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If you are stopped by the police in your car...

A Police Officer can ask you to pull over at any time. You will be asked for your driver's license and registration. If she/he asks for this information, you MUST comply.

IF you are stopped - pull over and sit tight.
IF you are stopped at night - turn on your interior dome light.
PLACE your hands on the steering wheel.
PRODUCE your identification when asked.
REMAIN CALM. NO SUDDEN MOVES!!!! 

If stopped in the street by police...

REMAIN CALM
DO NOT reach into your pockets.
ASK why you are being stopped.

You can be stopped if:

  1. You are running and a crime has just been reported in the area.
  2. You are hanging around with some people who are under police investigation for one thing or another.
  3. You are near an area where a crime has just been reported.
  4. You are somewhere where an officer thinks people have no reason to be at that time of day or night.
  5. You are acting in a way that appears to the officer to be very suspicious, and
  6. you act even more suspicious when the officer sees you have spotted her/him.
  7. An officer thinks that you have stolen property in your possession.
  8. An officer stops you walking and you refuse to answer simple questions, give false or evasive answers or make contradicting statements.
  9. Someone has pointed you out to an officer.
  10. You begin to bad-mouth an officer.

DO NOT BECOME LOUD.

  • KEEP SOME LEGITIMATE FORM OF IDENTIFICATION ON YOU AT ALL TIMES.
  • REMAIN SILENT. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF SILENCE, USE IT.
  • YOU ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT FOR LEGAL REPRESENTATION - NEVER SPEAK WITHOUT A WITNESS BEING PRESENT.

Remember: Depending upon the circumstances, the officer may think he/she has probable cause to stop you or he/she will use any excuse to harass you.

When the police knock at your door...

  • IF the police knock at your door and ask to come in, you do not have to let them in unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. If they have a warrant, ask to see it.
  • IF IT IS AN ARREST WARRANT, CHECK the name to make sure they have the right person.
  • IF IT IS A SEARCH WARRANT, make sure it is for your specific address. LOOK to see what is listed on the warrant to be searched for in your home.
  • IF the warrant is proper, you must allow them in.
  • IF the police do not have a warrant you may let them in BUT you do not have to let them in unless they insist on coming in. Try to settle the issue at the door. If they do insist over your objections, then be careful to:
  • IF you are not sure that they are really police officers ask for the name of the highest ranking officer present at your door and a phone number where his identity can be verified. Call his/her command number, and even 911 so that a record can be established.
  • FIRST, Ask for a police badge.
  • SECOND, Ask them what their purpose is in coming into your house.
  • THIRD, If you object, make sure you tell them you do not consent to any search of your home.
  • FOURTH, Write down the names, badge numbers, physical description of the officers and the date and time.
  • IF the police take any of your property, they are REQUIRED TO GIVE YOU A WRITTEN RECEIPT for it.
  • IF they don't give you a receipt, ask for it. They are not required to give you a receipt for the property they intend to book as evidence such as stolen property, guns, etc.
  • The police may also search without a warrant whenever they have arrested a person. They may search his person and the area close by where the arrest was made.
  • They may also search after consent is given, so if you object, be sure to make it clear that you do not agree to any kind of search.
  • They may also search when there is an emergency (for example, someone screaming for help inside your home) or when they are chasing you or someone else into your home. This is called the EMERGENCY EXCEPTION. 

When an incident occurs...

  • Whenever an incident involving the police occurs, ALWAYS:
  • Look at the badge number and name tag of the officers. 
  • Remember it and write it down as soon as possible
  • If badge and name are not in full view, make note of the physical description of the officers. 
  • Look for the Precinct Number or the Division (Transit, Housing, etc.) This can be found on the brass insignia on the officer's shirt collar. 
  • Make note of the number of officers present. 
  • Make note of any witnesses
  • Take note of where you are. 
  • Take note of when (date, time of day) the incident occurred. 

A L W A Y S WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!

TIPS ON RECORDING AN INCIDENT

Whenever an incident occurs, as immediately as possible, solicit all the facts. Speak with all involved and all who witnessed it.

ASK

  1. WHEN?
  2. WHERE?
  3. WHO?
  4. WHAT?
  5. HOW?
  6. WHY?

WHEN DID THE INCIDENT OCCUR?
The date and time.

WHERE DID THE INCIDENT OCCUR?
In the home, on the street, in the school?
Be as specific as possible. (IE. the southeast corner of 163rd Street and Main Road)

WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE INCIDENT?

  1. The victims
  2. The witnesses
  3. Their names, addresses, phone numbers, and a description of them, what they were wearing, any weapons involved.

WHAT KIND OF AN INCIDENT?
What started the incident?
What weapon was used?

HOW DID THE INCIDENT GET STARTED?
How was it dealt with?

WHY DID THE INCIDENT OCCUR?

Write everything down. Be clear. Do not be suggestive, just ask basic questions.

Ask questions individually away from others to avoid the confusion of stories. If possible, try to visit the scene of the incident with the victim or witness and go over the incident.

Take keen note of the surroundings for comparison with stories being told.

If you have a complaint that you wish the NAACP to investigate, please complete the printable complaint form.