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5 Reasons You Should Never Agree to a Police Search (Even if You Have Nothing to Hide)

Flex Your Rights Associate Director and 10 Rules for Dealing with Police co-creator Scott Morgan has an important article in The Huffington Post.

Do you know what your rights are when a police officer asks to search you? If you’re like most people I’ve met in my eight years working to educate the public on this topic, then you probably don’t.

It’s a subject that a lot of people think they understand, but too often our perception of police power is distorted by fictional TV dramas, sensational media stories, silly urban myths, and the unfortunate fact that police themselves are legally allowed to lie to us.

Read and share full article here.

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Over 16 Million YouTube Views Served!

Thanks to you, the Flex Your Rights YouTube channel has reached an astonishing 16 million views and 35 thousand subscribers!

If you’re not yet subscribed to our YouTube channel, please do it now. Whenever we upload a new video, you’ll be one of the first to see it. And by subscribing you can "like" our videos and submit your questions in the comments. (Doing these things helps attract more viewers too.)

You’ll see that we created a new “How to Deal with Cops” video log (vlog). This is for all of you who want to become more intelligent know-your-rights advocates. Here Scott Morgan and I will address current events and discuss topics not fully covered in our full-length videos, BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters or 10 Rules for Dealing with Police.

Also, if you already "like" us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, you may have seen our new "How to Flex Your Rights at Protests" article. (This is also the topic of our newest vlog episode.)

So whether you like Facebook, Twitter, or good old-fashioned email — please watch and share our stuff with all your friends.

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Introducing the Flex Your Rights Guide to Dealing with Cops at Protests

Whether you like to Occupy, Tea Party, or Bikini Flash Mob — the First Amendment protects your right to peacefully protest.

Courts have tended to support a strong and vibrant First Amendment. Its protections are far-reaching and give you great freedom to express your views loudly and publicly.

But before you make your voice heard, you want to be prepared in case your peaceful protest turns confrontational.

View this article.

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Supreme Court Upholds 4th Amendment in GPS Tracker Case

Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court reminds us that the 4th Amendment is at least a little less dead than some have suggested:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled unanimously that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car and monitored its movements for 28 days.

A set of overlapping opinions in the case collectively suggested that a majority of the justices are prepared to apply broad privacy principles to bring the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches into the digital age, when law enforcement officials can gather extensive information without ever entering an individual’s home or vehicle. [NYT]

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Police Say Flex Your Rights DVD is Evidence of Criminal Activity

A controversial police raid of the popular Capitol Hemp stores in Washington, D.C. has become more interesting with the release of the affidavit filed by an undercover officer seeking a judge’s approval to search the premises for evidence of drug paraphernalia distribution. Police allege that water pipes and other tobacco accessories sold at the stores were intended for illegal use, and their evidence includes the fact that Capitol Hemp sold Flex Your Rights DVDs!

Check out this section from the search warrant affidavit, available in full at DCist:

4. While your Affiant was looking at the smoking devices U/C [redacted] observed a DVD that was for sale entitled "10 Rules for Dealing with Police". The DVD gave the following listed topics that were covered as:

     A. Deal with traffic stops, street stops and police at your door.

     B. Know your rights and maintain your cool, and;

     C. Avoid common police tricks and prevent humiliating searches.

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Victory! NYPD Chief Orders Stop to Improper Marijuana Arrests

On Friday NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly issued a directive to all precincts ordering them to stop arresting New Yorkers for small quantities of marijuana if the marijuana is not in plain view.

This is a major reversal for a department that took great pride in its aggressive policing policy. Conducting 600,000 stop-and-frisks, the NYPD made more than 50,000 marijuana possession arrests in 2010. Although marijuana is decriminalized in New York, making possession only a ticketable offense, police have exploited a loophole in the law, routinely tricking and intimidating citizens into "voluntarily" revealing their contraband. This so-called "brandishing" of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime.

The widespread abuse of this tactic inspired the street stop scenes in our two films, BUSTED: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters and 10 Rules for Dealing with Police .

The campaign to end the arrests was led by the Drug Policy Alliance (a major Flex funder). According to DPA’s Evan Goldstein, Flex videos played an important role in the effort.

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The Supreme Court’s Stinky Ruling on Marijuana Odor: What Does it Really Mean?

This week’s Supreme Court decision in Kentucky v. King has civil-libertarians and marijuana policy reformers in an uproar, and rightly so, but it’s not exactly the death of the 4th Amendment. Here’s a look at how this case could impact police practices and constitutional rights.

It all started when police chased a drug suspect into a building and lost him. They smelled marijuana smoke coming from an apartment and decided to check it out, so they announced themselves and knocked loudly on the door. They heard movement inside, which the officers feared could indicate destruction of evidence, so they kicked in the door and entered the apartment. Hollis King was arrested for drugs and challenged the police entry as a violation of his 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches.

In an 8-1 decision written by Justice Alito, the Court determined that an emergency search was justified to prevent destruction of evidence, even though police created the risk of such destruction by yelling "Police!" and banging on the door. The determining factor, in the Court’s view, was that police had not violated the 4th Amendment simply by knocking on the door. Since the subsequent need to prevent destruction of evidence was the result of legal conduct by the officers, the events that followed do not constitute a violation of the suspect’s constitutional rights.

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