Apr. 2nd, 2017

[identity profile] xp-clea.livejournal.com
Okay this is weird beyond weird. A little black and white pebble under my pillow this morning. What is going on? You still have yours, yeah?
[identity profile] x-newscast.livejournal.com
Hey out there. I'm a new contributor, you can call me Dienekes if you want to send emails in for me, and I'm a New York lawyer and a mutant.

I figured I'd start with your legal rights if you get stopped by the police. First, if you think you might be at risk - from anyone, not just cops - it's always a good idea to travel in groups. Allies, this is for you too - if you know a mutant or a Muslim kid or anybody who's feeling the heat, bullies are cowards and they don't like witnesses, so walk with your friends whenever they want you to, in and out of school or work, and don't be afraid to stand up and speak if you see a stranger being targeted.

But now onto the main topic.

You have the right to remain silent, whether or not you're under arrest, though it's best to speak just to make that clear.

You have the right, if they haven't arrested you, to refuse a search of your person, your vehicle, or your home. For mutants who want and are able to hide the signs of your genetic status under clothing, this absolutely means the police cannot force you to submit to a body search without probable cause to arrest you. They can pat you down, but only over your clothes.

If you have not been arrested, you have the right to walk away - but keep things calm. Inform the officers that you're going to leave. Walk, don't run, and don't engage in more physical resistance than absolutely necessary. If, for example, a cop grabs you by the arm or shoulder, stop moving and ask if they plan to arrest you. If they say no, ask politely for them to let you go. If they don't let you go, particularly if you're in a well populated area, scream as loud as you can (note: mutants with voice powers, this may be deemed an assault and isn't as advisable). If they say yes, you have the right to know why. They cannot threaten to arrest you just for wanting to leave.

If you are arrested, do *not* resist, even if you feel it's unjust. Invoke your right to silence, get your lawyer, but resistance to an official arrest can legally be met with violence. If you have powers that may cause harm whether you want them to or not, inform the officer of this before they touch you and if possible, have witnesses that you did warn them.

Even if you are not an American citizen, you have constitutional rights. This includes the right to a lawyer from the moment you're arrested, and you should ask for one immediately if that happens and say nothing else. No explanations, no excuses, nothing until you speak to a lawyer. You also have the right to one phone call, which the police cannot listen to if you choose to call your own lawyer. You also do not have to speak to immigration agents or sign any papers, and if you can't understand the papers put in front of you, you have the right to an interpreter.

When you're stopped or see someone else has been, anything that looks like obstructing the course of the investigation and doesn't fall into your legal rights can get you arrested. This means, among other things, do not attempt to help someone flee who is or is in the process of being arrested. You *can* stand by to observe the questioning and/or arrest. It's not a good idea to tell lies or supply false documents, this will probably come back to bite you. You have the right to know the badge number of any officer who stops you, and they do not have the right to conceal it from you. You have the right to file a written complaint with the department, with the ACLU's help if you want it, if you feel your rights have been violated.

Finally, you may be faced with a situation where you believe the police officer or officers mean to do you physical harm and make up the justification later. If you are in a car and being pulled over, comply but ask to see their identification. If they can't or won't show it to you, lock the doors, call 911 and explain the situation and that you'd like another police cruiser to be sent to your location. You are entitled to ask for this.

Questions are welcome. Please email them to the usual address.

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