Protect Yourself

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The following advice is offered by the National Black Police Association , an organization dedicated to promoting justice, fairness and effectiveness in law enforcement.

IF YOU HAVE A POLICE ENCOUNTER, YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF:

  • What you say to the police is always important. Everything you say can be used against you.
  • You have the right not to speak. To exercise this right, you should tell the police, “I would like to remain silent.”
  • You never have to consent to a search of yourself, your belongings, your car or your house. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ask to see it. If they don’t, say “I do not consent to this search.” Police cannot arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search. This may not stop the search from happening, but it will protect your rights if you have to go to court.
  • Do not interfere with or obstruct the police—you can be arrested for it.

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