all in your pockets, then they have cause to search you under the suspicion that you may have a weapon. Never consent to any police search other than a pat down.

The mistake Playford made is that police are not required to tell a person why they are being detained. Police only have to tell you of what you have been arrested for after you have been arrested. Police do not have to inform you why you are being detained.

One other important thing to remember is that you do not have to give your name or show any form of identification to a police officer. The right to remain silent allows you to not give any information you do not want to give without prejudice.

Please visit the National Lawyers Guild website for more information.

Here’s the video:

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