Pocket Lawyer

Inspired by the late Huey P. Newton, ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE

To all my brothers and sisters out in the field, voicing against the vast and blatant injustices instilled by our corrupt system, you must be aware of your rights. This pocket lawyer will lay out your general rights while coming in contact with the police, national guard, or any agent of the state. It will also specify your rights as a protester and keep you as protected as possible while undergoing this form of non-violent direct action. Your voices will be heard, your rights will be upheld! This is for the people, education is the first stop on the way to justice. PRINT THIS OUT AND KEEP IT CLOSE. 

General Rights When Coming In Contact With Law Enforcement

1. When stopped by any law enforcement, immediately begin recording the encounter if possible. Evoke the right to remain silent. Identify yourself and cooperate to avoid a violent or lethal encounter. If any other words are to leave your mouth related to the incident, they should be “lawyer”. 

2. Law enforcement must show identification, until that is done they have no power over you. You must get their name and badge number.

3. The fourth amendment protects against unlawful search and seizures. There are three circumstances law enforcement can conduct a search of your persons, vehicle, or home; with a search warrant, probable cause, or your consent. You do not have to consent to a search, do not consent! Make sure this statement is either recorded or in front of witnesses. If the officer continues anyway, they will have the burden of proving probable cause in court.

4. Do not resist arrest under any circumstance, this is an extra charge that regardless of your innocence will be applied. You may not resist arrest in anyway, forcibly or by going limp.

5. In a stop or arrest, police will conduct a pat down. This may result in the taking of any personal possession on your persons. Do not carry anything on you that relates to your employer, friends, or family members. 

6. If arrested, do not converse with the arresting party on the way to bookings. This will only dig you into a deeper hole, it is all psychological warfare. They will act friendly to get you to open up, STAY SILENT.

7. When booked, you have the right to make as many phone calls as you want. This is dependent on the nature of the crime. The first call you should make is to an attorney or someone you trust to get an attorney to you. DO NOT SPEAK OF ANYTHING INCRIMINATING OF YOUR ALLEGED CRIME ON THE PHONE.

8. You have a right to either hire or be provided an attorney, IMMEDIATELY.

9. You are not required to give a statement to the police, do not sign any statement they may give you. Keep evoking your right to silence, your attorney will do the talking.

10. Depending on the crime, you will most likely have the right to post bail. If you cannot pay the fee, you may ask the judge for your release or to lower the fee of bail.

11. Law enforcement must bring you to court or release you within 48 hours if they fail to do so. Unless you are booked on a weekend or holiday, then you must wait until the next day court is in session.

12. You have the right to an attorney, regardless if you have the money to hire one. If you cannot hire an attorney, the state MUST provide you with one.

13. If you are capable of hiring an attorney, call the National Lawyers’ Guild or the BAR Association for your county. They must provide you with these numbers.

Rights of Protesters

The right to peaceful protest is something that is protected under the First Amendment. It is an essential component to democracy. We all have seen how our state applies force to any form of dissent, those who are protesting oppression are repressed. The state will conduct many different ways to repress the voices of protestors. We see this through the use of force, mass-arrests, curfews, and other psychological tactics to instill fear into those expressing their grievances from doing so. Surveillance will be used to collect information from innocent people in these instances for simply being associated with the peaceful action or even being in proximity of said action. Do not let this silence you, that is exactly what they want. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, below they are described in detail taken directly from the ACLU:

I’m organizing a protest

Your rights

  • Your rights are strongest in what are known as “traditional public forums,” such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. You also likely have the right to speak out on other public property, like plazas in front of government buildings, as long as you are not blocking access to the government building or interfering with other purposes the  property was designed for.
  • Private property owners can set rules for speech on their property. The government may not restrict your speech if it is taking place on your own property or with the consent of the property owner.
  • Counterprotesters also have free speech rights. Police must treat protesters and counterprotesters equally. Police are permitted to keep antagonistic groups separated but should allow them to be within  sight and sound of one another.
  • When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything in plain view, including federal buildings and the police. On private property, the owner may set rules related to photography or video.

Do I need a permit?

  • You don’t need a permit to march in the streets or on sidewalks, as long as marchers don’t obstruct car or pedestrian traffic. If you don’t have a permit, police officers can ask you to move to the side of a street or sidewalk to let others pass or for safety reasons.
  • Certain types of events may require permits. These include a march or parade that requires blocking traffic or street closure; a large rally requiring the use of sound amplifying devices; or a rally over a certain size at most parks or plazas.
  • While certain permit procedures require submitting an application well in advance of the planned event, police can’t use those procedures to prevent a protest in response to breaking news events.
  • Restrictions on the route of a march or sound equipment might violate the First Amendment if they are unnecessary for traffic control or public safety, or if they interfere significantly with effective communication to the intended audience.
  • A permit cannot be denied because the event is controversial or will express unpopular views.
  • If the permit regulations that apply to your protest require a fee for a permit, they should allow a waiver for those who cannot afford the charge.

What to do if you believe your rights have been violated

  • When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and patrol car numbers and the agency they work for.
  • Get contact information for witnesses.
  • Take photographs of any injuries.
  • Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

I’m attending a protest

Your rights

  • Your rights are strongest in what are known as “traditional public forums,” such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. You also likely have the right to speak out on other public property, like plazas in front of government buildings, as long as you are not blocking access to the government building or interfering with other purposes the  property was designed for.
  • Private property owners can set rules for speech on their property. The government may not restrict your speech if it is taking place on your own property or with the consent of the property owner.
  • Counterprotesters also have free speech rights. Police must treat protesters and counterprotesters equally. Police are permitted to keep antagonistic groups separated but should allow them to be within  sight and sound of one another.
  • When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything in plain view, including federal buildings and the police. On private property, the owner may set rules related to photography or video.
  • You don’t need a permit to march in the streets or on sidewalks, as long as marchers don’t obstruct car or pedestrian traffic. If you don’t have a permit, police officers can ask you to move to the side of a street or sidewalk to let others pass or for safety reasons.

What to do if you believe your rights have been violated

  • When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and patrol car numbers and the agency they work for.
  • Get contact information for witnesses.
  • Take photographs of any injuries.
  • Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

What happens if the police issues an order to disperse the protest?

  • Shutting down a protest through a dispersal order must be law enforcement’s last resort. Police may not break up a gathering unless there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic, or other immediate threat to public safety.
  • If officers issue a dispersal order, they must provide a reasonable opportunity to comply, including sufficient time and a clear, unobstructed exit path.
  • Individuals must receive clear and detailed notice of a dispersal order, including how much time they have to disperse, the consequences of failing to disperse, and what clear exit route they can follow, before they may be arrested or charged with any crime.

Share this scenario:

I want to take pictures or shoot video at a protest

Your rights

  • When you are lawfully present in any public space, you have the right to photograph anything in plain view, including federal buildings and the police. (On private property, the owner may set rules about photography or video.)
  • Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant, nor may they delete data under any circumstances. However, they may order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.
  • If you are videotaping, be aware that there is an important legal distinction between a visual photographic record (fully protected) and the audio portion of a videotape, which some states have tried to regulate under state wiretapping laws.

What to do if you are stopped or detained for taking photographs

  • Always remain calm and never physically resist a police officer.
  • Police cannot detain you without reasonable suspicion that you have or are about to commit a crime or are in the process of doing so.
  • If you are stopped, ask the officer if you are free to leave. If the answer is yes, calmly walk away.
  • If you are detained, ask the officer what crime you are suspected of committing, and remind the officer that taking photographs is your right under the First Amendment and does not constitute reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

What to do if you believe your rights have been violated

  • When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and patrol car numbers and the agency they work for.
  • Get contact information for witnesses.
  • Take photographs of any injuries.
  • Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

I was stopped by the police while protesting

Your rights

  • Stay calm. Make sure to keep your hands visible. Don’t argue, resist, or obstruct the police, even if you believe they are violating your rights. Point out that you are not disrupting anyone else’s activity and that the First Amendment protects your actions.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, calmly walk away.
  • If you are under arrest, you have a right to ask why. Otherwise, say you wish to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Don’t say anything or sign anything without a lawyer.
  • You have the right to make a local phone call, and if you’re calling your lawyer, police are not allowed to listen.
  • You never have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings. If you do explicitly consent, it can affect you later in court.
  • Police may “pat down” your clothing if they suspect you have a weapon and may search you after an arrest.
  • Police officers may not confiscate or demand to view your photographs or video without a warrant, nor may they delete data under any circumstances. However, they may order citizens to cease activities that are truly interfering with legitimate law enforcement operations.

What to do if you believe your rights have been violated

  • When you can, write down everything you remember, including the officers’ badge and patrol car numbers and the agency they work for.
  • Get contact information for witnesses.
  • Take photographs of any injuries.
  • Once you have all of this information, you can file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.

For further information on your rights to protest, visit https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/rights-protesters

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