Today, I had coffee with Derek Minno Bloom, a representative from Albuquerque Copwatch, a community oversight organization that monitors police interactions with the public. In the course of our conversation, he mentioned that he regularly witnesses people waive their constitutional rights when encountering the police.
Unfortunately, I was not surprised.
Most people give up their rights without even knowing that they are doing it. Other people waive their rights knowingly because, let’s face it, whether you are engaging in illegal activity or not, a police encounter can be nerve-wracking. Law enforcement officials are trained to use their authority to pressure people into incriminating themselves. However, it is the police officer’s job to collect evidence against you–not yours.
An educational nonprofit called Flex Your Rights has produced a fantastic and very thorough video featuring former national ACLU Executive Director Ira Glassman that demonstrates how you can best exercise your rights during a police encounter. Give it a watch to learn how you can survive a police encounter with your rights intact. And please, share this video with your friends; they may thank you for it someday.