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Know Your Rights: A Primer

Know Your Rights: A Primer

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Published by CopBlock
http://copblock.org/know-your-rights-a-primer


Know Your Rights: A Primer, the most-recent addition to the http://copblock.org/documents page, seeks to communicate how to effectively stand-up for your rights.

Of course it's just as impossible for a few of us to outline all potential scenarios, just as it's impossible for a person or group, no matter how smart, to create "law" (it's really legislation conflated to be law, which comes from the bottom-up), so take from it what you find valuable to your situation. This is a working document and we welcome your input so that we can all learn from each other.

Thanks to Kelly Patterson, founder of Nevada Cop Block, and Clyde Voluntaryist, founder of Carolinas Cop Block, for their help making this document more-presentable.

Pete Eyre
2012.10.18
http://copblock.org/know-your-rights-a-primer


Know Your Rights: A Primer, the most-recent addition to the http://copblock.org/documents page, seeks to communicate how to effectively stand-up for your rights.

Of course it's just as impossible for a few of us to outline all potential scenarios, just as it's impossible for a person or group, no matter how smart, to create "law" (it's really legislation conflated to be law, which comes from the bottom-up), so take from it what you find valuable to your situation. This is a working document and we welcome your input so that we can all learn from each other.

Thanks to Kelly Patterson, founder of Nevada Cop Block, and Clyde Voluntaryist, founder of Carolinas Cop Block, for their help making this document more-presentable.

Pete Eyre
2012.10.18

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Published by: CopBlock on Oct 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/01/2013

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Live and let live - it's an adage that, if put intopractice, would help eliminate the need for theseprecautions. But right now some folks are puttingfaith into a badge idea - arbitrary authority.Fortunately, ideas have consequences.
Interacting with police employees
Always document exchanges you have with police or those that youwitness, preferably via video, if possible. Even better, stream the interactionin real-time to the Internet using a free smartphone application (see:http://copblock.org/apps for more info). This prevents it from being erasedor tampered with should your equipment be stolen by police. In addition, itcan increase the speed with which word can get out should you needoutside support.Filming your interactions has several advantages. Most importantly, it willhelp to safeguard you at that moment, as it very-likely will deter potentialaggression, and it will act as an indisputable, objective, transparent recordof the incident. The deck is usually stacked against you in cases whichcome down to just your word against theirs.Ask "Am I being detained?"This question is important for several reasons. One is that certain rulesregarding evidence that can be collected are dependent on whether youhave been officially detained and whether the person stopping you hassufficient cause to detain you in the first place. Getting them on recordregarding these issues can aid you greatly in the future if contesting suchevidence becomes necessary.
 
Another reason to ask this is that it will serve as an indicator to the policeemployee you are interacting with that you are aware of your rights. Whilethis doesn't always make a difference, letting them know that youunderstand those rights and are willing to assert them will sometimes makethem less likely to disregard them.If you're told "No", then you can leave the scene. Sometimes, discretion isthe better part of valor.If you're told "Yes", stay calm, cool, and collected. You can choose toremain silent or you can choose to engage.Police employees default to being on the offensive. Strive to be calm, cooland collected, while confident - knowing that you've not acted in the wrongand in fact it is they who acting with hostile. Ask yourself: what isreasonable.Always strive to deescalate situations, and thus increase the likelihoodyou'll leave under your own volition rather than under the control of astranger. It will also allow those who may later view video of the interactionto easily and clearly see just who is the aggressor. A video recordingmeans that facts can be shared immediately with a large number of people;you can move more-quickly to the next stage, thus making it more-likelythey'll support you if needed and be more-likely to speak out againstinjustice themselves.Police employees can and do lie - something that courts have ruled isperfectly acceptable - in an attempt to solicit information from you or to getyou to admit to engaging in an action they believe gives them the right tokidnap and cage you (even though said action may not cause a victim). Beaware of this and act accordingly.
 
In fact, police employees are actually trained in methods of deceptiondesigned to trick people into giving up their rights and/or cooperatingagainst themselves and or their friends. They are taught to act friendly as ifthey want to help you in order to gather information, which eventually couldbe used against you or others. In addition, they are instructed to phrasequestions in a way that they sound like statements (I'm going to _____,okay?) in order to trick you into giving consent.If you do engage, answer questions with questions. Ask, "Where is thevictim?", "Why do you believe you have the right to prevent my freedom ofmovement?" etc. Treat the police employee no differently than you wouldsomeone not wearing the same costume who approached and questionedyou.
If you get arrested
Police employees often make arrests they know to be without merit, simplyas a way to harass those who question their authority. Several vague “go-to” charges are often used for such purposes including, but not limited to,disturbing the peace, trespassing, obstruction, interfering with anofficer/investigation, failure to follow lawful orders, etc. In cases involvingpolice brutality, charges of resisting arrest and/or assaulting an officer canoften be used to justify the police employees own use of force (having theunbiased and unimpeachable witness that video represents is especiallycrucial in this instance).They know there is usually very little chance they will be held accountablefor such tactics. In most cases, the charges are later dismissed, but thatdoesn't eliminate the time and indignities suffered by their victims duringeven a brief period within one of their cages. Pushing back against this

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In some states it's not legal to record conversations with police officers: Twelve states—California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington—require the consent of all parties for you to record a conversation. However, all but 2 of these states-Massachusetts and Illinois-have an "expectation of privacy prov
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