Police at my Door: What Should I Do?

Great item by Theodore Dalrymple, from wchildblog. First, a personal observation:


I just had this conversation recently, about how few people are alert and informed about what their rights are, and can act accordingly (and respectfully). When confronted by a law enforcement official it’s easy to be intimidated. Easy to be misled. Or simply not confident enough to manage the encounter and be your own  best advocate.

police knock on door

I saw a YouTube video recently featuring a young, hyper-informed law student who’d been detained by a cop, simply for legally carrying a pistol (in a state where open carry is permitted) because a passerby spotted it and it made them uncomfortable. Then complained to the police about seeing a man walking down the sidewalk with a gun on his belt and thought the somebody better look into it.

A policeman (who clearly didn’t understand the law any better than the complaining citizen did) confronted the guy, detained him, and had him surrender the weapon. Not realizing his detainee was fully aware of his rights, and with no shortage of confidence. The cop was stubborn, and confused. The law student was agitated, impatient (but not rude or abusive) and had complete verbal control of the situation. Arguing, citing case law, refusing to cooperate, not even giving his name. (news to me, you’re not required to give your name just because a cop is curious, if you’re not under arrest, and you’re obeying the law. This law student flat-out refused to identify himself to the cop)  The whole incident captured on video. It’s brilliant. More on this in a moment… back to Theodore Dalrymple:

Theodore Dalrymple writes: Don’t be intimidated by police at your door. These rules will help protect your rights and improve your odds of avoiding a home search.

No Warrant, No Search!

The Supreme Court has ruled that the home is entitled to maximum search protection. Even if they have probable cause to believe something illegal is going on inside your home, the 4th Amendment requires police to get a signed search warrant from a judge to legally enter and search.

Clip from the DVD, 10 Rules for Dealing with Police

The major exception to the search warrant requirement is where consent is given to an officer’s request to enter. If, for example, an officer is legally invited into your home, any illegal items that are out in the open – or in “plain view” — can be seized as evidence, which can lead to an arrest. That being the case, it’s always wise to keep any private items that you don’t want others to see out of view of your entrance area…

Read More @ LewRockwell.com

Okay, back to cop and law student story. (I should find that YouTube video) It was like a master class in arguing with an overzealous cop, and prevailing. The cop had no choice but to return his property and let him go. If it was me? I might have been able to hold my ground, not accept being run over. But then again, I might not have. I certainly don’t have the bravado this guy had. Few of us do.

The police officer failed right at the beginning. I’m disappointed that the cop didn’t think to ask the complaining citizen: “Was this man behaving in a dangerous or suspicious manner? Was he just walking down the street?” and then inform the complainer that simply seeing a man (or woman for that matter) with holstered gun is not by itself cause to ask for police intervention. Instead, the cop fumbled it, nearly breaking the law himself, temporarily detaining and disarming a citizen for absolutely no justifiable reason.

I suppose the same goes for a knock at the door. If a cop has a warrant, they won’t ask if they can enter. They just come in. If they ask if they can come in, and wait for your approval, it’s because they don’t have a warrant. And they’re hoping you’ll say yes.  Because once you give verbal consent for the police to enter your house, you’ve prematurely surrendered your right to decline their request, and you no longer have the benefit of your constitutionally-protected privacy. Theodore Dalrymple explains it better.

Don’t forget to check out 10 Rules for Dealing with Police

if you get it via this link from Amazon,it helps support this site.

One last tip for dealing with cops. The opening moment of your encounter is critical. The first impression counts. The cop has to quickly size you up (and protect himself). If you’re firm but respectful, if you can demonstrate that you’re sober, polite, and informed–not crazy, dangerous, or suspicious–all in the first 30-60 seconds, you’ll be on solid ground. And he’ll think twice about trying to intimidate or mislead you.

Stay safe!

2 Comments on “Police at my Door: What Should I Do?”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet Great item by Theodore Dalrymple, from wchildblog. First, a personal observation: I just had this […]

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