John V. Elmore, a former member of the State Police and a lawyer for more than 30 years, spoke at a workshop for black teens on how to handle encounters with police. Here are his 30 tips:
1. Never leave your home without ID.
2. Always be polite and respectful when talking with police.
3. Always keep your hands still and visible.
4. When asked to show your identification, move slowly and deliberately.
5. Never ask a police officer for his badge number or name.
6. Never threaten to sue or report a police officer.
7. Never put your hands on a police officer.
8. If you are told you are under arrest, follow the officer’s instructions without argument or questions
9. A big mouth and a screw face will get you arrested.
10. You do not have to consent to be searched or patted down, but you cannot resist a search or pat down.
11. In any police encounter, your goal is to go home.
12. If your rights are violated, let an attorney handle it.
13. If you are arrested, exercise your right to remain silent.
14. The police do not have to tell you why they stopped you or if they arrest you, why you are being arrested.
15. It is OK to ask police officers in a very polite way “am I being detained or am I free to leave?”
16. If you are in a car and the police find a gun or drugs, everyone in the car can be charged with possession.
17. You do not have to consent to a search of your home, but do not physically resist a search of your home.
18. You do not have to consent to a search of your automobile, but do not physically resist a search of an automobile.
19. If the police tell you to disperse, disperse.
20. If a police officer swears, curses or yells at you, respond in a very polite way.
21. Do not get into a fight with a police officer because you will not win.
22. Never run from a police officer.
23. Never get into a high-speed chase with a police officer.
24. If the police pull your car over, turn on the dome lights, roll down the window and place both your hands on the steering wheel.
25. Do not make yourself a target by wearing or having stickers on a car that are offensive to police.
26. Do not play your music loud when driving a car.
27. The police do not have to read you your rights when they place you under arrest.
28. If arrested, never give a fake name.
29. Use common sense and good manners when dealing with the police.
30. Never speak to the media about a police encounter without consulting an attorney first.