This essential edition of HH101 deals with the necessity of knowing the law in regards to the police
Ignorantia juris non excusat. There has been a great deal of violence within many of our communities lately. It is difficult to process the senseless or deliberate taking of a life. It is unfathomable why and how much of this is happening in the year 2014. With so many distractions, young and old people alike are being kept blind to many of the real issues that face certain cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic classes. It is tragic but very real. Right now I want to point out that many of you just read the first sentence and didn’t understand it. I can imagine that many of continued to read anyway, while some of you may have stopped and looked up what the sentence said. Translated from Latin the sentence means ignorance of the law excuses no one. The laws of this country and your state are what you are held accountable or presumed to know. There is no way to cover all of the intricacies of the laws or the variances per state. Needless to say, I implore you to do your research, seeing as how not knowing is not acceptable to the government that considers itself policing you. Listed below are some basic laws when it comes to dealing with law enforcement officials. You can research U.S. laws codes and statues at Justia.com. Additional resources can be located at RCFP
* Find out your states law about brandishing a firearm:
In Virginia (where I am) for instance, if a police officer approaches you touching his gun, even if it is in the holster, it is considered brandishing a firearm. A person can only brandish a gun legally in a situation where they would be justified in shooting the gun in self-defense. In that case the threat must be imminent and either lethal or extremely grave.
* Know the law with regard to recording the police: Resource Guide To Recording
Many states allow citizens to record on duty police officers performing their duties. California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington require the consent of all parties for you to record a conversation. However, all but Massachusetts and Illinois have an “expectation of privacy provision” to their all-party laws that courts have ruled does not apply to on-duty police. Also keep in mind that in most states it is almost always illegal to record a conversation in which you’re not a party and don’t have consent to record. Openly recording police is perfectly legal; however, secretly recording them is not.
According to Flex Your Rights, listed below are some tips when recording
*When responding to officers who question your ability to record them*
Say something like “Officer, I’m not interfering. I’m asserting my First Amendment rights. You’re being documented and recorded offsite.”
*If police follow up by asking for your identification*
In the United States there’s no law requiring you to carry a government ID. But in 24 states police may require you to identify yourself if they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity. In 24 states police may require you to identify yourself if they have reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity. To see if an officer is asking for ID because he has reasonable suspicion ask “Officer, are you detaining me, or am I free to go?” If the officer says you’re free to go or you’re not being detained, it’s your choice whether to stay or go. But if you’re detained, you might say something like, “I’m not required to show you ID, but my name is [your full name].” It’s up to you if you want to provide your address and date of birth if asked for it, but I’d stop short of giving them your Social Security number.
*Know that you have the RIGHT to REF– USE the SEARCH of your vehicle or home if the law enforcement officials do not have a warrant.
Even if the police have probable cause to believe something illegal is going on inside your home, the fourth Amendment requires police to get a signed search warrant from a judge to legally enter and search. Generally the police can obtain consent to search from anyone with control over the property. Someone who has a key, or whose name appears on the lease, can legally consent to a search of the property if no one else is present, or if no one else objects. If you rent the property, be advised that your landlord can also let the police in. Keeping your room locked and maintaining control of your personal space can help protect you if a roommate or anyone else ever lets police in. If your room is off-limits to your roommates and their friends, courts will often rule that it is off-limits to police as well.
In no way can this article give you all the information on this topic. I simply want you to be angry or inspired enough to research and learn the laws that affect you and your families. Remember to follow me on Twitter @NakeashaJ and on Instagram @Melanated_Beauty