Center for Young Women’s Development
WHAT DO WE DO WHEN THE POLICE STOP US?
If the police stop you, you have the right to remain silent.
You do not have to answer any questions, just give them your name, age,
and address. It is best if you provide the basics.
You do not have to tell them anything else or give them permission
to search you. If you are arrested, it could affect you later in
court. Let them know you will not talk unless you have a lawyer present.
Never physically resist. The police will stop you anyway and
pat you down for weapons on the outside of your clothing, but nothing
else. Let them know that this is not cool that they are searching you
without your permission. They may say that they have a warrant to search
you - they might say anything. Ask to see that warrant; whether or not
they have one, you can still protect your rights by making it clear
that you do not agree with their search. If the police search you anyway,
do not interfere; they can use it against you and arrest you even if
you know that search was illegal. Instead, file a complaint after the
Always ask if you are under arrest. If you are not, you should be free
to go. Demand that they let you go if you are not being detained. Never
run from the police because they can then take action, and can hurt
YOUR RIGHTS WHILE ORGANIZING OR PROTESTING
All of the above apply.
Make sure that while organizing, at a protest, for example, you do not
carry any materials that may contain confidential information, numbers
of people you work with, drugs or weapons.
Make sure that you have:
- Legal observers who will watch your back, make sure that your rights
are not violated, and provide you with legal assistance in case of
an arrest. Some nonprofit organizations offer free legal observers.
- A police liaison, someone who is trained about how to deal with
- A tactical team. This is a team of people that know how to move
a crowd and are trained to deal with situations involving lots of
© 2000 by Individual Authors