My fiancée was out of town last Saturday, so I hung out at a bar with Scott Morgan. We reminisced about our amazing 10-year partnership. (In fact, Scott will be the best man at my wedding next spring!)
When we met, I was a 25-year-old trying my darndest to look like an earnest khaki-clad non-profit pro. Scott had impressed me enough on paper with his straight-A transcript from Guilford College where he majored in criminal justice. So I invited him to lunch.
Despite his crazy droopy eyes, his 2-pack-a-day menthol cigarette habit, and frequent use of the word “dude” — I knew that this dude was smart. (Brilliant, perhaps.)
So I invited him to give me his double-barrelled criticism of my screenplay, which would eventually become BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters. After enduring a 30 minute lecture on criminal procedure and constitutional law, I realized Scott was the missing piece that would make this project possible.
10 years later, Scott puffs his trademark electronic cigarette. (He quit real cigarettes for good last year.) Chatting up a young guy on the stool next to us, his face light up when he hears what we do. “I’ve seen all your videos on YouTube!” He explains that he’d been arrested after consenting to a car search. The cops found a single pill. He didn’t have a prescription. Now he’s got a criminal record.
We’re not amazed anymore when people tell us they’ve seen our videos. What’s really cool is that for every I-wish-I-had-known-my-rights story, we hear a success story. Sometimes success is avoiding a police search and driving away with your dignity intact. Other times success is being able to fight a petty possession charge in court.
But once in awhile we meet someone who flexes their rights perfectly — on video — AND is able to broadcast the encounter online to hundreds of thousands of people AND launch a federal lawsuit that could positively impact the way police across the nation are trained to handle traffic stops.
Those wins make our late hours, insecure incomes, and other challenges worth the trouble.
In 2002, Flex Your Rights began as an idea on a 40-page screenplay. By 2012, we’ve broadcast a message of hope to tens of millions of people. If technology continues apace, I expect we’ll look back in similar astonishment of our achievements in 2022.
Thank you for your enduring support in defense of liberty and justice for all.
Founder & Executive Director