If you have not heard or seen the fairly new television show Live PD on A&E you should. Here is an early clip which resulted in the Tulsa Police Department puling out of the show. There are multiple problems with this encounter but it is also one of the rare instances in which the person (despite his arrest record) questions the officer on his probable cause.
Live PD, which broadcasts on A&E, hosted by Dan Abrams, has been met with criticism and equal amounts of applause. Some say it shows transparency. Others say it’s dangerous and hinders investigations. One thing for certain it shows is that Americans have no idea how to properly interact with police. On the rare occasion someone has chosen to exercise their 5th Amendment Right and remain silent terms like “being difficult” and “not working with me” are used by police to discourage exercising this vital right. Officers are continually shown telling citizens if “they work with them, they not charge them” It sheds light on the tricks officers use to get people to surrender their rights and incriminate themselves. Exercising your right’s is not “disrespectful” or “difficult” It is the law.
“Shut Your Stinkin’ Trap!”
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” is a favorite question, and your answer should always be that you have no idea. If you’re speeding, and you say that you were speeding, it’s going to be a lot harder to fight that ticket if the officer can testify that you knew you were speeding because you said so. If you’re pulled over for a different reason than the one you admit to, you’ve just given the officer another grounds for issuing a ticket (or worse).
The officer will ask you for you license, registration, and proof of insurance. You should give these to the officer, and you’re required to have these in your possession in order to operate a motor vehicle in Kentucky, and if the officer asks for them (they will) you have to cough them up. Beyond that, you are not required to give any additional information.
One thing that is common is 99% of every encounter involves a citizen answering dozens upon dozens of questions most of the time incriminating themselves on the spot. Just watch any of the clips on Live PD to see this. Where do you work? Where were you today?
The worst way that people incriminate themselves is by talking to police. People may know that they shouldn’t talk to police But what they’re thinking is that they shouldn’t talk to police about things that they think matter. Actually, they shouldn’t talk to police at all, because they don’t know what matters. Police are professional who have been learning ways to prove common criminal and traffic cases every week. They have thought it through and know how to draw things out. What you think does not matter may be all that is needed for the government to prove its case.
Am I Free To Go?
Immediately after you refuse consent, you should ask this question. This forces the officer to make a decision — either to detain you, or let you go. If he or she detains you, she must have reasonable suspicion based on specific and articulable facts that criminal activity is afoot (at a minimum). Basically, this question will clarify whether the encounter between you and the officer is, at the point you ask it, a consensual or a non-consensual encounter. If it is a consensual encounter, that means you can terminate it by leaving. If it is a non-consensual encounter, then everything I’ve written above about remaining silent should be at the forefront of your mind. As the saying goes, the fish that doesn’t open its mouth doesn’t get caught!
Here are some interactions which YOU WILL NOT SEE ON LIVEPD