“Black Man’s 4th of July Police Interaction Refresher”
Many of us will be out and about on the highways and byways in the coming days for the this week’s contrived holiday as well as to enjoy summer fully. There could be many opportunities to be in direct confrontation with law enforcement officials, The Man, you know The Knockers, or if you are lucky a person who respects both you and the laws he/she is sworn to protect.
Well in order to be assured that you stay in the “winning position” I am recording today what you should say in the event that interaction occurs while you are driving your car and have been stopped by the law. In most cases, these turn out to be innocent traffic stops. In other cases it can turn into a situation we all know as being caught in the snare of “driving while black”. It is specifically those driving while black situations that can escalate to a deadly encounter especially if you aren’t aware of the rights you have as a citizen of these United States of America.
I first ask that you should measure the initial contact with the policeman who has stopped you. If he/she seems to display some courtesy and respect, then I’d advise that you return the display and cooperate with the officer. There is always an opportunity that the person who stops you has a level of reasonable respect not only of you but also of the laws he/she is sworn to protect. Now, if you run into that aggressive agent of disruption and confusion who doesn’t abide by the written law but has determined his/her own unwritten laws. Then you have fallen into the snare of “driving while black”. It is in these situations that it is “imperative” that you maintain your composure and are fully aware of your rights.
Once stopped and you get a sense that this interaction is not going be a conversation with Officer Friendly but you have encountered Officer No Respect For Black Rights. It is then that you should know your rights fully, and express them clearly. Since everyone seemingly has a smart phone it may be a great time to either make a quick call to a friend and keep the phone in a position where the interaction can be heard. Another thing when you are stopped roll your window down only far enough so that you can hear the officer. Do not roll down the window completely. You are under no obligation to position the window so that easy access can be given to the officer.
First, and most important you are under no obligation to answer any questions, especially if you feel you are in a threatening position. Nor are you under any obligation to do a field sobriety test, if the officer says that you must he/she is simply attempting to pull the wool over your eyes.
Please memorize the following:
I hereby invoke and refuse to waive all of the following rights and privileges afforded me by the Constitution of the United States of America:
- I invoke and refuse to waive my 5th Amendment right to remain silent
- I invoke and refuse to waive my 6th Amendment right to an attorney of my choosing
- I invoke and refuse to waive my 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures
If I am not under arrest, or under investigatory detention, please allow me to leave.
Officer, I assert my 5th amendment right pursuant to the laws as established by the Supreme Court of the United States, my lawyer has advised me not to answer nor talk to anyone about any pending criminal case or any civil, administrative, judicial, investigative or adjudicative matter. I waive no legal rights, nor give any consents, nor submit to any tests, or other procedures without a lawyer being present. I also ask that no one question or talk to me without my lawyer there to advise and counsel me.
You aren’t legally obligated to talk to any law enforcement officer unless you choose to. If you feel that the situation is becoming hostile. It may be better that you are arrested than to lay on the highway dead. In addition, if a person does, in fact, shows a sense of knowledge of his/her constitutional rights. It is likely that it will temper, not elevate the level of injustice in these “driving while black” situations. This is simply a layman’s answer to an interaction between blacks and a law enforcement agent who shows disrespect for the laws he/she are sworn to protect.