Tag Archives: Know Your Rights

Detained by Las Vegas Police for Openly Carrying a Sword While Walking (Video)

Las Vegas Police Detain Black Men Walking While Open Carrying Sword

Two black men were detained, handcuffed, questioned, and photographed by Las Vegas police officers because they were walking while (legally) carrying a sword.

On Saturday (11-14-17), while I was out on a bike ride, I noticed a Las Vegas police helicopter circling the Walmart parking lot just ahead of me. As I reached the area where it was, I looked over and saw three LVMPD police cars with their lights on at the outer edge of the Walmart parking lot.

Once I was inside that parking lot, I could see that they had two black men in cuffs outside of a Dotty’s Casino (a small local “casino” chain that realistically amounts to more of an oversized bar) within it located on Nellis and Boulder Hwy. across the street from the Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino. So I started filming them with a GoPro mounted to the handlebars of my bike.

(See Video embedded below)

At the end of the video, I asked those two men what they had been stopped for and they told me that it was because someone had called to report that they had a sword, something that is by itself not actually illegal (as long as it is openly carried it’s legal just like a firearm or any other non-prohibited weapon). They stated they had been taking the sword to a nearby pawn shop, so they could sell it.

Obviously, they were eventually released without any sort of charges, since they had committed no crime, although the cops made them pose for pictures, which generally means they intend to add them to the gang registry and means that they will be harassed and profiled at every opportunity in the future based on that designation. That’s a pretty common practice by Metro for minorities, bikers, and others that they consider to be the “usual suspects.”

Although this fortunately didn’t result in any sort of physical violence being used against the men, Metro’s “finest” felt the need to not only respond with three patrol officers, but also at one point to have their lieutenant come by. And of course, as was mentioned already it gave them an excuse to play with their new “rescue” helicopter that’s usually busy circling downtown. (Apparently, there’s a lot of stranded hikers down there.)

Beyond the question of whether this was a case of racial profiling (whether it be by the police themselves or the security guard who apparently called them), as the men who had been detained stated, there’s a very real chance that someone will end up getting killed anytime the police are called. Not only does Las Vegas have a history of police violence without any sort of consequences, but not too long ago just one state over, in Saratoga Springs, Utah, an innocent man was shot to death for the non-crime of using a samurai sword as part of a cosplay outfit.

The reality is you should never call the police unless you’re comfortable with the idea that the person you called them on might end up dead. The cops don’t murder someone every time they show up (yet), but if do, they will absolutely get away with it every time (and they know that they will, too).

Note: You can share posts with Nevada Cop Block via our reader submission page. So, if you have videos, personal stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. You can also send in links if you a story involving police misconduct or corruption involving someone within the courts. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

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Know Your Rights Seminar Held in Las Vegas by Attorney Stephen Stubbs (Video)

Note – this is an update of a previous post: “Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd.” This post includes a video of that know your rights seminar.

On March 23rd in Las Vegas, local attorney Stephen Stubbs held a “know your rights” seminar. Although this know your rights class was open (and very much relevant) to the general public, the primary reason for it being held was recent harassment of motorcycle riders in Las Vegas by the LVMPD (“Metro”) using saturation teams and the gang task force, including a “motorcycle intelligence unit” specifically created to gather information on motorcycle clubs.

As Stubbs mentions in the Facebook Live video embedded below, this harassment has involved the profiling of people that ride motorcycles and several violations of those people’s rights. That includes manufacturing suspicion to stop them, attempting to force passengers to ID themselves, and detaining them longer than is required to perform an investigation related to the (often dubious) offense that they have been stopped for.

Obviously, the motivation behind these targeted stops and the attempts to question those stopped is to gather information about motorcycle clubs under the false pretense that anybody belonging to a motorcycle club is a criminal and the even more flawed pretense that anyone riding a motorcycle and/or fitting a certain description must belong to a motorcycle club. Beyond that, Metro has also been known in recent years to illegally put pressure on public businesses, such as bars, to attempt to force them to exclude members of bike clubs from those businesses. This often is done under the threat of having their liquor license taken away.

Included below are embedded videos containing the entire know your rights seminar, as well as a shorter excerpt discussing a somewhat controversial method of handling general police encounters in which police insist on questioning you even after you’ve already invoked your Fifth Amendment right not to speak (use at your own risk).

Full Video of Know Your Rights Seminar

 

Downtown Las Vegas know your rights flyer by NVCopBlock.org

As regular readers of the CopBlock Network know, Stephen Stubbs has a pretty long history (see “related posts” section below) of defending the civil rights of people (including himself) against the police, especially those departments located within the Las Vegas area. That has included defending motorcyclists against the frequent harassment they receive from the LVMPD.

Stubbs has also in the past done know your rights seminars numerous times at events and for various groups (as well as independently) throughout the Las Vegas area. (See below for an embedded video of a previous know your rights training.) Among other things, these seminars typically will cover issues involving the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments such as the requirements for a legal detainment, when you are obligated to identify yourself to police, your rights when the police want to search you, your right to remain silent and why that’s a good idea, and your rights when filming the police (and why that’s also always a good idea).

In spite of the direct motivation for this particular know your rights seminar being the harassment directed at motorcyclists, the topics and rights discussed were not exclusive to cyclists and are helpful and applicable to anyone that is stopped by the police.

Excerpt: How To Handle General Police Encounters in Nevada

LVMPD doesn’t care about the law

Previous Know Your Rights Seminar by Stephen Stubbs

Related Posts:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been featured numerous times on the Cop Block Network. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen on a somewhat regular basis through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on Cop Block involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

  1. Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd
  2. “What Happened in Vegas” Isn’t Staying in Las Vegas; Documentary on Police Brutality Premiers at Cinequest
  3. Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police
  4. LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police
  5. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Explains How Not To Get Beaten And/Or Shot By The Police
  6. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  7. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding Evidence Charges in Court
  8. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  9. Boulder City (NV) Police “Employee of the Year” Commits Perjury to Arrest Man Interfering With Revenue Generation
  10. Las Vegas Metro Police Illegally Search; Sexually Assault Innocent Man to Justify Bullshit Arrest
  11. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  12. Man Beaten by Las Vegas Police For Not Moving Fast Enough Awarded $31,500 Settlement
  13. Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public
  14. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  15. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  16. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  17. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  18. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  19. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  20. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  21. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  22. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  23. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  24. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  25. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  26. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

Other Videos:

The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt

Original Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

Lt. Yatomi is Promoted and Put in Charge of Internal Affairs

5 Comments

Las Vegas Know Your Rights Seminar by Attorney Stephen Stubbs to be Held March 23rd

Tomorrow, March 23rd, Las Vegas attorney Stephen Stubbs will be holding a “know your rights” seminar primarily in response to recent harassment of motorcycle riders in Las Vegas by the LVMPD (“Metro”) using saturation teams and the gang task force, including a “motorcycle intelligence unit” specifically used to gather information on motorcycle clubs.

As Stubbs mentions in the Facebook Live video embedded below, this harassment has involved the profiling of people that ride motorcycles and several violations of those people’s rights. That includes manufacturing suspicion to stop them, attempting to force passengers to ID themselves, and detaining them longer than is required to perform an investigation related to the (often dubious) offense that they have been stopped for.

Obviously, the motivation behind these targeted stops and the attempts to question those stopped is to gather information about motorcycle clubs under the false pretense that anybody belonging to a motorcycle club is a criminal and the even more flawed pretense that anyone riding a motorcycle and/or fitting a certain description must belong to a motorcycle club. Beyond that, Metro has also been known in recent years to illegally put pressure on public businesses, such as bars, to attempt to force them to exclude members of bike clubs from those businesses. This often is done under the threat of having their liquor license taken away.

Downtown Las Vegas know your rights flyer by NVCopBlock.org

As regular readers of the CopBlock Network know, Stephen Stubbs has a pretty long history (see “related posts” section below) of defending the civil rights of people (including himself) against the police, especially those departments located within the Las Vegas area. That has included defending motorcyclists against the frequent harassment they receive from the LVMPD.

Stubbs has also in the past done know your rights seminars numerous times at events and for various groups (as well as independently) throughout the Las Vegas area. (See below for an embedded video of a previous know your rights training.) Among other things, these seminars typically will cover issues involving the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments such as the requirements for a legal detainment, when you are obligated to identify yourself to police, your rights when the police want to search you, your right to remain silent and why that’s a good idea, and your rights when filming the police (and why that’s also always a good idea).

In spite of the direct motivation for this particular know your rights seminar being the harassment directed at motorcyclists, the topics and rights being discussed will not be exclusive to cyclists and can be applied to anyone that is stopped by the police.

The following information is included within the Facebook event description (which can be found here):

Click for full size image

LVMPD made it very clear this week that they are starting up their motorcycle saturation enforcements again. People are being stopped on motorcycles for LVMPD’s intelligence gathering efforts and as a show of force.

Attend this seminar to learn your Constitutional rights, the proper way to handle traffic stops, and the laws that can protect you. You have to know your rights before you can use them. Everyone is welcome.

LVMPD doesn’t care about the law

Previous Know Your Rights Seminar by Stephen Stubbs

Related Posts:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been featured numerous times on the Cop Block Network. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen on a somewhat regular basis through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on Cop Block involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

  1. “What Happened in Vegas” Isn’t Staying in Las Vegas; Documentary on Police Brutality Premiers at Cinequest
  2. Nevada CopBlock Founder Arrested While Filming Las Vegas Metro Police
  3. LVMPD Caught on Body Camera Admitting They Arrested Man For Singing F*ck The Police
  4. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Explains How Not To Get Beaten And/Or Shot By The Police
  5. The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt and it Extends All the Way to the Top
  6. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Ordered to Answer Perjury/Withholding Evidence Charges in Court
  7. Head of LVMPD Internal Affairs Accused of Perjury; Judge Recused Self Due to “Negative Opinion” of Her
  8. Boulder City (NV) Police “Employee of the Year” Commits Perjury to Arrest Man Interfering With Revenue Generation
  9. Las Vegas Metro Police Illegally Search; Sexually Assault Innocent Man to Justify Bullshit Arrest
  10. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs: “Stand Up and Tell the Truth” – Why #PoliceLiesMatter
  11. Man Beaten by Las Vegas Police For Not Moving Fast Enough Awarded $31,500 Settlement
  12. Full Waco Twin Peaks Biker Shooting Videos; Witness Statement Made Public
  13. Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”
  14. Waco, TX; Twin Peaks Shootings Arrests – June 10th Call Flood
  15. Nevada Police Chief Resigns After Protecting Animal Shelter Supervisor Who Killed Pets
  16. Fired NV Police Chief Ordered to Pay Punitive Damages in Abuse of Authority Lawsuit
  17. Las Vegas Attorney Stephen Stubbs Found Not Guilty in 5th Amendment Right to Counsel Case
  18. Game Over for Insert Coins’ and Their Abusive Bouncers
  19. Dance, Dance Revolution Protest at Insert Coins Las Vegas- Feb. 26, 2015
  20. Insert Coin(s) Las Vegas Bouncers Beat Man and Obstruct Witness Trying to Film
  21. Las Vegas Police Promise “Fundamental Policy Changes” after Dominic Gennarino Beating
  22. Las Vegas Police Beat a Man for “Not Moving Fast Enough”
  23. Las Vegas Police Agree That You Should Film Them
  24. Free Know Your Rights Seminar in Las Vegas
  25. Attorney Stephen Stubbs Arrested for Refusing to Leave His Client’s Side

Other Videos:

The LVMPD Gang Task Force is Corrupt

Original Stephen Stubbs Arrest Video

Lt. Yatomi is Promoted and Put in Charge of Internal Affairs

2 Comments

Know Your Rights: Can the Police Make You Get Out of Your Car?

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Omer Jaleel of Jaleel Law in Chicago, IL., via the CopBlock.org Submission Page. Along with the submission, Jaleel included this statement:

I recently wrote an article on my website that I thought would be a great fit for CopBlock.org. The article answers a question that I receive on almost a daily basis at my law firm and I’m guessing that CopBlock.org is the same. That question is whether the police can order you out of your car.

Unfortunately, SCOTUS has held that the police can order someone outside of his or her car based upon officer safety. The article discusses this issue, what the reasoning for the court’s decision was, and what someone can do to protect his or her rights. If you need any additional information about your rights during a traffic stop or are need of a defense lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Can the Police Make You Get Out of Your Car?

Most encounters with the police occur after a traffic stop and while most traffic stops are routine, the cops are trained to view traffic stops as a potentially dangerous or deadly situation. That view sometimes can result in terrible outcomes, which is why it is imperative that everyone knows their rights.

A situation that arises more often than not is a police officer asking someone to get out of his or her car following a routine traffic stop. While common sense says that being asked by the police to get out of your car after being stopped for something as trivial as an expired registration sticker or not using a turn signal is unreasonable and an invasion of someone’s rights, the United States Supreme Court held otherwise. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court held that the police can make you get out of your car after a valid traffic stop. This ruling applies to the driver and all the passengers in a car. Because of this ruling in Pennsylvania vs. Mimms, a person must exit their car if ordered to do so by the police.

Background of Pennsylvania vs. Mimms

Mimms involved a case where two Philadelphia police officers stopped a car being driven by Harry Mimms for driving with expired plates. After stopping his car, the police ordered Mimms to step out of his car, which was common practice for the police department. After Mimms complied with the officer’s order, the police observed an unusual bulge in Mimms’ jacket. The police then searched Mimms and discovered a handgun.

Mimms unsuccessfully sought to have the gun suppressed on the grounds the police violated his 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have probable cause to order Mimms out of his car and reversed the conviction against him. However, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to take the case on appeal to answer the question whether the police order to Mimms for him to get out of the car, which was given after Mimms was lawfully stopped for a traffic violation, was reasonable and thus permissible under the Fourth Amendment?

In a 6-3 per curium opinion, SCOTUS held that the police routinely asked drivers who were being ticketed to exit their cars for the safety of the officer. The police stated that it would diminish the chance that person could get something from the car while the police officer is writing the ticket and attack the officer. Also, if the stop was executed in a high traffic area, having the driver stand between the police car and the driver’s car allows the police to conduct the traffic stop away from moving traffic.

Why Can the Police Make You Get Out of Your Car?

The Mimms court held that allowing the police to make a driver exit his car is a nothing more than a “mere inconvenience” to the driver especially when compared to the safety benefits to the police. The court reasoned that since the car was stopped after a valid traffic stop and ordering the driver to get out of the car was a “minimal and reasonable intrusion” of his freedom. The court further held that the search would have occurred regardless if Mimms was out of his car or seated, because the bulge in his jacket was visible while he was seated in the car. The court held that the bulge allowed the police to assume that Mimms was armed and posed a danger to the police. Under these circumstances, the Mimms court held that any cop of “reasonable caution” would likely have conducted the “pat down” of Mimms.

Conclusion

The dissenting opinions in Mimms that were written by Justices Marshall and Stevens argued that the new rule created by Pennsylvania vs. Mimms greatly expanded the police officer’s right in searching an individual that they stopped. The dissenting opinions predicted what would happen, the police were limited in searching an individual only to the extent they could invent a justification for the search based upon officer safety.

After a traffic stop it is imperative that you do everything possible to protect your rights and that can only begin if you know your rights. If stopped by the police for a traffic stop, the officer can order you out of your car without violating your constitutional rights. However, that doesn’t prevent you from doing everything to protect your rights. Remember the interaction as best as you can and write it down, better yet record the interaction.

However, the most important thing you can do is hire a criminal defense attorney who knows what he or she is doing. Not all criminal defense lawyers are fully versed on the 4th amendment and search and seizure law.

The current state of search and seizure law allows a police officer to order a driver and the passengers out of vehicle that is stopped for even a minor traffic violation. However, the law does not require you to answer any questions or to consent to a search of your vehicle. If a police officer orders you out of your car, you must comply and do what the officer orders, but remember to not answer any questions and don’t allow the police officer to search your car.

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Know Your Rights Seminar At Las Vegas “Rally For Your Rights”

The following post was submitted to the CopBlock Network by Stephen Stubbs. It contains the video of a know your rights seminar, which he gave during an event called the “Rally For Your Rights.” The rally was held in Las Vegas on February 13th at the Leatherneck Club.

The seminar consists primarily of the rights protected by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, both of which deal with rights during encounters with the police. Among other subjects discussed, Stubbs explains the requirements that police officers must follow in order to legally detain someone and what your rights are if detained. He advises everyone to use what he refers to as a magic phrase, “am I being detained, or am I free to go?” in order to determine if you are in fact being detained.

Once that has been determined there are several rights that become important, depending on the answer you receive. If you are not being detained, he advises to simply leave. However, if you are being detained, he advises you to ask what crime they suspect you of, since one of the requirements of a legal detention is that a law enforcement officer has to have reason to believe you have committed a crime, are in the process of committing a crime, or are about to commit a crime.

banner gov

Also, on the video Stubbs discusses your requirement to identify yourself to police (only if detained), what exactly that requirement consists of (legal name, not physical ID), and your right to refuse searches. In addition, he advises anyone dealing with the police to exercise their 5th Amendment right to remain silent and to ask for a lawyer when they are being questioned. Of course, he also suggests that everyone film the police anytime they interact with them.

Stephen Stubbs is a Las Vegas area lawyer, who is pretty well known locally for defending motorcyclists and others who have been abused and profiled by the police, as is often the case with motorcycle clubs. He’s been featured quite a few times on Cop Block previously, including for an incident in which he was arrested after members of the LVMPD Gang Unit illegally ordered him to leave while they were questioning his client. Below are links to those posts.

Related Posts:

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Security Guard With a Criminal Justice Degree; Knows Pretty Much Nothing About the Law

Stupid Security Guard Zappos AcmeRecently, members of Nevada Cop Block and the Sunset Activist Collective were doing a chalk protest on the sidewalks in front of the Zappos Headquarters in Las Vegas. Although Zappos is a private entity, we often protest against them because they use their money and influence to buy land from the city at huge “discounts.” They also leverage that ability to acquire cheap property to drive long standing businesses out of the downtown area. It’s gentrification and cronyism at its worst. They literally bought city hall and it’s not just a metaphor. They have a tight leash on Mayor Carolyn Goodman and most of the City Council members.

They have pushed for and had passed on their behalf laws and city policies, such as beverage sales restrictions and age based curfews, that target their competition (liquor stores) and give police the opportunity to harass people who might be downtown, but that aren’t frequenting the bars that they own or sponsor. Other ordinances they have used their influence to get passed have also targeted street performers, who they also see as competition for the bars, and homeless people.

Security Guard Bachelors Degree Zappos AcmeAs we were in the process of chalking, one of their security guards (the company they work for directly is “Acme Security”) came out and very aggressively tried to claim we couldn’t write on “their property.” Another security guard showed up shortly after and was also acting very aggressive and was equally confused about basic property laws. A third security guard was there, but stayed more or less in the background.

We informed them that the public sidewalk was not their property. Then the first security guard threatened to call the police and also said that we didn’t have his consent to film, which we don’t actually need when filming in public. After we pointed out that he probably should learn basic law if he’s going to work in security, he stated that he was not “just a stupid security guard” and that he “has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.”

Just a Stupid Security Guard Zappos AcmeEventually, after about ten minutes, two LVMPD officers showed up (two more cars also arrived while they were there, but it was basically over by then) and told him he was wrong and we were not breaking the law by chalking on public sidewalks or filming him in public view. It was actually rather humorous (in light of the security guard’s earlier claims about his education) when one of them remarked to us, after I brought up their lack of understanding of basic property law, that they are “just security guards. What do you expect?” (Then everyone laughed.)

There’s really several morals to this story:

Two years ago, three other people and I were arrested for simply writing on sidewalks with “sidewalk” chalk. In total, five of us faced bogus and ridiculous graffiti charges that could have potentially resulted in four years of jail time. Although we’d been harassed a pretty good amount prior to the arrests and for some time after, at this point whenever the police show up, they generally tell us we are doing nothing wrong and then leave.

Because Fuck You (I'm Batman)

Because Fuck You (I’m Batman)

Part of that is undoubtedly due to the lawsuit we filed over those arrests citing the prior harassment. However, the fact that we were vindicated in our original case made it clear that chalking on public sidewalks is not illegal and that the arrests were nothing but harassment, retaliation and intimidation tactics by the LVMPD against someone who was legally and peacefully protesting against their crimes and total lack of accountability. Metro has no choice, but to avoid making that mistake again and they’ve let their officers know that. That’s why it is important to know and exercise your rights.

Even though private security guards aren’t actually cops, they do, or think they can do, many of the functions that police perform. Therefore, it’s important to ensure they understand the laws and rights of people. Although security guards are more likely to be punished for their crimes, especially use of force crimes (and since they aren’t a product of a coercive monopoly there are options available to ensure they are held accountable, even if their employers aren’t willing to do so of their own volition), it’s just as important to ensure they (or anyone in general) know and are following the law and the Constitution.

And lastly, if you’re going to claim you aren’t “a stupid security guard” because you have a degree in criminal justice, perhaps you should crack open a legal dictionary or attend a real college. That way you might know the basics about property law and the First Amendment, instead of looking like a stupid security guard.

Click for related Know Your Rights videos and content.

Click for related Know Your Rights videos and content.


Watch the full, unedited raw video:

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Knowing When And How to Assert Your Rights When Dealing With Police

The post below was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.  The person that submitted the story wanted to share his story about dealing with some Road Pirates from illinois in order to point out how important it is to both know your rights and to assert them any time you deal with police.

If you don’t use them you’ll lose them.

Effingham, Il. City Police

So I was pulled over around midnight heading home from work.  On my way, I noticed a local cop car following about 20 feet behind me, with no lights.  After about four miles, he flashed his lights and I pulled over at a gas station. “No big deal” I thought. Then another car pulled in with his lights on and parked horizontal to the front of my truck, blocking me in.  Two more pulled up by the rear sides of my truck and I was completely blocked in.  A fifth cop car parked in an actual parking spot.

I was pulled over for “no license plate lighting” and was issued a warning.  The officer who issued the warning went to his car to put in the ticket or something.  When he left another cop walked up to the window and asked me stupid questions like, “What type of illegal drugs do you do?”  And “Do you have them with you?”  I kept asking to leave, but that guy was taking forever.

While the second cop was asking me questions, the others were looking over my truck with flashlights.  One officer walked up to the passenger window and asked if he could look in my tool box; of course I said, “No”.  He smiled, looked to his left, nodded, and then the tool box in my bed opened!

“Hey, man!” I yelled, reached for my door handle, and pulled it out as the officer in the driver’s side window locked my door just before I could open it.  Someone said, “There’s an uncased firearm.”  I replied, “What!?! That’s not true!”

The officer unlocked my door, opened it, and held out his hand like a butler would holding open a door.  He pulled out an air soft handgun with an orange tip.  When I got out, I noticed they had taken everything out of my toolbox and put it in my bed.

I’m leaned against the parked car away from my truck and they ask me to turn out my pockets.  I said, “No.”  Then I said I’m not doing anything else until I call my lawyers and parents.  I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that sooner!  They were probably worried sick!

I pulled out my phone and he held out his hand.  I laughed, so did he.  The rest of the officers gathered around, including the one with my ticket.  I asked the officer who had originally pulled me over if I could leave.  “Not until you hand over the phone, boy” one cop said.

I used to read my fathers law books and I’m working on getting a law degree myself, So I manned up and laid out the facts.

“Alright gentleman.  Let me start off with letting you know my parents represent the Charleston (IL) police department, we’ll be expecting an apology, or your jobs, know-your-rightsor both.” The asshole in my father was coming out of me!

“Second off, the Fourth Amendment states you need a warrant to search my phone, or truck for that fact. The Fifth Amendment states I don’t have to give you my phone and I don’t have to let you search my truck.  It’s to prevent self-incrimination.  I have nothing to hide, but it’s my right, and I’m going to use it.  Now, may I please leave?”

They kind of looked at each other and one said, “Okay, but it’s officer safety.  You’ll be arrested for refusing to cooperate.”  I smile and say, “Section 1983, title 42 of the U.S. Code states that I CANNOT be punished for refusing to give up my rights.”  My father pulled that card when the school tried to take my phone. “So go ahead and arrest me, let’s tee it off in “police brutality” case.  After all you didn’t harm me, but tried to strip me of my rights, right?”

I hold out my wrists and stare at the cop that asked the questions in the face.  I looked around and he looked back at me and said, “Have a nice, fucking, night,” and walked off.  The rest followed except for the original cop, who pulled me over.  He asked, “So are you gonna refuse to sign this?”  I said, “No, hasn’t stopped you yet,” and signed it; which after all, really is a traffic violation.

When I told my dad, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him more proud!  He made calls and we were invited to Olive Garden to eat with the police chief.  He paid for the whole thing out of his own pocket.

The Effingham Police mission statement on their website states:

We, of the Effingham Police Department, dedicate ourselves to serve the citizens within our jurisdiction and endeavor to treat all people in a fair and impartial manner.

We commit ourselves to providing professional, high quality and effective police service in partnership with the community.

We hold ourselves to the highest standards of conduct and ethics as we regard it an honor to hold the public trust.

We regard our employees as THE most important asset to our organization. We encourage the intellectual and physical development of our people through training and education.

It seems that the Effingham Police Department left out a section about honoring their oaths to the Constitution of the United States.  After all, it’s just a piece of paper.

You have to invoke your rights, folks.  Officers are counting on you NOT knowing your rights. They can and will use that ignorance to ensnare you into any kind of frivolous charge that they can get you on.  Invoking your rights is not the same thing as being uncooperative.

Do not fall victim to their tactics of intimidation.  There are many resources out there to educate yourself on your rights.  CopBlock.org also has a resources section that can provide you with a wide range of information and direct you to other resources about your rights and protecting yourselves against the police state.

BTW, one of those rights that you should always be exercising is the right to film the police. they aren’t always so quick to back down just because you know your rights. Don’t leave it up to their word against yours.

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More Butt Hurt Reactions From Cops Over Totally Legal One Finger Salute

It seems that officers across the United States still have not read the memo that someone giving you the middle finger is not illegal.  We have yet another story of police officers violating civil rights over the exercise of free speech.  This time it takes place in North Carolina.

This story was shared with NVCopBlock.0rg by Nate, who had the unfortunate experience of being arrested for a simple hand gesture, via the Nevada Cop Block Submissions Page.

Date of Incident: June 24, 2015
Department Involved: North Carolina State Highway Patrol
Individuals Involved: NCSHP Troopers Hundley, Clayton, and several others

I was pulled over in my truck by Trooper Hundley. He demanded my license. Knowing I had committed no infraction, I demanded to know why I had been stopped. (I already knew it was for not having a license plate, but this is not a pull-able offense in NC since our temporary driving certificates are on paper kept within the vehicle.

The trooper tells me it was for not wearing my seatbelt, yet I was wearing it. I argued with him and he went back to his car to write the bogus ticket. Several other troopers showed up, including a sergeant, who refused to verify the dash cam footage showing me wearing a seatbelt. Angry, I took my ticket and went home.

bruisesShortly thereafter, I was out on my motorcycle and stopped to get gas. Coincidentally, all of the troopers from the earlier incident were at the same gas station I was now stopping at. They recognized me and were staring me down as if to intimidate me. I got my gas and left.

As I rode by, one of them waved. I flipped them all off and went about my way. Minutes later, they were flying up behind me and I pulled over. They made me put my hands up and they cuffed me while on my bike, then pulled me off of it. I twisted my ankle in the process and I have bruises on my arm from their fingertips digging in.

They arrested me and took me to jail for “disorderly conduct” for “displaying the middle finger as an utterance of FUCK YOU.” I told them that what they were doing is illegal, since the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the giving police the finger is protected under the First Amendment. I was taken to the jail and released on an unsecured bond by the magistrate.

I’ll be following up with a lawsuit for false arrest and deprivation of constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court of Appeals, Second Circuit has ruled that giving an officer the middle finger is not against the law in their decision in Swarz v Insogna.  Even though it is perfectly legal to do so, I don’t recommend that people just go out there and flip off the cops.  You have to remember that every action has its consequences whether warranted or not.

I am not condoning or condemning the actions of Nate as he is a free man and is responsible for his own actions, but what I will say is that it is wise to pick your battles and when anger has the better of you, it is best to remember that cooler heads prevail. Always stand up for your rights, but keep cool and don’t argue with the officer. It’s best to remain silent (and always film) when dealing with these armed goons in uniform.

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Refusal to Show I.D. in Georgia (Video)

GeorgiaCBLogoThe video below was submitted by Jonathan Beavers, the founder of Georgia Cop Block, via the CopBlock.org submissions page. While this is a short video, it illustrates two things that anyone interacting with cops should make sure they are aware of.

The first is that the cops will tell you that you are required to do things you aren’t actually required to do. (whether it be because they themselves don’t know the appropriate law or because they are just liars and are hoping you don’t know your rights). The second is that you aren’t in fact required to identify yourself, unless you have been detained, which requires probable cause that you are committing, have committed, or are about to commit a crime.

Jonathan states:

On April 7, 2015, City of Canton, GA.  Police Officers Worley and Gerdes were called to my home by a former roommate trying to kick down my door. I proceeded to call my lawyer (as seen in the video) My lawyer told me to keep recording and get back to him and that they were breaking the law. After hanging up with my lawyer, I informed my girlfriend that he had said the officers were breaking the law. At that point, the officer asked me what he (the lawyer) had said, but I told him that I was refusing to answer any questions. He got mad and started asking for I.Ds, after which I shut him down by citing the law (O.C.G.A Code 16-11-36) relating to identifying oneself.

Film the Police Stickers

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The LVMPD Agrees You Shouldn’t Talk to Them and Should Film the Police

Know Your Rights and how to protect them when dealing with police.

Know Your Rights and how to protect them when dealing with police.

About a month ago, in early September, I did an interview with Joe Bartels of “8 News Now,” the local CBS affiliate in Las Vegas. Although the actual interview went really well, once it was broadcast it was fairly obvious that the intent of the piece was already set even before Joe talked to me.

That predetermined slant being the nonsense claim that Cop Block promotes violence against cops and has ties to the Millers, a married couple who recently murdered a couple of Las Vegas Metro cops, but had no actual ties or even any evidence that they so much as followed Cop Block. (Their Facebook pages, which were pretty widely viewed after the incident, contained a grand total of two shares from Cop Block going back three months.) In spite of the fact that I pointed out that neither I nor anyone I know had ever met or even heard of the Millers prior to the day they shot those cops and that in doing so they had actually made it more difficult for those of us advocating for accountability in peaceful ways, he chose to leave all that out and just do a very incomplete paraphrasing of my statements about them.

They also left out all of the discussion about downtown and the increase in harassment by cops there or the historically nonexistent accountability that is so prevalent in Las Vegas area police departments, which was presumably the reason for the interview in the first place. However, I got nothing but positive feedback from it and several people came down to First Friday while other Nevada Cop Block members and I were handing out flyers and actually asked for one, stating that they saw the interview. Plus, the headline of the text version was pretty accurate (“‘Cop Block’ advocates for rights when dealing with officers“). It’s also rather funny to hear all of them making sure that they enunciate properly to make sure they didn’t slip up and say something else when they said “Cop Block.”

Flyering During First Friday in Downtown Las Vegas

Flyering During First Friday in Downtown Las Vegas

Beyond that, that little spinning flyer graphic they made is obviously going to be the opening of all my videos from here on out. Also, as the title of the post states, Metro decided they didn’t want to respond to any of my statements (they held the broadcast back a day in order to talk with a Metro spokesperson), but they did state that they agreed with everything on the flyer, which would presumably include the advice not to speak to cops and to film them. The other thing about this interview that made me rather happy is that it was prompted by someone placing one of our downtown “know your rights” flyers on their news van one day while they were at lunch.

I actually asked everyone that I thought might be out flyering that day and none of them had put it there. Therefore, someone apparently downloaded the file of the flyer that is available here at Nevada Cop Block, printed it off, and went out flyering on their own. I think it is awesome that people are taking advantage of that resource and that people I don’t even actually know are out there spreading the word to protect people from the harassment that has become so commonplace in downtown Las Vegas.

Finally, they also interviewed Stephen Stubbs, a local attorney that does free monthly “Know Your Rights” seminars for Las Vegas area residents, and he confirmed that the flyers contained “sound legal advice.” You may remember Stephen Stubbs from having been arrested for refusing to leave the area after one of his clients had asked for a lawyer during questioning by the LVMPD Gang Unit. He also represents the man who was beaten by Metro cops in a bar downtown because they didn’t think he was walking fast enough.

‘Cop Block’ advocates for rights when dealing… by Copwatch_World-News

Excerpts from the interview:

‘Cop Block’ advocates for rights when dealing with officers

Mounting created Bloggif

Know Your Rights!

LAS VEGAS — A group critical of police is warning downtown visitors of what they’re calling police harassment. The group known as ‘Cop Block’ said it feels that police are overstepping their authority, so they want people to know their rights.

Cop Block is a nationwide movement, and their main goal is to be an advocate for individual rights, so the group likes to hand out flyers with  a series of suggestions on how to handle interactions with police authorities…

The group said it’s handing out these flyers because of an increase in run-ins with police and the alleged harassment people see downtown.

“That flyer is basically a ‘know your rights’ flyer. It’s meant to educate people on what their rights are,” Kelly Patterson, a member of the Nevada chapter of Cop Block said.

Patterson said there’s a systemic problem that exists between police and the public.

“I’m advocating for them to be accountable; for them to do reasonable investigations when things appear questionable,” Patterson said…

We reached out to Metro Police, but they didn’t have anyone available to talk about the alleged harassment, or the flyers being handed out downtown.”

A spokesperson did tell us that the department was aware of the flyers and they agree with the information on them. The flyers five suggestions for people to take in consideration when they come into contact with officers consist of:

  1. Record your interaction on camera.
  2. Do not talk to the police or answer questions.
  3. Ask whether you are being detained, if not leave.
  4. Never consent to a search.
  5. Be polite, but firm.

We caught up with Stephen Stubbs, a local attorney, and he said that’s sound legal advice.

“If you want to talk to police, talk to police. The fact is that you don’t have to. The supreme court has said very clearly that you do not have to talk to police,” he said.

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