What to Do When Stopped on the Sidewalk by Police
When a Cop Stops You on the Sidewalk
You’re walking on the street one day and you hear that all familiar radio, maybe even a squad car sounding off and, just like that, you’re engaged in a situation with a police officer.
In these situations it’s natural for a regular person to panic and give in to whatever an officer requests. But it’s important to remember that a lot of what an officer is going to ask you is going to be request-based, not a demand. It’s important that you never give up your consent to talk to a police officer.
You always have a right to remain silent. It’s actually perfectly fair to say, “I do not wish to speak with you today, officer. Goodbye.”
Some officers might ask for your identification. In this scenario tell them that it’s in your wallet, or wherever you have it, then ask for the officer’s permission to reach for it.
In some states, you don’t even have to show your identification unless the officer has reasonable suspicion that you’ve committed some sort of crime. That’s why it’s always important to know the particular laws of your state.
If an officer keeps asking you questions you don’t feel like answering, just ask the officer “Am I Free to Go?”
Of course, the officer in question probably isn’t going to see this response as favorable. They might even say something about how if you have nothing to hide, then why won’t you talk to them, etc. Just keep saying, “Am I free to go?”
Remember that if an officer asks you to talk, it’s simply a request. Make sure you know your rights. Visit the Eric Wetlaufer site often for the latest in how to protect yourself from invasive, illegal police tactics.