Questions tagged [police]

Use this for questions about interaction with law enforcement, as well as their procedures and regulations.

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76
votes
4answers
23k views

How can you tell if you have to follow a police officer's instructions?

If a police officer gives me an order, how can I tell whether or not I'm legally obligated to follow that order? If I ask the officer, is he/she required by law to answer truthfully? If the police ...
12
votes
1answer
9k views

Can I defend myself from excessive police force?

Hypothetical situation: Say the police are chasing me. I get tackled after which I go limp and stop resisting. Subsequently the officer starts throwing elbows to my face. I'm not sure why he's ...
28
votes
7answers
11k views

Can I booby-trap my property against police?

Inspired by this question: Suppose I'm paranoid (perhaps justifiably) that law enforcement personnel might conduct a warranted raid of my property. So I setup booby-traps that are designed to either: ...
23
votes
3answers
11k views

Am I legally able to use lethal force against a police officer in defense of another?

Hypothetically, let's say I come across a police officer about to discharge his firearm at a person laying face down on the ground, hands in my clear view, clearly (to me) unarmed and apparently ...
10
votes
1answer
97k views

Can you legally defend yourself against an attacking police officer?

If a police officer physically attacks you, with or without intent to arrest, can you legally defend yourself? Assume that the police officer punches/kicks/grabs first, and you are not guilty of any ...
9
votes
3answers
818 views

Are cops required by law to have “reasonable suspicion” in order to detain a person? If so, do they have to inform the detainee about the suspicion?

I was stopped while cycling on hwy 59 in Texas, about 50 miles south of Huston. Officer started asking me questions about my travels. I asked: "Have I done anything illegal? Officer: "No, but I ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it legal for police to travel with a film crew and publicize arrest footage without consent?

Am I right to assume that police bodycam footage is only allowed to be released as part of a court order / as evidence? If this were true, than wouldn't a news crew accompanying the police officer ...
40
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2answers
6k views

If the police search my vehicle or house without my consent, and they don't find anything, what recourse is there?

I understand that if the police perform an illegal search, then any evidence found during that search will be excluded from a trial, but what if they didn't find any evidence? If the police do an ...
38
votes
4answers
8k views

Consent to searches: Who wins “my-word-against-yours?”

Hypothetical Officer testifies citizen consented to be searched. Citizen denies consenting to be searched. There is no other evidence (that weighs net in favor of either party). Question Whom ...
19
votes
5answers
10k views

What happens if I shoot a police officer in self-defense during a SWAT raid?

No-knock SWAT raids are very popular, especially in the US. But how do you know that the heavily armed persons are policemen? Isn't it very easy to mistake them for robbers? What if I try to defend ...
14
votes
2answers
17k views

(When) are police required to identify themselves?

It was my understanding that when a citizen asks for an officer's name and badge number, they're required to provide it to you (in Michigan). Is there a law pertaining to this? If so, is it only the ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Do you have to follow all the orders a police officer gives?

Saw a video on YouTube where a woman is being filmed in Walmart. From what I understood, she was being accused of shoplifting (I guess rolled the cart beyond the registers without paying?), and then ...
60
votes
5answers
47k views

Is it illegal to run away from a police officer in a way that provokes them, in the US?

So I know this is very silly and obviously hypothetical, but I've wondered about it for a while. Let's say you aren't doing anything (else) illegal, you don't have anything illegal on you, and you ...
24
votes
1answer
5k views

Under what circumstances am I obliged to show ID to a police officer?

In the UK, if a police constable stops you on the street and asks for your ID, when are you required by law to give it to them? Must there be reasonable suspicion of a crime? What about if you're ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Police encounter: “Why do you think I stopped you?” Is there any legal downside in answering “I don't know”?

Many police encounters in the United States start with the police officer asking "Why do you think I stopped you?" Is there any legal downside in answering "I don't know"? If state-specific, I am ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Do police have a civil duty to do their job?

If someone steals my car and the police refuse to respond, and in fact prevent me from taking action to recover the car. Can police be sued for not doing their job? I.e., if I spend millions of ...
8
votes
2answers
537 views

Why do cops make up funny stories when detaining people?

In case cops are decent human beings, and these answers are true and the nature of their stop just does not allow them to truthfully tell their victims the reason for the stop, why do they make up ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

Does handing keys to police under duress constitute consent to search?

Suppose a police officer demands, through a closed window, to search your car or dwelling. Knowing your rights you say, "I do not consent to a search." The officer then declares, "I don't care ...
6
votes
2answers
16k views

Under what circumstances can the police detain you?

after watching the video about the recent fiasco in Mckinney Texas I was curious about whether any of the teens that the officer pulled over had the legal right to just walk away. Under what ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Can anyone prevail against government law enforcement agencies for defamatory press releases?

The following problem is becoming notorious (among first search results: "online guilty before proven innocent"): Police arrest or charge citizen for a crime. Police issue press release about the ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

How must undercover police officers identify themselves?

This question (and this one written in parallel) comes out of discussion on a more specific question with details about a particular situation, which was apparently too specific for this site. When ...
2
votes
2answers
9k views

Is the thin blue line on the stars and stripes considered desecration of the flag?

Police officers all over the country are flying a flag or wearing patches of the following flag. Isn't this considered desecration of the flag under 18 U.S. Code § 700?
10
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2answers
2k views

Does a police officer have to get permission to break the law?

Does a police officer require permission before breaking the law? Justice Brandeis states: Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same ...
4
votes
1answer
774 views

When can someone who's not a police officer use physical force?

When can a civilian use physical force on someone? Are there any other times besides in self defence? Is it legal to use physical force in the event of an emergency, for example if you shove someone ...
4
votes
1answer
910 views

In the US, when and how must police identify themselves during an arrest? What are the remedies?

When and in what manner must police officers identify themselves during an arrest such that a charge of resisting arrest could be sustained against the arrestee in the case that they resist the ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it justifiable to disarm a policeman who is tasing an unhealthy person?

Is a citizen justified in disarming a policeman who is applying a taser to a suspect who committed a misdemeanor, but who is at an elevated risk of dying due to health conditions of which the police ...
3
votes
4answers
577 views

How can I tell whether my 4th amendment rights have been violated?

From what I understand, a police officer can stop and harass (detain and ask questions with zero apparent "probable cause") all their hearts desire without being required to tell the detainee what the ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

What happens if a driver refuses to sign a speeding ticket?

Hypothetical Facts A driver is pulled over for speeding. The officer writes a ticket and asks the driver to sign it. After questioned by the driver, the officer explains a signature is not an ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the limits on police “qualified immunity”?

When the police seize property in the course of their official duties, they have "qualified immunity." How is that immunity qualified? I.e., what are the minimal conditions under which they could be ...
1
vote
3answers
226 views

Do police have special protection in shootings, related to Breonna Taylor

I know this is a hot button issue. I was reading about self defense with a firearm and found the general rule that a person that instigates a fight cannot use a self defense argument when using deadly ...
0
votes
2answers
6k views

Would a police do anything if someone is provoking a fight?

I'm not looking for legal advice from a lawyer. I'm living in a shared house with a bunch of young people and one is trying to provoke a fight with me. After getting in my face and trying to ...
19
votes
5answers
166k views

What laws are there regarding being pulled over by an unmarked cop car/undercover cop?

Although this has never happened to me, I've read and heard about people driving on the road and then being signaled (in some way, usually with reds and blues) to pull over for a ticket and the car ...
34
votes
2answers
7k views

Do the police have to kick someone out the house if the owner demands it?

I phoned the police to kick my in laws out the house after they started to take my furniture when they were only meant to take theirs (splitting up with wife). They came but refused to kick them out ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

Is mere accusation without evidence other than testimony of the accuser, grounds for arrest in the UK?

Several years ago I was stopped in public by the police. Someone had 'identified' me as abusing them in terms of their gender two years before that. Had that happened, I suppose it would have been ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it legal to lie to a US federal law enforcement officer?

If a law enforcement officer stops someone on the street and asks questions related to an investigation, the person is not under oath. The person therefore presumably cannot be prosecuted for perjury....
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Self incrimination vs. obstruction of justice / destruction of evidence

Suppose a police officer has probable cause to arrest me based on evidence in plain sight. He wants to initiate a search pursuant to arrest. Before the officer can detain me, I put the (alleged) ...
12
votes
2answers
7k views

Legal standing for a Police Officer to force you out of a private vehicle

Lets say you're sitting in a fast-food parking lot eating the food you just purchased from the establishment. Your windows are rolled up and the vehicle is turned off. A police officer pulls into the ...
12
votes
2answers
11k views

Does a citizen have to open the door to UK police if they do not give a reason?

I just watched a video of English police talking to a lady through her door. She refused to open up unless they told her why they were there. The police refused and told her to open up or they would ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

I was racially abused at a public park. What legal actions can I take?

I was racially abused at a public park. Basically out of no where he called me a terrorist. I ignored him. After a while he came directly to me and ask me to go away and said this is Australia. The ...
9
votes
1answer
11k views

Can police enter a dwelling to intervene in a suicide attempt in a state where suicide is not a crime?

I have often heard claims that the reason suicide (and attempted suicide) is criminalized (at common law, if not statutorily) in some states is that it allows law enforcement personnel to enter a ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Are police legally required to stop a crime they see being committed?

Say that a police officer walks down an alleyway and very clearly sees a crime being committed; say a mugging or a rape. Is the officer legally obligated to try to stop the crime? By “legally required”...
5
votes
2answers
135 views

How is an area deemed unsafe and needing to be cordoned off?

How is an area deemed unsafe and needing to be cordoned off? Would it be the person at the top of the law enforcement agency (police chief or sheriff) who would make the decision that a particular ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Why can security guards/bar bouncers physically remove a person and it's not considered battery?

This is a follow up to this question about when someone can use force on another person. Are security guards or bouncers, such as at a concert or night club, given special privileges since they work ...
4
votes
2answers
197 views

Police questioning in Arizona regarding gun possession

Is it possible to legally have a firearm (handgun/rifle/shotgun) in a vehicle that a person is the driver of, and NOT tell the police in Arizona whether they have a firearm or not? According Arizona ...
1
vote
3answers
14k views

Car collision but no damage: Call the police?

Recently one of my friends was involved in a bumper related collision during a rainy day. The collision resulted in no damage to either car. Would my friend at, this point, have been able to: 1. ...
1
vote
1answer
387 views

Is it legal for police to deny protection to an informant despite a known threat?

So, the second season of Daredevil came out today, and internet lowlife that I am I'm already a few episodes in. A pivotal part of the plot involves a criminal who police are well aware would almost ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it legal to record conversations with police?

If I am stopped by the police for questioning on the street, would I be within my rights to record the conversation on my phone to avoid any looseness with accounts of what was said on either side? ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

If police get a search warrant, does it have any limitations? Must the person turn over all passwords?

I'm not sure how to phrase this question and I guess it depends on circumstances. Say the police suspect you of building a bomb and a judge issues a warrant. To what extent can they search you and ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

If roommate steals, can police search other people's rooms too (US)?

I was speaking with my friend, who sounded real nervous, saying she thinks her roommate might be stealing from work. It's been going on for a few weeks and she can't tell for sure, because her ...
5
votes
1answer
309 views

Are law enforcement officers obliged to apprehend a subject committing a crime at the earliest possible opportunity?

Inspired in part by this question: if a person is committing crimes of increasing severity, are law enforcement personnel obliged to apprehend them at the earliest opportunity? Specifically, are they ...