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 ...
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 ...
52
votes
7answers
15k views

Suing a Police Officer Instead of the Police Department

My car was towed in Seattle for an alleged parking violation. I paid $350 to get it back and then went to court and had the violation dismissed. The police officer who wrote the ticket and called for ...
46
votes
5answers
10k views

Can a Resident Assistant be told to ignore a lawful order?'

Today I have an interesting question involving Police, Fire and university administration. A little bit of background: for the past few years, my University has been involved in a small, awkward ...
44
votes
3answers
14k views

Can illegal aliens claim sanctuary in a church?

This tweet (as quoted in a Washington Post article), seems to suggest that illegal aliens can claim sanctuary in a church: #GuadalupeGarcia attorney says @ICEgov has lied to him and he will advise ...
44
votes
1answer
24k views

Can I ask a cop, “What happened?”

Around 10pm, I see red and blue lights through my window. I look outside, and I see 7 cop cars (and a bike) in front of my house. There are 8 cops standing around in a circle, laughing -- I'm ...
40
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2answers
5k 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 ...
34
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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 ...
34
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3answers
8k views

Stop, in the name of the law

Does the popular media cliche Stop, in the name of the law have any founding in actual law or policing practice, either current or historical? Did police ever say this as a matter of course? If so why?...
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: ...
26
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2answers
10k views

Can a policeman have his service weapon on him in a building that does not allow guns?

I am French, so the US regulations about who can hold a gun where are complicated for me, I apologise if the question is obvious in the US. YouTube brought me to a 2019 case (the TV News version and ...
24
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3answers
9k views

Is it illegal to carry someone else's ID or credit card?

I was watching a video by RealWorldPolice about a high school student who was arrested for carrying a loaded gun into his school in Seattle, WA. Footage of the entire search, detainment, and arrest of ...
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 ...
23
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6answers
7k views

First amendment and employment: Can a police department terminate an officer for speech?

The following article from CNN describes a Michigan police officer being put on administrative leave for having KKK material at his home: https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/10/us/michigan-officer-placed-on-...
23
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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 ...
22
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2answers
9k views

If police come to my house with a warrant for my arrest, can they break in?

Suppose police have a warrant to arrest me for a minor offense, like failure to pay fines. If police come to my residence and I quietly hide they go away. If they see me at the window or I speak ...
20
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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 ...
20
votes
2answers
7k views

Can a police officer film me on their personal device in my own home?

A police officer was allowed into my home by another occupant before I arrived. During the encounter, I began recording the situation. After attempting to have me remove my sunglasses and stop ...
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 ...
19
votes
5answers
165k 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 ...
17
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1answer
13k views

Can an officer wipe snow off a windshield to verify a registration or parking permit?

In my New Jersey residence it is required to have a parking sticker to park on a residential street, a sticker placed left-rear of the vehicles. This particular day there was snow on the vehicles, ...
15
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4answers
3k views

When can a US police officer stop me from recording our encounter?

During any encounter with a US police officer, under what circumstances would the officer have the right to force me to stop recording our encounter with my smart phone, and can he prevent me from ...
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 ...
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
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2answers
1k views

Was the Dec. 2018 arrest of Huawei's CFO in Canada legal?

Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of the Chinese company Huawei was recently arrested in Canada, and is facing extradition to the US, allegedly on charges of breaking violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. The thing ...
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

Is a US (New York) police officer allowed to take your keys at a traffic stop?

So I was browsing Reddit earlier and came across this video of someone on a motorcycle lane splitting in New York (which is illegal there), when a police officer swerved into the path of the rider to ...
12
votes
2answers
209 views

Is there protocol for US police officers for handling a fellow cop that is using excessive force?

If I'm a police officer in the United States and my partner is restraining a suspect with an excessive or otherwise out-of-protocol use of force, what am I legally allowed to do to stop him?
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 ...
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 ...
12
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1answer
6k views

Placing a Police Officer Under Citizen's Arrest

If you place a police officer under citizen's arrest, does that officer still hold the authority to arrest you?
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) ...
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Alternatives to pleading the 5th that also offers protection

I watched a old video (Don't talk to Police) that popped up while looking up information related to cyber forensics and false positives. I gathered the following points: You can't talk your way out ...
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....
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is homeowner liable for police injury during raid

Hypothetically speaking, let's say that a person is very paranoid about intruders, government, end of the world, so on. They decided to buy some land and have a fence around the property with clear ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How do US municipalities get their authority to govern?

Municipalities in the US can: Make laws that apply to all people who find themselves within their boundaries. Tax residents. Tax economic activity (e.g. sales). Arrest people and apply other police ...
10
votes
1answer
11k views

Does a black belt have to tell the police that he/she is a black belt

Someone I knew told me that if a black belt in martial arts is pulled over, he/she has to tell the police that he/she is a black belt because he/she is a deadly weapon. I told him that I didn't ...
10
votes
1answer
96k 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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
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? ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

What liabilities do the police/CPS have if you are found innocent?

Being accused of a crime you did not commit is an expensive problem. The police may kick your door in and ransack your house looking for evidence. They may deprive you of your property (phones, ...
10
votes
3answers
482 views

Under what circumstances could law enforcement hack a server?

I recently read a wired article about Silk Road and the arrest of Ross Ulbricht. The article describes how an FBI agent attempted to discover the true IP address of the Silk Road Server: Tarbell [...
9
votes
1answer
408 views

Can law enforcement legally force someone to unlock a device themselves in the US?

We're all likely aware of the big Apple vs FBI case where the FBI wants to force Apple to open a back door in its encryption on iPhones, and we'll soon discover what the law will decide on that, but ...
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Can a law enforcement officer temporarily 'grant' his authority to another?

The emergency services dispatch of Small-town, USA receives a call from a citizen near city limits. The citizen placed the call after he drove past a roadkill deer off to the side of the road. It is ...
8
votes
3answers
812 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 ...

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