Notes from Know Your Rights

based on an episode of Live Like the World is Dying

Here is what the lawyer advised to do during encounters with the police:

If the police engage you during a protest or maybe some other circumstance, ask, “Am I free to go, or am I being detained?” The police are like any other stranger, so distrust them. The lawyer said one doesn't always get a chance to ask these questions, but it's good to ask in case one ends up in court. If detained, ask, “Why am I being detained?”

If searched before taken to a precinct, not including pat downs, say loud enough for witnesses or smartphones to hear, “I do not consent to this search.” Oh, and if necessary, also say loudly, “I am not resisting.”

If taken in to a precinct, answer questions about legal proceedings like, “Do you have a lawyer?” Do not answer questions about personal life or beliefs, and instead, say, “I'm going to remain silent, and I want to speak to a lawyer.” Express needs like bathroom, food, water, medical attention, or someone else's needs, but don't answer questions about actions leading to arrest even if someone in the cell asks. If the police ask, repeat, “I'm going to remain silent, and I want to speak to a lawyer.” Reinvoke silence as necessary after saying reasonable stuff to police.

Don't post online about arrests especially without asking an attorney. Don't film protesters because someone could dox them, or the police could subpoena them to a grand jury. Film police to catch abuse. Don't post online about who you hung out with ... at the anarchist bookfair? No pictures of burning cop cars or other crimes even if no one is in the picture? Can still discuss anarchist politics online.

National Lawyer's Guild hotline for encounters with the feds: 212-679-2811

If someone knocks on your door, ask who it is. If they say they “just want to talk”, they're cops. If they're cops, ask if they have a warrant, and if able, immediately call the NLG hotline, above. If they have a search warrant, ask them to slide it under the door, and a judge should have signed it in the last 10 days. Read the warrant out loud, so they can hear you say what they are supposed to search.

If they have an arrest warrant, ask if you can surrender yourself later with an attorney, but if they say no, walk outside and shut the door behind you. You'll need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Margaret and Mo will go over grand jury subpoenas in another episode.

If the police or the feds don't have a warrant, don't open the door, and say, “If you leave your name and number, I'll have my lawyer call you.” Then, call the hotline, above, unless you already have a lawyer. Feel free to post online, stating that the state was so kind as to pay you a visit.