Wednesday, 9 March 2011

So officer, where's your warrant? - Redux

There is no way for you to get out of that awkward situation. The best that you can do is not give the police officer any chance to make you the bad guy.

Call the police emergency number. Give your name and address.  (It's already known - caller ID blanking doesn't work when calling emergency services.) Tell the dispatcher that you believe there is an armed man in your garden shed, stealing your work tools. Don't say more than that.

Before the police arrive, somehow get rid of the gun and the police ID. Gun into the safe, and ID burnt would be good, but this probably requires a helper.

When the police arrive, say NOTHING other than: "I heard a noise, I investigated, I was terrified." Make sure nobody else says anything either.

Do NOT invite the police inside your home. Refuse permission for a search.  Respond to every allegation about your conduct with, "I heard a noise, I investigated, I was terrified." Refuse to accompany the officers to the police station.

If they arrest you, vary the standard response to add, "I choose not to make a statement at this time, I want to speak to a lawyer." Don't expect that access to a lawyer will be forthcoming - what you see on TV is a) drama, and b) US-centric. In most jurisdictions you do not have "a right to an attorney".

Do NOT try and talk the officers around to your side - in all likelihood you can't.
Do NOT be nice - polite, yes, but don't do or say ANYTHING just to show that you are co-operative.
Do NOT smile because you think you are winning. Look scared (it won't be hard).

After several hours, begin asking "When may I leave?"

Eventually, you either get charged with something they make up, and front a magistrate, or they let you go.

When you get home, IMMEDIATELY call your lawyer and then lodge a written complaint about the conduct of the officer. Make sure you include that when you investigated a noise, you found him in your yard and that he then refused to identify himself. Do NOT include anything of your conduct.

Congratulations - you are now a marked man. At least one police officer has it in for you, but the others may have some doubts that you are the miscreant that he alleges you are.


McThag said...

I understand that "marked by the police" feeling.

When I lived in Iowa I committed the sin of showing up to city council meetings and demanding to know what the cops were going to be doing with the select-fire MP5's they'd just bought.

Considering that the local cops had only fired shots in the line of duty once in the nearly 20 years I had lived there, I wondered about the need.

Suddenly I found that I was unable to operate a vehicle without getting a ticket in town. Fifteen tickets in a two month period with just one in the previous 12 years makes you wonder. Especially since those tickets never happened when driving someone else's car.

Moving to Florida ended the persecution and I discovered a whole new world of stuff I was now allowed to legally do.

Sendarius said...

Been there, got the T-shirt.

I was stopped 56 times in a year by assorted and various officers - never ticketed. My wife was also stopped numerous times during that same year, but only when driving my car.

Probably the fact that I made an obvious (and obnoxious) point of recording all the officer's details, and insisted that they follow the law saved me from the tickets, while simultaneuously exacerbating the issue.

Strangely, the harrasment stopped abruptly after I had a lawyer help me with lodging a written complaint with excruciatingly detailed records of the exact circumstances of each case of harassment.