Charleston, SC -- Here at The Free Thought Project we consistently stress the importance of knowing your rights, and a law student who filmed a recent police interaction is a shining example of why.
The law student was stuck behind a slow driver in the fast lane, who she says was impeding traffic. When she had the chance, she passed him in the right lane and "flipped him a friendly bird" as she described it. What she didn't realize, was that she had just flipped off a cop in an unmarked vehicle.
The officer reportedly sped up and began tailgating her before flashing on his lights to pull her over, despite having a passenger in his front seat.
The officer approached the woman's vehicle and demands to know if she was "being smart" with him- clearly on a power trip. What he didn't know was that he was dealing with a law student who knows her rights, how to use them, and to film the entire thing.
She asks if he is off duty, and he responds that he is "always on duty." He asks for her license and registration and she asks him three times if she is being detained, to which he says she is not. Upon confirming she is not being detained the law student tells the officer to have a good day and says goodbye to the dumbfounded officer.
"I asked him repeatedly if I was being detained. When I confirmed I was not, I left, as I was legally free to do so. Our basic constitutional rights protect us from these types of unreasonable stops. And just so everyone is aware, after this occurred, I contacted every police/sheriffs department in my area, whether they had jurisdiction or not, and inquired about this officer, and not a single department knew who he was. Clearly, this idiot was off duty, outside his jurisdiction, and pulled me over simply because he thought he could. While I have all the respect in the world for officers, and appreciate what they do for us on a daily basis, I will not tolerate abuse of power- and neither should you." she wrote.
Bravo! We could not agree more.
Not only is the question, "am I being detained" very important, but so is remaining silent and making sure not to answer any of their questions.
Many INNOCENT individuals have been imprisoned, or otherwise harmed, merely because they chose to answer questions asked by some Law Enforcement Officer or government official, agent, representative, tribunal, or employee.
It is very important to understand that the 5th Amendment protects the innocent more than the guilty.
Knowing how to assert your rights is not only a good idea to prevent from being unlawfully kidnapped or caged, but it is also a successful catalyst for change when applied on a large enough scale.
In the video below, activist Kenny Suitter, shows how to properly remain silent during police interactions. It is as simple as stating, "I do not answer questions."
Recommended for You
Because of the SCOTUS ruling in Salinas v. Texas, you are now expected to know that you have a right against self-incrimination, and unless you specifically and clearly invoke this right, anything you say or do not say, including your mannerisms at the time you stop talking, can be used against you. You actually have to say, "I do not answer questions."
Don't concern yourself with what kind of interrogation you're in. Don't worry about whether Salinas applies in your particular situation. Just invoke your 5th Amendment right immediately, verbally, and clearly.
Just like this:
Being stopped by police can be a particularly stressful experience, especially if you're not a law student. An innocent individual can easily get tricked into self-incriminating themselves as the police officer badgers and pries for information.
Memorizing laws and and statutes can go a long way, however, having a business card handy, that states your rights for you, is much more convenient, especially when under the stress of a police stop.
Here is a good example of what that business card should look like:
"I hereby invoke and refuse to waive all of the following rights and privileges afforded to me by the United States Constitution. I invoke and refuse to waive my 5th Amendment right to Remain Silent. I invoke and refuse to waive my 6th Amendment right to an attorney of my choice. I invoke and refuse to waive my 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If I am not presently under arrest, or under investigatory detention, please allow me to leave."
“Officer, I Assert My Fifth Amendment Rights As Stated On This Card”Pursuant to the law, as established by the United States Supreme Court, my lawyer has advised me not to talk to anyone and not to answer questions about any pending criminal case or any other civil, administrative, judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory matter. Following his advice, I do not wish to talk to anyone about any criminal, civil, administrative, judicial, investigatory or adjudicatory matter, without my lawyer present. I waive no legal rights, nor give any consents, nor submit to any tests or other procedures, without my lawyer present. I ask that no one question or talk to me, without my lawyer here to advise me.
If you'd like a downloadable version of this card you can get it at this link.
Below is a video which shows the effectiveness of these business cards.