Unlawful Arrest Tips

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What to do if you have not done anything wrong?

  1. WHEN STOPPED BY POLICE, ASSUME A NON-THREATENING BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATELY

    • Always keep your hands visible. Keep your hands on top of your steering wheel until you are asked for information, then explain to the officer what you are doing.
    • If you are in your car and your safety belt is fastened and the police are asking you to show your hands and step out of the car, clearly and loudly say, “My safety belt is fastened. I have to unfasten it”
    • Be aware that there may be video and audio recordings of the incident. Say what you are doing calmly and clearly, while you are doing it.
  1. SPEAK CLEARLY AT ALL TIMES

    • If asked to get out of your car, try to stay in front of the patrol car where a camera is likely to be aimed (but do not disobey officer commands).
    • Be careful not to make statements that antagonize the officer.
    • Keep your voice as calm as possible.
    • Try not to gesture with your hands. Do not physically resist if you are handcuffed.
    • Be aware that if the courts find that the officer had the right to detain you, they will be extremely deferential to the police in decisions to use force prior to your being handcuffed.
  1. DO NOT THREATEN A LAWSUIT

    • That is an invitation for law enforcement officers to pile on the charges and make sure they stick. Officers know that the best defense is a strong offense.
    • Wait until the situation is defused, cleared up, or you are arrested and either jailed or freed.
    • When you hire the Law Offices of Edwin J. Youngblood, we will discuss whether a civil rights lawsuit will help or hurt your defense of the criminal accusation against you. Often, we can make a complaint to the Internal Affairs Division of the police agency.
  1. TRY TO GATHER THE NAMES OF WITNESSES AND PHYSICAL EVIDENCE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

    • Keep in mind that people who witness wrongful police behavior may be outraged at first, but with time that may fade. Have someone get witness statements right away while their memories are fresh and their willingness to help is at its best.
    • The witnesses should include specific details like the date, time, and place of the wrongful acts, words that were spoken, descriptions, I.D. numbers, or names of the officers, and the names of other people who were present.
    • The witness should also tell the story of what they saw in chronological order. Witnesses should provide an address and a phone number. Have lots of pictures taken if needed to document any physical injury or damage. The imprints of too-tight handcuffs will fade in time.
  1. REMEMBER THAT PART OF THE PROBLEM IS ALWAYS POLITICAL

    • It is easy for legislators to win votes by taking a tough stand on crime and voicing support for police. Often, those law-abiding citizens who become victims of police misconduct have also been supporters of tough crime legislation.
    • Politicians who are “tough on crime” should also be tough in support of the civil rights of the accused. Ask them about this when you meet them during political campaigns and elections.
  1. RACIAL PROFILING IS REAL

    • If you’re African American or Hispanic and you’re male, the chances are better than even that you will be stopped by law enforcement officers when you haven’t done anything wrong. If you’re female, they’re only a little better.
    • Other types of profiling exist: police also target young people who wear non- “standard” clothing, having bumper stickers, or come from a club or bars.
    • Do not be tempted to tell the officer that you know this but know that this may be brought up to help our defense.

Call the Law Offices of Edwin J. Youngblood at (817) 236-4242 today!

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