Heya, peeps! This Request Edition goes to Tyaeda, who loves the docu's and preferred to have one make an appearance on FFS.
So yesterday, I came across an old favorite of mine, which I chose for its subject matter as much as the entertainment factor. After all, this place is nuts with its cop vids, and dummies to boot ; )
Did you know around 70% of Americans can't answer the most basic questions regarding their own country? Or that 44% can't define our Bill of Rights? How about the idea peeps have that the 1st Amendment allows a citizen to drive or own pets?
Well, on a site like this, I know it goes without saying there are A LOT of dumb fucking people around. But on a homeland scale, one of the scariest things you may learn tonight is that 52% of Americans can name multiple Simpsons characters, while only 28% of them can identify more than one basic right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Sites like this one love to splash police brutality and WTF cop moments by the dozens. Yet one simple documentary helped open some eyes to the idea that many altercations, hostilities, and violations on both sides may usually be avoided with the simple understanding of your rights and proper law.
By Flex Your Rights and retired ACLU Director Ira Glasser, Busted! The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters is a practical documentary geared toward balancing the scales between you as a citizen, and those in authority who may indeed take advantage of any ignorance regarding the law and personal rights.
Quite the entertaining mini-doc, Busted! takes place during three separate encounters with three separate citizens approached by police. Caught in situations you should be able to identify with, these demonstrations consist of what usually occurs vs. how you can - and have the right to - handle yourself. By asserting your rights and understanding the nitty-gritty of the law, Busted! shows in detail just how in charge you are of your own business, with results that are astonishing.
Darrell was on his way to a concert with his friend and girlfriend when suddenly, a cop shows up behind them. Immediately, they panic, and Darrell pulls over, puts his hands on the wheel, and brings down his window when the cop approaches.
The cop asks if Darrell knows why he was pulled over, and he guesses he was speeding, giving another guess as to the exact speed at which he was driving.
Then the cop insists Darrell could be arrested for driving 20 miles over, and Darrell freaks out.
Suspicious as to his behavior, the cop leans in through the window, and starts questioning the friend as to why he's so "spaced out". He tells everyone to step out of the car, and sits behind the wheel, stating that if Darrell has no drugs, he wouldn't mind if he "takes a look around".
Now the cop starts bitching about the mess inside the car, and how bad it smells. He grabs the friend's bag and insists he take a look inside. When Darrell asks if he can say "no", the cop gets pissed, threatening to arrest him and his friend, and painting a rude picture as to what "bad men" do to "skinny little boys" in a jail cell.
Totally freaked out, the friend is yelling at Darrell to let the cop search the bag. Of course, the cop finds a whole crapload of tweedz and a bowl inside.
He accuses Darrell of being the one whose pot it is, and tells the friends if they don't rat him out, they'll go to jail too. Of course, they all end up getting arrested anyway.
Now we get Ira Glasser to go over the situation. First, he goes over the Bill of Rights and its detail. Then, he examines the situation at hand. Here, Darrell and his friends naively waived their rights repeatedly. We get another demonstration of the scene, and how it could've gone, had Darrell and his friends been aware of their rights.
- Darrell shut his engine off, and stayed quiet until spoken to.
- All windows were shut, and Darrell opened his just enough to speak and pass his license -
not enough for the sneaky cop to stick his head in the window.
- Darrell did not tell the cop why he was pulled over. As far as he's concerned, he has no idea.
That's a game they play. Yet the 5th Amendment protects you from incriminating yourself.
- Darrell ignores the cop's threat about how he can "be arrested" for going over the limit. Instead,
he asks "how he can help today".
- When asked to get out of the car, Darrell asks "why". After all, there's no reason for it. But when
the cop gets uber-pissed, he politely complies, and makes sure to LOCK his doors upon
exiting, so the cop can't help himself to the interior.
- The demand to search the vehicle is met with a simple "no" by Darrell. He does not consent to
any search, and when the cop gets even more pissed and starts to threaten, Darrell simply
asks if they're "free to go".
- Now the cop has no choice but to just write out a ticket and leave in a huff.
Michael was just sitting on a bench, waiting for a city bus to arrive, when a cop car suddenly pulls up. They start harassing him about why he's there, where he's going, where he lives, etc.
They ask to see his I.D., and Michael complies. Eventually they learn that Michael isn't going home, but to his girlfriend's. Now the cops are suspicious, and tell him to put his hands on the car.
Michael freaks out, yelling that he "didn't do anything", but that only pisses off the cops more. They frisk him, and accuse him of being a vandal, seeing as how the neighborhood has a graffiti problem, and Michael has paint all over his hands.
He tries to tell them he's an art student on scholarship, but when the cops go through his bag, they find spray paint and graffiti sketches, and take that as proof he's the vandal.
They place him under arrest, and start making fun of the kid, talking about how he'll get a huge sentence and fine, get ass raped in prison, and how his only reprieve is if he signs a confession and maybe, he'll end up with probation.
- Michael immediately gave over his I.D. However, laws on this differ depending on where you live.
In many cases, Michael may have had the right not to hand over his I.D.
- Michael's attitude was horrible. It is NEVER a good thing to get irate or even touch an Officer. By
showing courtesy, Michael would've given no cause to be frisked.
- Michael has the right to refuse to be searched, but only verbally. In the event of a graffiti crime?
Cops have NO reason to search Michael.
- NEVER run from an Officer. This alone is taken as admission of guilt.
- Michael should never have gone along with the cop's promise to "help out" if he signs some
confession. This is another game. Cops are not paid to act as advocates, Their job is to find,
arrest, and help to convict people. Michael has the right to remain silent and not speak at all, until
he's given a lawyer to advise him. Attorneys ARE your advocates.
Now Ira Glasser cuts in to give some interesting info regarding home searches and seizures. The Supreme Court has ruled that your home is safe from the law with the maximum level of protections.
Even if there's probable cause that anything illegal is going on, cops may not enter, search, or seize under any circumstances, without a warrant. The only exceptions to the case would involve proof that immediate action must be taken, such as if an Officer sees blood, weapons, hears screams, etc.
The biggest problem citizens have with this is inadvertently inviting cops into their home. If anyone on the property gives an invitation for police to enter the premises, it automatically gives authorities the right to search and seize. So in all cases, you must remember to NEVER consent. Which brings us to our last scenario...
A huge party is going on at Valerie's place, seeing as how her parents are away. All the usual shit is going on: loud music, drinking, drugs, large numbers of peeps, etc... and the cops have suddenly shown up!
One of Valerie's dumb friends had answered the door and said "sure" when the Officer asked if they could enter. Now one of the officers has found a bong on the floor, and starts questioning Valerie as to whether or not it's hers, how old she is, who's in the house under 21, etc.
Thinking she's "caught", Valerie tells them the bong is hers, and eventually admits to being only 20. Now the cops accuse her of lying to them, and tell her the K-9 units will be coming in to search for more shit, and in the process, they will most likely tear up her folks' nice suburban home.
If Valerie doesn't show them where the rest of her stash is, then the dogs will come in. Otherwise, if Valerie's truthful with them, they'll "put in a good word" for her.
Turns out all she had was some tiny bag of tweedz, which of course, is nothing that should've landed her in cuffs, ruined her party, and wasted authorities' time. But Valerie just had to allow them in, become intimidated by their threats, and lead them right to her stash. Naturally, they arrest her.
Glasser showcases a parallel demonstration of how wonderfully keen Valerie could've been in keeping her party going, diverting cops from the property, and making sure she sets an example as a good citizen quite aware of her rights.
- First thing's first. Valerie made sure to keep an eye on who was entering and exiting her home.
In situations like this, cops try to be sneaky and enter from a back or side door, right under the
host or hostess's nose. Usually, they try to take advantage of a disoriented party goer in order to
gain permission to come onto the property. Valerie made repeated rounds in order to stay alert
of such things.
- Second, Valerie kept an eye on the garbage piling up just inside the doorway, making sure to
keep all alcohol, drug paraphernalia, underage individuals, etc., OUT of plain view of any cops
that might inevitably show up. If Officers happen to see anything in the open, that is automatically
cause for them to enter or arrest.
- Even so, when cops showed up at the door, Valerie exited the house to speak with them, closing
the door behind her. What's going on inside is something she's going to make sure is her
business alone, and will refrain from giving police the opportunity to peek inside.
- When asked if they could look around, Valerie asked them "why". Their excuse is a common
tactic - a "routine" check-up on the situation. Of course, Valerie says "no".
- When the cops get miffed, they use another tactic. Stating they "smell" something inside like
marijuana. Again, Valerie asserts her rights by remaining courteous, but reminding them they are
not allowed to enter or search her home without a warrant.
- NEVER lie to police. If in case they ask you something you don't want to reveal, then remain
silent, as is your right. By lying, you not only incriminate yourself once, but twice.
Now Ira Glasser goes into some situations where the need for a warrant does not come into play. Most should be known from common sense, but just in case:
- Airport Security or Special Security Area
- When crossing the border
- Upon entry to private property, but ONLY upon entry. If anyone tries to get you to consent to a
search after you've already been granted access to the area, you have a right to refuse, and/or to
- In dealing with Federal Agents
- Once you've been arrested
Then Glasser goes over a few of the most important statements you need to remember if and when you're ever in a situation with police. Whether you are breaking the law or not is irrelevant - the point is asserting your rights as granted to you, and can make a world of difference as it pertains to your safety, record, and well-being as a citizen:
- I do not consent to any search.
- Am I free to go?
- I have nothing to say, unless I speak with an attorney.
In conclusion, Glasser reminds us all that rights mean nothing if you aren't aware of them, or know not how to use them. Although laws vary from area to area, and each situation is different, this video is a great start to learning how to better protect yourself from unwarranted problems anyone can encounter when dealing with authorities. Knowledge is power, so ensure that you keep abreast of the in's and out's of your local laws on a regular basis.