• Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 17:36:20View | Delete

    Thanks for having us! Anytime.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 17:34:12View | Delete

    Here’s my take on the DUI thing. First, DUI laws are brutal — so it’s best not to do any drinking before driving.

    Second, it’s very difficult to practically flex ones rights in these situations. In some states, the punishment for not cooperating with a breath test is the same for blowing an illegal amount.

    I just don’t know of any magic tricks here, but lots of people try to sell ‘em.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 17:22:25View | Delete

    I think password protection is probably your best bet. My Android phone’s got the pattern protection thing. I can do it so fast, don’t even think about it.

    Ryan Radia at Ars Technica did a pretty convincing writeup about this after that bad California Supreme Court ruling a few months back. The ruling held that police can search the devices of arrested individuals even if they don’t have a warrant.

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/guides/2011/01/why-you-should-always-encrypt-your-smartphone.ars

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 17:17:33View | Delete

    This is an important question. Very often police will try to intimidate by citizens by having multiple officers ask multiple questions. This can be very confusing and stressful.

    In fact, there was a horrible tragedy that resulted from this. A young black man was pulled over in Baltimore. Both officers drew their guns — one on the passenger side and one on the driver’s side. One officer ordered the driver to get his license and registration. The other ordered him to keep his hands still. The young man reached for his license, and the other officer shot him in the head, killing him.

    The best approach is to, of course, remain calm and keep you hands visible. But try to maintain eye contact with one officer and clearly say “I can only talk to one of you at at time.” You might have to repeat this. But then proceed to assert your rights calmly and politely to the one officer.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 17:09:42View | Delete

    If anyone’s got more questions afterward, be sure to check out our very extensive FAQ section.

    http://flexyourrights.org/faq

    Pretty much anytime we got a question asked more than once, we added a new entry to make our jobs easier.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 17:05:10View | Delete

    When people say stuff like “If I have nothing to hide, why would I mind the police searching me” I respond in two way. First, I say “Then you don’t mind if I take a look in your purse, bag, or whatever they got.” Often to show they are sticking to their guns they will let me do this … but they usually hesitate as soon as I open their wallet.

    But then I will concede and say, “You have the right to let police search you. But you also have the right to refuse, but the choice is yours.” When I put it this way, people nod their heads in agreement. I’m simply pointing out that agreeing to a search is not the only viable option.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:57:11View | Delete

    Indeed, that is the precise mindset that the 4th Amendment is meant to deter. The idea that we should all be conditioned to be searched at the whim of law enforcement is the stuff of totalitarian regimes.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:53:35View | Delete

    I’m not sure of the disposition of that case.

    But this Reason.TV vid that I posted earlier is the most up-to-date take on the camera issue that I’ve seen in the last few weeks.

    http://youtu.be/LY0MUARqisM

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:48:29View | Delete

    Thanks! Scott and I have been brainstorming how to do a video covering the rights of videographers. But in the meantime, please be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

    http://twitter.com/#!/flexyourrights

    http://www.facebook.com/FlexYourRights

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:45:43View | Delete

    Thanks! This is the greatest complement you could give me. I hope you keep playing it even after the actors’ clothes go out of style.

    If you’re planning additional screenings, I highly recommend inviting both a local criminal defense lawyer and a local police officer to handle the Q&A. The lawyers can handle the “can-they-do-that” type questions. And the officer can report back to his boss that the community is being educated about their rights. This can only lead to good consequences and dialoge.

    In fact, this is exactly what’s happening with Chief Burton in Columbia, MO.

    http://flexyourrights.org/meet_chief_burton

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:40:27View | Delete

    I recommend Reason.TV’s recent video covering the topic.

    http://youtu.be/LY0MUARqisM

    It does indeed seem for the most part that police are abusing their power by making unlawful arrests. This problem might require a legislative remedy — but in the long term I’m very optimistic. With the ubiquity of cameras — both private and public — it is becoming very difficult for police to claim that they have a unique and special privacy claim that gives them the power to make arrests.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:34:15View | Delete

    Ah, I just wish Chis R. gave a shout to the value of refusing police searches — but that is always damn funny stuff.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:32:09View | Delete

    You are correct. Police are legally allowed to lie to you. There are some ridiculous myths out there based on the false idea that police can’t lie to you. But the fact is that the police are legally allowed to lie to you and regularly use this tactic in order to solicit confessions.

    Here’s a clip from 10 Rules covering this very topic.

    http://youtu.be/UrCh4qLG1EI

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:28:34View | Delete

    If police have a warrant it’s always a good idea to look it over. They will generally allow you to do so. Make sure they’ve got the right info re: location or persons to be seized. (They might have the wrong address). But just as importantly, it’s a good idea to refuse to answer any questions without your lawyer present.

    In your car, they don’t need a warrant if they have probable cause to believe a crime is taking place. Regardless, it’s not your place to try to determine whether or not the officer has probable cause. It’s generally best to simply say, “Officer, I don’t consent to any searches. Am I free to go”. Repeat if necessary.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:23:15View | Delete

    We love good cops too! In fact, the former Dallas police chief (Chief Knee, I believe?) implemented a policy where his officers were required to inform citizens in writing that they had a right to refuse warrantless police searches in the absence of other probable cause. I think this is a great idea.

    We get lots of applause from good police who believe rightfully that the Bill of Rights is not a ball and chain, but rather a tool for good policing. Why? Because the Bill of Rights requires police to only search people when there is probable cause. When the Fourth Amendment isn’t respected we see all kinds of bad police practices (e.g. SWAT raids based on anonymous tips, racial profiling, etc.)

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:18:19View | Delete

    Ah, of course Jay-Z knows his rights too. (Good stuff starts at 1:00)

    http://youtu.be/WwoM5fLITfk

    There’s been a long history of this information. We certainly didn’t make it up. We just made it into educational videos.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:14:54View | Delete

    Yes. I was simply amazed and frustrated at the lack of easy-to-understand info. I never really had a desire to start a nonprofit org. But I just saw this gap and had to jump in. The thing that got me was my educated friends thought that police could search you anytime they pulled you over. That really go to me.

    Also, I’m a very visual learner. So I kinda wanted to make the movies I knew I wanted to see myself.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:09:35View | Delete

    The full, better-edited story can be seen here.
    http://flexyourrights.org/about

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:07:05View | Delete

    Going on about 10 years now.

  • Steve Silverman commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: 10 Rules for Dealing with the Police

    2011-07-11 16:06:46View | Delete

    Long story short. I used to work on drug policy reform issues. Specifically working to repeal the law that cut financial aid to students with drug convictions on their records.

    As part of the work I’d always ask about the incident leading to their arrest — almost always for small amounts of pot. The stories had a lot in common. Most notably, almost all of them at some point waived their rights by consenting to search requests.

    I realized we needed more basic know-your-rights info to fill the void.

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