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86 votes

Suing a Police Officer Instead of the Police Department

Even if you had grounds for a lawsuit, you could not make it come out of the officer’s pocket. Under Chapter 4.64 of the Seattle Code, the City of Seattle is generally required to defend and indemnify ...
cpast's user avatar
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70 votes
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First amendment and employment: Can a police department terminate an officer for speech?

In general, employers in the United States are free to fire you for your speech. The First Amendment does not apply to anyone except the government (other than a narrow set of circumstances where ...
cpast's user avatar
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70 votes
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Can I ask a cop, "What happened?"

You are allowed to ask the police whatever questions you like. There is an upper limit that you can't refuse to obey a lawful order on the premise that you want to ask a bunch of questions, but they ...
user6726's user avatar
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65 votes
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Is it true that a teacher can't engage/attack a shooter from behind during a school shooting that is in progress?

Is it true that a teacher can't engage/attack a shooter from behind during a school shooting that is in progress? No. Any use of force of any kind that only harms or kills the shooter who is actively ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
63 votes

Is it okay to admit to the police that you were speeding? Are there any benefits?

Maybe. In many but not all situations, the police have a certain latitude in how they charge an incident. In many but not all socieities, speeding is seen as less morally repugnant than, say, theft ...
o.m.'s user avatar
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58 votes
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Can illegal aliens claim sanctuary in a church?

The case you identify is not unique. For example, the Unitarian church in Denver has done much the same thing. There is not a legal right to sanctuary in a church. But, as a manner of law enforcement ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
51 votes

Flashing the emergency lights at a vehicle to dim the headlights

depending on the Jurisdiction, you actually were in violation of law! In germany it is a misdemeanor to drive with the high beams on in such a fashion that it blinds or dazzles other road traffic, ...
Trish's user avatar
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49 votes
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Can a policeman have his service weapon on him in a building that does not allow guns?

A follow-up story appears on the local ABC television station, indicating that the security guard pleaded no contest to simple assault. The fact that the security guard was convicted of a misdemeanor ...
Gerard Ashton's user avatar
49 votes

What does "Have you been drinking?" really mean?

'Have you been drinking?' isn't a question with a strictly defined legal meaning. It's the opening gambit in a conversation intended to assess whether it's worth proceeding to a sobriety test. And ...
Laurence's user avatar
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47 votes
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Can a Resident Assistant be told to ignore a lawful order?'

There is a state law that requires you to obey the police: ORC 2917.13, which says you may not Fail to obey the lawful order of any law enforcement officer engaged in the law enforcement officer'...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
47 votes
Accepted

Is it okay to admit to the police that you were speeding? Are there any benefits?

The benefit of not confessing is that they have no confession from you. If you decide later to challenge it on some basis you will have given up any advantage you may have had to get the case ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
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45 votes

Ordered to unlock my car trunk. May I lawfully refuse?

If you comply without protest, this will be taken as consent to a search, and make anything found admissible. One can verbally object. The ACLU suggests the form "I do not consent to searches&...
David Siegel's user avatar
44 votes

Is it okay to admit to the police that you were speeding? Are there any benefits?

The benefit of confession is that it makes the entire encounter go smoother. Denying something which you know you have done and which they know you have done (or even not admitting it) is just wasting ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 1,823
43 votes

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

Yes, police are allowed to touch your car or wipe snow off the windshield to view a parking permit. Indeed, if they just ticketed people because their permit could not be seen through the snow, there ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
41 votes
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Is it illegal to carry someone else's ID or credit card?

I think the officer is probably lying, not just mistaken, but they are not required to always be truthful. In addition to the law against possessing ID with intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
40 votes
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Can I get reimbursed if police shot the window of my car during a standoff?

There is no legal obligation of the police or any of its officers to reimburse you. It comes within a police powers exception to the 5th Amendment obligation to provide compensation for takings. ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
39 votes
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Stop, in the name of the law

In long ago English practice, the phrase used was "Stop in the name of the King". At one time this was, if I am not mistaken, required for a valid arrest. I am talking about a time hundreds ...
David Siegel's user avatar
39 votes

What are the actions a resident should take against police remaining, with no warrant, on residential property after being repeatedly asked to leave?

Yes, your best bet for immediate relief is to call 911 and ask for a supervisor. Generally speaking the police are not legally obliged to explain themselves to you on the spot. They are obliged to ...
Charles E. Grant's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

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

You should file a complaint with the police. If you complain to the police then they might do something. If you don't complain then they certainly won't. Are food trucks licensed? You might try ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 13.2k
36 votes

Can punishments be weakened if evidence was collected illegally?

united-states Under U.S. law, illegally obtained evidence cannot be used to convict someone of a crime, but if they are convicted anyway, it has no impact on the punishment imposed.
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
35 votes

Traffic Accident. Defending myself (Canada)

Let's be quite brutal here. Inexperienced driver doesn't mean the driver made a mistake. Lots of friends in the car doesn't mean they interferred with his driving. Loud music in the car is totally ...
gnasher729's user avatar
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35 votes
Accepted

USA - can police be criminally charged with false imprisonment for a retaliatory arrest?

Yes. Examples of officers charged with false imprisonment for making an arrest without a valid legal basis to do so can be found here, here, and here (the exact name of the criminal offense varies ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
34 votes

Is it illegal to take pictures of the police in public in Germany?

No, but... It is not an offense to photograph people, especially if they are just caught at the edge or out of the center of the photography. However you do not have a right to photograph people ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 37.7k
32 votes

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

Looking at Washington's Identity Theft statute RCW 9.35.020 No person may knowingly obtain, possess, use, or transfer a means of identification or financial information of another person, living or ...
IllusiveBrian's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

Are police allowed to be ignorant of the law?

As I understand, the limited liability that police enjoy, requires that people bringing civil cases against police must prove that the police person should have had a reasonable knowledge of the civil ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 206k
30 votes

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

It depends on the type of warrant. Failure to pay a fine is not necessarily an arrestable offence. The Police Scotland Warrants Standard Operating Procedure (710 kB PDF) states: 5.3 Whilst there ...
Owain's user avatar
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29 votes
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Does a Good Samaritan law protect a person from murder charges if they kill someone who had been violently attacking a police officer?

Good Samaritan laws are not applicable to the facts Good Samaritan laws give a person civil immunity if they render aid in good faith and that aid turns out to do harm. For example, in a person ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 205k
29 votes

Is it true that a teacher can't engage/attack a shooter from behind during a school shooting that is in progress?

No, this is not true In self-defense, anyone is entitled to use any reasonable force to defend themselves (or other people) from anyone who they reasonably consider a threat. They only need to show ...
Graham's user avatar
  • 2,701

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