This rap sheet has been prepared to help you stay out of jail. In the past, rainbow atherings have been the target of unjustified police influence and harassment, often illegal. Many of the brothers and sisters that have been arrested in the past could have completely avoided wasted jail time and expensive court dates if they had just known a few of their basic rights. This rap sheet is a tool. Read and understand it and next time YOU will have the upper hand in the
ROADBLOCKS (DUI CHECKPOINTS, ETC.)
When heading to a gathering, ALWAYS assume you will run into a roadblock on the way in. It is very important that you know your rights before reaching the roadblock because this is where most of the coercive tactics and encroachments of rights will take place.
Law enforcement officers are trained to intimidate people into consenting to searches. You may be asked SEVERAL times during the detention if they can search your car or person. ALWAYS refuse and you'll be fine. The only legal reason they have to search you without arrest is that they feel they are in danger of being attacked which should not be an issue with rainbows.
If you do find yourself under arrest for any reason, always exercise your right to silence. Continue to refuse to allow any searches and politely inform them that you will not say anything until your attorney is present.
- Your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance should be legal and accessible. You will sometimes need all three as the requirement laws vary from state to state. Always assume that you need all three and you'll never have a problem.
- Your car must be road-legal. No broken tail-lights, windshields,headlights, etc. You will be cited for these.
- Never leave anything in "plain view." Anything inside the car that is visible to the officer is considered to be in "plain view." Although this does not give them the right to search your car, they can confiscate the item and place you under arrest. They will still need to obtain a warrant to search the rest of your car which will not be very hard if they found something in plain view.
- Never consent to a search of your body or your vehicle. This is your fourth amendment. The only reason they would ask is that they do not have enough evidence to obtain a search warrant (or they may just be too lazy to get one). JUST SAY NO!!
At rainbow gatherings in the past, officers have been known to plant drugs in cars after consent to search is given. You can avoid this problem by refusing to consent.
- If you are harassed or mistreated, write down all the information you can about the incident. The officer's county, name, rank, badge number, etc. Date, time of day, location, etc. Contact one of the organizations listed at the end of this document to pursue the matter or just file a complaint with that officer's superior.
OTHER POLICE CONTACT
It is important to remember a few things about police officers. One is that they are aware of your rights and they have been known to intentionally violate them. If you find yourself in a situation with an officer who is out of control, it is best to be submissive in order to avoid injury or even death. Remember that THEY are ARMED AND DANGEROUS!
If you are stopped by an officer outside of a vehicle, your contact with him/her will fall into three categories. Consensual contact, detention or arrest. We are mainly concerned with consensual contact and detention as this document is intended to help you in NOT GETTING ARRESTED.
Consensual contact means the officer comes up to you and says, Can I speak with you?" If you say "yes," you have consented to have contact with the police. This is not good. When you consent to contact, you waive some of your rights especially if you think you may be guilty of something. NEVER consent to speak with an officer.
If the officer asks, "can I talk to you," reply with something like "I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry and don't have time to talk to you right now." If he/she insists, ask, "Are you detaining me? Am I free to leave?" You should ask this several times to make sure the officer will remember you asking if the encounter results in an arrest and court case. If it is really a consensual contact, the officer is required to let you go on your way if you ask to. If you don't verbally ask to leave, the court
will presume you consented to whatever follows.
The police are only allowed to detain citizens when there are "specific and articulable facts supporting suspicion" (SAF) that you are involved in criminal activity.
This means they can't detain you on a "hunch." They must have observed something about your behavior or character that links you with specific criminal activity. If you are detained without SAF, you are detained illegally. If this matter ever lands in court, you may be able to get off because the original detention on their part was illegal.
When you use terms like "detention" and "specific and articulable facts, the officer will usually back down a bit. The majority of a police officer's power in the united states comes from intimidation and prey on the public's ignorance of its own rights.
It is crucial that you let the officer know that you are not consenting to talk with him and that the only way you will talk to him is if he detains you which he can not do without SAF.
If you find yourself under arrest, there's not much left you can do. You are going to be searched. It is important to continue refusing consent to search your vehicle (if there is one involved) as they will still need a search warrant to search your vehicle. This, however, will not be difficult to obtain now that you are under arrest.
By refusing to consent to a search of your vehicle, though, you are maintaining your position. They may get impatient and search the vehicle without a warrant which is completely illegal. If this happens, anything they find in the vehicle will not be accepted by the court because it was evidence obtained illegally.
Those are the basics rights you have when involved with the police. By exercising these rights and using a little common sense, you should be able to have a safe and happy gathering. Below are some legal contacts you may find yourself in need of if placed under arrest.
For everyday police harassment, call COPWATCH at 510/548-0425.
If you feel your rights were violated or that you are being charged unjustly, contact the National Office of The American Civil Liberties Union at 132 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. or call 212-944-9800.
Love your brothers & sisters with guns even when they are misguided.
Know your rights. Spread the light.