Top Cop Tells How To Handle Police Encounters

Neill Franklin is the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He advised the producers of the film 10 Rules for Dealing with Police and dispenses his best advice on dealing with cops for Huffington Post:

As a 33-year law enforcement veteran and former training commander with the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department, I know how easy it is to intimidate citizens into answering incriminating questions or letting me search through their belongings. This reality might make things easier for police looking to make an easy arrest, but it doesn’t always serve the interests of justice. That’s why I believe all citizens should understand how to protect their constitutional rights and make smart decisions when dealing with officers of the law.

Unfortunately, this important information has remained largely unavailable to the public, despite growing concerns about police misconduct and the excesses of the war on drugs. For this reason, I agreed to serve as a technical consultant for the important new film, 10 Rules for Dealing with Police. The 40-minute docudrama aims to educate the public about basic legal and practical survival strategies for handling even the scariest police encounters. It was produced by the civil liberties group Flex Your Rights and is narrated by former federal judge and acclaimed Baltimore trial lawyer William “Billy” Murphy, Jr.

The opening scene portrays Darren, a young black man getting pulled over. He’s driving home from college. This is the fifth time he’s been pulled over in a year. Frustrated and scared, Darren immediately breaks Rule #1: Always Be Calm & Cool. Mouthing off to the officer, Darren aggressively exits the car and slams the door. The officer overreacts, dropping Darren with a taser shot to his chest.

Should the officer have tased Darren in that situation? Probably not. Would the officer likely be disciplined? No. But that’s not the main point of 10 Rules. The point is that the choices you make during the course of such encounters have a massive impact on whether it ends with a simple warning, a tasing — or worse. This is true even if you’ve done nothing illegal.

While being calm and cool is key to getting the best possible outcome, it’s not enough to keep police from violating your constitutional rights. For example, when the officer commandingly asks Darren “You’re not hiding any AK-47s in there? You don’t mind if I take a look?”, Darren gets tricked like most people do.

Intimidated and unaware of other options, he consents to the search. The officer carelessly dumps his bags, accidentally shattering Darren’s laptop on the asphalt. In another “what if” scenario, the officer finds a small amount of marijuana hidden away. While someone else might have left it there, Darren winds up getting arrested.

What few people understand, but police know all too well, is that your constitutional rights only apply if you understand and assert them. Unless they have strong evidence (i.e. probable cause) police need your permission to search your belongings or enter your home. The instant you grant them permission to invade your privacy, many of your legal protections go out the window and you’re left on the hook for anything illegal the police find, as well as any damage they cause in the process…

[continues at Huffington Post]

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  • Ironaddict06

    American citizens also need to know that any time you deal with law enforcement, you have legal access to all of the paper work. Under the Freedom of Information act, you have access to all reports. Yes, you probably will need a lawyer to help you through the process, because you most likely will be stone walled.

  • Ironaddict06

    American citizens also need to know that any time you deal with law enforcement, you have legal access to all of the paper work. Under the Freedom of Information act, you have access to all reports. Yes, you probably will need a lawyer to help you through the process, because you most likely will be stone walled.

  • Ironaddict06

    American citizens also need to know that any time you deal with law enforcement, you have legal access to all of the paper work. Under the Freedom of Information act, you have access to all reports. Yes, you probably will need a lawyer to help you through the process, because you most likely will be stone walled.

  • Haystack

    What works for me in routine traffic stops is just to accept responsibility for whatever I was doing and not make any excuses — A calm “Yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t have just done that” has gotten me out of so many tickets. If you bullshit or make excuses, you’re only making the cop feel challenged.

    Of course, it also helps that I’m white.

  • Haystack

    What works for me in routine traffic stops is just to accept responsibility for whatever I was doing and not make any excuses — A calm “Yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t have just done that” has gotten me out of so many tickets. If you bullshit or make excuses, you’re only making the cop feel challenged.

    Of course, it also helps that I’m white.

    • http://www.elvisinmybasement.com Kmuzu

      That is horrible advice .. Best to just keep your mouth shut for as long as possible

      • http://blog.trwolfe.com T.R. Wolfe

        I agree. Routine traffic stops are easy to handle, it’s the one’s where you have shit on your person that it gets a bit dicey. ;)

  • Hadrian999

    how many times do people have to be told this stuff before they wise up.

  • Hadrian999

    how many times do people have to be told this stuff before they wise up.

  • http://www.elvisinmybasement.com Kmuzu

    There are only three main rules .. (1) Don’t say anything except .. (2) I request an attorney (3) Be completely cooperative in their demands – If they ask permission for anything – just say no.

    That will get you 99 percent the way there.

  • http://www.elvisinmybasement.com Kmuzu

    There are only three main rules .. (1) Don’t say anything except .. (2) I request an attorney (3) Be completely cooperative in their demands – If they ask permission for anything – just say no.

    That will get you 99 percent the way there.

  • http://www.elvisinmybasement.com Kmuzu

    That is horrible advice .. Best to just keep your mouth shut for as long as possible

  • http://www.elvisinmybasement.com Kmuzu

    That is horrible advice .. Best to just keep your mouth shut for as long as possible

  • http://www.elvisinmybasement.com Kmuzu

    There are only three main rules .. (1) Don’t say anything except .. (2) I request an attorney (3) Be completely cooperative in their demands – If they ask permission for anything – just say no.

    That will get you 99 percent the way there.

  • http://blog.trwolfe.com T.R. Wolfe

    I agree. Routine traffic stops are easy to handle, it’s the one’s where you have shit on your person that it gets a bit dicey. ;)

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