Here are the five things that we need to remember to minimize the impact of a police encounter.
By Design Collective
Identity Information. If we are stopped or arrested by police, we must give them our identity information: name, birthdate, address, and phone number. Other than that, we do not have to answer any other police questions.
We have the right to remain silent. That means we do not have to give police any information about the case, and we do not have to answer any police questions without a lawyer there to defend us. To use our right to remain silent, we must clearly say “I will not talk. I want my lawyer.” Then, we shouldn’t say anything else and we shouldn’t ask any questions about the case. When we use our right to remain silent, the police cannot interrogate us.
We have the right to a lawyer. A defense lawyer can help us protect our right to remain silent. You can get a free lawyer for someone who is being held at a Chicago Police station twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, by calling First Defense Legal Aid: 1-800-LAW-REP-4 / 1-800-529-7374. Anyone can call the Hotline on behalf of someone arrested by Chicago Police.
Never run away from police. Running makes us look more suspicious, and police might arrest us for resisting arrest even if we didn’t do anything else wrong. Also, police might use more force when they chase us and arrest us – we could get seriously hurt.
Never fight back against police. We never have the right to resist arrest, even when we believe it’s wrong. We can fight the case in court, not on the street. If we fight back against police, they might arrest us for aggravated battery, a felony case, even if we didn’t do anything else wrong. Also, police will use more force against us, and we could get seriously hurt.
This video by Elon James White and the ACLU does a terrific job of breaking down all of our rights when we encounter the police. It is short and memorable.