Monday, May 23, 2011

Just Say "No"

A disgusting abuse of authority in Tennessee. Cops, under the guise of enforcing drug laws, are stopping innocent people and stealing their money without probable cause. The officers search the vehicles then take the money and leave without ever charging the driver with a crime. It's made legal by asset forfeiture laws. All cops have to say is that they think that their may be a possibility that probably your money could have been somehow connected to drugs, then the money is theirs. Take a look.
But, notice something in every one of those encounters? The cops always ask if they can search. That is the only right you retain. Because the officers have no probable cause, the only way they can search your vehicle is if you let them. So if they ask, just say, "No."

A great website about this is Flex Your Rights. The Supreme Court has repeatedly lowered the bar on police integrity. Over and over again, they have said if you do not assert your rights, you lose them. Here is how Flex Your Rights would have you handle this type of police encounter:
If police detain and frisk you, you have the right to clearly state your refusal to consent to the search. For example, you may say "Officer, I'm not resisting. I do not consent to this search." But you should only verbally refuse. Never physically resist. Just touching an officer could get you tasered or beaten. You could also get a felony charge for assaulting a police officer. 
Whether or not they frisk you, an officer may ask you a series of questions, which may include something like "You don't mind if I have a look in your car?" While this might sound like a command, it's usually a request -- and the 4th Amendment protects your right to refuse search requests...
In response to such request, you may politely decline by saying "Officer, I know you're just doing your job, but I don't consent to searches." Some officers may use their authority to make you feel obligated to prove your innocence by asking "What do you have to hide?" Don't fall for such tricks. If necessary, repeat your refusal.
DO NOT make the mistake of letting them search your car. You may not know what is in there. Once, after getting my car washed, I found a vial of what looked like K2, which had recently been banned by the FDA. Even if it was legal, it was a suspicious looking herb in an unmarked, glass container. Definitely cause enough for a police officer to arrest and detain me.

And it's not just Tennessee or just money that's taken. Texas received an asset forfeiture grade of D-, the same as Tennessee. According to the Institute for Justice, Texas' asset forfeiture laws are written in such a way as to make "property owners bear the burden for innocent owner claims, making owners, in effect, guilty until proven innocent." And, here in Houston, they're stealing cars.

So, assert your rights and just say, "No."

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