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What To Do If You’re Stopped By Police

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By Black Men In America.com

Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the findings of a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year.

Despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age.

Paired with official government mortality data, this new finding indicates that about one in every 65 deaths of a young African American man in the US is a killing by police.

Police Arrest

Overall in 2015, black people were killed at twice the rate of white, Hispanic and native Americans. About 25% of the African Americans killed were unarmed, compared with 17% of white people. This disparity has narrowed since the database was first published on 1 June, at which point black people killed were found to be twice as likely to not have a weapon.Key Findings:

  • Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week. (See which police departments were responsible for these deaths)
  • Nearly 1 in 3 black people killed by police in 2015 were identified as unarmed, though the actual number is likely higher due to underreporting
  • 37% of unarmed people killed by police were black in 2015 despite black people being only 13% of the U.S. population
  • Unarmed black people were killed at 5x the rate of unarmed whites in 2015
  • Only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved. Only 1 of 2 officers convicted for their involvement in Matthew Ajibade’s death received jail time. He was sentenced to 1 year in jail and allowed to serve this time exclusively on weekends. Deputy Bates, who killed Eric Harris, will be sentenced May 31.
US police officers arrest a black protestor in Las Vegas. (file photo)

US police officers arrest a black protestor in Las Vegas. (file photo)

Being stopped by a police officer is scary. As citizens and members of the public it is our responsibility to know the law and our hope that cops will be officers of justice. But citizen rights are not always respected. So in an interaction with an officer it’s important to avoid doing anything that could result in a risk to our safety. This instructable will walk you through everything you need to know to be safe while interacting with the police.

All of the information in this guide is straight from the American Civil Liberties Union.

1. What you say to the police is always important. What you say can be used against you, and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you badmouth a police officer.2. You must show your driver’s license and registration when stopped in a car. Otherwise, you don’t have to answer any questions if you are detained or arrested, with one important exception. The police may ask for your name if you have been properly detained, and you can be arrested in some states for refusing to give it. If you reasonably fear that your name is incriminating, you can claim the right to remain silent, which may be a defense in case you are arrested anyway.

3. You do not have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your house. If you DO consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ASK TO SEE IT.

4. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police, as you can be arrested for it.

Remember:
Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions.
Do not get into an argument with the police.
Anything you say or do can be used against you.
Keep your hands where the police can see them.
Do not run. Do not touch any police officer.
Do not resist even if you believe you are innocent.
Do not complain on the scene or tell the police they are wrong or that you are going to file a complaint.
Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.
Remember officer badge & patrol car numbers.
Write down everything you remember ASAP.
Try to find witnesses & their names & phone numbers.
If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department internal affairs division or civilian complaint board, or call the ACLU hotline, 1-877-6-PROFILE.

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Click here to read a pamphlet by the National Black Police Officers Association.

 

Several years ago, The Dare To Be King Project founder David Miller created a flyer with 10 Rules of Survival If Stopped By Police that has gone viral.  The Dare To Be King Project inspires, supports and strengthens organizations that provide services to boys of color.

Given the recent developments with police officers and black males in America, this is a timely reminder of the reality for many citizens in America.

10 Rules of Survival If Stopped By The PoliceDavid Miller 2 David Miller is the author of several books, which include Growing Up In a Notorious World (2002), Lessons I Learned from My Father: A Collection of Quotes from Men of African Descent (2004), Dare To Be Queen: Wholistic Curriculum for Working with Girls (2005) and Rhyme & Reason  a Hip Hop Curriculum for professionals who work with teens (2005), Daddy’s Girl: Remembering Advice From My Father  (2006) Where’s Mommy & Daddy?: A Workbook for Facilitating Groups with Youth Who Have a Parent in Prison (2014).  He’s also a graduate of the University of Baltimore with a B.S. Political Science and Goucher College with a Master’s Degree in Education.

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