Questions tagged [police]

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

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74
votes
4answers
15k 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
4k 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 ...
21
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5answers
8k views

Can I booby-trap my property against police?

Inspired by this question: Suppose I'm paranoid (perhaps justifiably) that law enforcemen might conduct a warranted raid of my property. So I setup booby-traps that are designed to either: A. ...
38
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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
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4answers
7k 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 ...
17
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3answers
8k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
56k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
470 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 ...
58
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5answers
42k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
410 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
9k 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
3answers
4k 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
538 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
2answers
13k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
936 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
504 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
1answer
2k 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
931 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
416 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
138k 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 ...
11
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2answers
538 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
12
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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
2k 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
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) ...
4
votes
2answers
112 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k 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
1k 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”...
1
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3answers
12k 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
307 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
773 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? ...
7
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
2answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
281 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
3k 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
3answers
544 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
336 views

Does a dog attack warrant immediate police assistance?

Earlier today my mother and I were attacked by a large German shepherd. The owners had left their dog unleashed on their property which has no fences or any division between their large lawn and the ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Is it ever legal for a company to instruct employees not to call 911?

First question, is it illegal to prevent someone from calling 911 in the event of an emergency? I'm assuming it is. I had an internship in large corporate buildings and have seen some weird things. ...
3
votes
3answers
221 views

Laws “insulating” police from lawsuits

In a news article describing a local attorney's multiple lawsuits against various officers in the police department of Salem, NH, the article said: Vogelman files the suits in federal court because ...
2
votes
2answers
587 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 ...
1
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2answers
87 views

Verifying LEO status online

Is it possible to verify (online) if a Florida neighbor is an active Law enforcement officer? Is there a single agency in which all Florida LEO must register? The neighbor claims to be a law ...
1
vote
1answer
383 views

Dodging police bullet illegal?

Would dodging, or otherwise itentionally avoiding, being shot by the police be considered resisting arrest? Mainly regarding U.S. law, but interested if any other law adresses this.
1
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2answers
616 views

Are Police legally allowed to confiscate a Camera and Phone over “suspicious activity”?

A photographer is recording from a public sidewalk when he is confronted by Police. He refused to give his information because he had committed no crime. The Police then tried to claim that he was ...
1
vote
1answer
403 views

Hit during traffic stop

Ameer is driving in fast traffic on a highway when Bob, a police officer driving behind him, lights up the blues for a traffic stop on reasonable suspicion of speeding. Ameer looks for a safe place ...
0
votes
2answers
234 views

Can a police officer authorize the sale of a pharmacy's drugs to a suspected criminal without paying for the drugs first?

Can a police officer authorize the sale of a pharmacy's drugs to a suspected criminal without paying for the drugs first? Does this violate the United States or State Constitutions?
0
votes
1answer
105 views

Is there any law (US, UK, or Canadian) that limits the scope of a search, so that unrelated crimes can't be prosecuted?

Are search warrants limited to evidence for a specific crime? For example, assume a search warrant is issued based on probable cause of property theft. While executing this search warrant, the police ...