Know Your Rights When it Comes to Police Stops

In Brooklyn, the cops are using a program called "Stop, Question, Frisk." They made 52,000 arrests last year. The ACLU today says Brooklyn Women Knew Their Rights and You Should Too.

The NYCLU offers this updated palm card (or iPhone app) walking you through what to do if you’re stopped by the police.

The palm card not only apprises people of their rights, it helps them defend those rights. For instance, it informs people how to proceed if they are unjustly arrested.

A word to the wise: learn the laws in your state. In New York, police can't make you identify yourself if they don't reasonably suspect you of a crime, but that is not the case in some other places. So check out the ACLU’s national know-your-rights card...

An iPhone App -- what could be simpler? If you don't need it, e-mail it to your kids or someone who might. [More...]

On a humorous note, here's a timeless Chris Rock video, "How Not To Get Your As* Kicked By the Police."

< Omar Khadr to Boycott Military Commission, Issues Statement | NY Judge Refuses to Dismiss Ahmed Ghailani Case >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    This one is very pmfusing (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Yes2Truth on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 01:05:32 PM EST

    "If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent."

    Cops will always say they believe your car contains
    evidence of a crime...and there's a very good chance it will AFTER they get their paws inside it,
    even if it didn't at the time you were stopped.

    "believe" should say (none / 0) (#13)
    by Peter G on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 05:53:23 PM EST
    "have good reason to believe" - that is, probable cause.  The point is that the search of a motor vehicle, if supported by probable cause, rarely if ever requires a warrant, according to the Supreme Court.

    That was the original reason (none / 0) (#15)
    by JamesTX on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 08:46:53 PM EST
    for probable cause. If they can't get close enough to your barn to put whiskey in it, then you have a chance. Otherwise, you'll turn up with illegal whiskey every time (if for no other reason than just to save face for them). If they can go in without cause then it is simple to plant evidence. Now that probable cause has been reduced to a theoretical concept that does not actually have to be demonstrated or supported by evidence, it is an empty promise. There is no reason to even have it. The amendment is dead unless we do something in the next few years. With the current judiciary it doesn't look so good. Too bad, because it was very important.

    I prefer Jay-Z myself (none / 0) (#1)
    by canuck eh on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 12:03:39 PM EST
    So I...pull over to the side of the road
    I heard "Son do you know why I'm stoppin' you for?"
    Cause I'm young and I'm black and my hats real low?
    Do I look like a mind reader sir, I don't know
    Am I under arrest or should I guess some mo'?
    "Well you was doin fifty-five in a fifty-fo' "
    "Liscense and registration and step out of the car"
    "Are you carryin' a weapon on you I know a lot of you are"
    I ain't steppin out of s*t all my paper's legit
    "Well, do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?"
    Well my glove compartment is locked so are the trunk in the back
    And I know my rights so you gon' need a warrant for that
    "Aren't you sharp as a tack, you some type of lawyer or something'?"
    "Or somebody important or somethin'?"
    Nah, I ain't pass the bar but i know a little bit
    Enough that you won't illegally search my s
    "We'll see how smart you are when the K9 come"
    I got 99 problems but a b
    **h ain't one

    Like the Song, but... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 03:22:41 PM EST
    If a man has 99 problems there isn't a chance in hell a woman (b*tch) isn't one of them.

    And a comment on the article.  Your rights and reality especially in a motor vehicle are not even close.  One might get vindicated in the end if their rights are violated, but it will not be cheap.

    They know who can't afford to have their rights upheld when they decide to violate them.


    Best 4th amendment rhyme... (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 12:38:59 PM EST
    of all time...good call canuck!

    I'm not actually a huge fan of Jay-Z (none / 0) (#4)
    by canuck eh on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 12:58:05 PM EST
    but I remember the first time I heard that and my respect level for him increased 10-fold!

    Anthony Ray had the concept in 1992 (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jack E Lope on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:06:49 AM EST
    on his album "Mack Daddy".  Though the song, "One Time's Got No Case" doesn't have illegal search as the primary topic, the similarities abound - in the lyrics and the experience:

    What you pullin' me over fo' mistuh offi-suh?
    I'll be askin' the questions Leroy.
    My name ain't Leroy, man.
    Heh, all right Jerome, outta the car.
    Man, why I gotta be Jerome man? Why can't I be Tommy or Philbert or something?
    Just put your hands on the hood Muhammed
    The police think I'm movin' them keys
    They trip cause I clock much D
    They pull a gat an' they yell out "Freeze!"
    I'm whippin' out my I.D.
    My gat sits under my seat
    The cops throw me out in the street
    They found my gun like thieves
    Officer Friendly has got a new beat
    So I show him my gun permit
    I told him I roll legit
    A female cop pulls up and she's pissed
    But this cop had K-9
    A soul sister, yes she's fine
    I said "Won't ya help a brother outta bind?"
    But that badge was going to her mind
    So she stuck a billy club in my back
    She said "Don't think because you're black
    That I won't beat you", crack, "hit you with the gat"
    Her partner starts to laugh

    Full lyrics here


    Thanks! (none / 0) (#2)
    by Susie from Philly on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 12:24:49 PM EST
    Just sent it to my kids...

    Back in the day (none / 0) (#6)
    by fuzzyone on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 01:13:14 PM EST
    longer ago than I like to think about, when I was in law school I spent a summer at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and we had this great plastic cards, like a credit card, for people to show the police which basically said they were exercising their Miranda rights and requesting counsel.  At the time NDS would send someone to the precinct if they or their family called.  Pretty much unheard of for a public defender office and I'm not sure they still do it.

    The stop and frisk stuff, though maybe worse now, was true in the early - mid 90s when I was a public defender in Brooklyn.  I know the blocks and projects they are talking about very well.  Forget driving while black.  In those neighborhoods the NYPD will stop you for breathing while black.

    this is why (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:06:06 PM EST
    I love this site

    I don't (none / 0) (#8)
    by kmblue on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:22:58 PM EST
    have an IPhone, so I guess I'll just go to jail.
    Am I crazy, or is Jeralyn assuming everyone has an IPhone?

    If you have no iPhone use your Blackberry" (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:31:10 PM EST
    Marie Antoinette

    Huh? (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:35:31 PM EST
    The NYCLU offers this updated palm card or iPhone app..

    and by palm card they do not mean a device. It is a card that fits in the palm of your hand.


    Looks like... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:36:35 PM EST
    all "know your rights" info can be obtained through the ACLU website for those without a police-state approved iphone.

    And this is one of (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Zorba on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 06:06:08 PM EST
    the many reasons why I have been a supporting member of the ACLU for 25+ years.  And they also send brochures to my house, to let us know what is going on.  (PS:  I wouldn't buy an iPhone if my life depended upon it.  Among other reasons, the iPhone is beloved by law enforcement because of the vast amount of information it carries about you.)

    Good on ya! (none / 0) (#19)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 10:10:57 AM EST
    I too, am a card carrying member of the ACLU. Gotta nice sticker on the bottom glass part of my front screen door too. I like to make sure the LEOs know where I stand BEFORE they bother to not knock.

    Not going to worry too much about (none / 0) (#11)
    by Untold Story on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:35:53 PM EST
    my rights re the FBI as they will probably not come back for a decade or two ;)

    I think (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 09:42:31 AM EST
    This is an excellent idea.