The American Civil Liberties Union has released apps that provide tips about how to respond when met by police, and two Portland, Oregon, attorneys plan to release their own app called “Driving While Black” that specifically deals with traffic stops.
Portland police spokesman Pete Simpson says the department has no problem with apps that encourage safe encounters. Simpson says if you’re right and the officer is wrong, it’s better to take the high road during a stop and take it up later. “Know your rights and exercise them, but be safe about it,” he said.
Here’s a checklist of ways to make sure police encounters remain peaceful, without squandering rights, courtesy of the ACLU.
— Stay calm and in control of your words, body language, and emotions. Anything you say or do can be used against you.
— Do not argue with officers. If you feel you must tell police they are wrong, do so in a non-confrontational way.
— Keep your hands where police can see them and do not touch an officer or resist physically.
— If arrested, ask for a lawyer immediately. Explaining your situation without a lawyer may harm your case.
— You may ask for officers’ names, badge numbers and business cards.
— You never have to consent to a search of yourself or your belongings, including your cellphone.
— Try to find witnesses and write down their names and phone numbers.
— If hurt, take photos of the injuries, but get medical attention first. Ask for copies of your medical treatment files.
— Write down everything you remember immediately after the encounter.