I’d like to extend a huge thanks to FlexYourRights.org. The information I learned from your videos enabled and empowered me to successfully assert my rights and terminate an unpleasant police encounter.
Recently I was contacted by a local LEO who was investigating a petty theft claim. As I had already left the twin-city he patrols, I had him meet me in the parking lot of the store I was shopping. (He had reached me by phone after a contact at my house.) When he arrived, his manner was immediately accusatory, hostile and threatening. Since my description matched the individual he thought he was after, he assumed my guilt.
I knew from watching your videos that I did not wish to speak to him if I didn’t want to. But his repeated threats to arrest me when my answers did not satisfy him convinced me that he would have violated my rights and take me into custody if I didn’t offer at least some compliance.
When he announced (not asked) that he was going to search my car, (parked, next to us, locked and armed) I quoted from one of your videos, “Officer, I understand you’re just trying to do your job, but I do not consent to searches.” While conducting a visual search through the windows, he repeated his request several times, offering his opinions about how people with nothing to hide do not refuse searches. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have raised my voice as I told him I was merely trying to assert my 4th amendment rights. But overall I remained relatively calm. And my exclamation didn’t escalate things.
When he returned to resume his interview, I was already sick of the entire affair. Again referring to what I’d learned from your videos, I asked, “Officer, are you detaining me or am I free to go?” He told me that I was, and I immediately started walking away. He stopped me a moment, telling me he was forwarding his report to the prosecutor. I ignored him and re-entered the store. I’m now pursuing a complaint.
Editor’s note: It’s generally a terrible idea to agree to meet with investigating officers without a lawyer. That said, Turnkeys’ eventual assertion of rights during the otherwise avoidable meeting seemed spot-on.