You're Face To Face With A Cop...Here's What You Should Do

December 12th 2014

Alex Mierjeski

There’s a spotlight on police right now in this country, and it isn’t illuminating too many flattering characteristics.

Following the succession of police-related deaths in recent months, not to mention the scathing Department of Justice review of the Cleveland Police Department, movements and protests across the country have been ramping up efforts to help assuage fears and moderate safe interactions between police and citizens. We have reported that protests over police brutality continue to burn in Berkeley, Calif., and thousands have showed up in support of the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and others killed by police in marches in Washington, D.C, New York, and Los Angeles.

The national outrage we have seen in recent weeks is unquestionably necessary and overdue, and at best, we can hope for some real, legislative change. The Obama administration has already announced measures to begin mending a widespread endemic distrust of police with federal money for body cameras, and a task force to prepare a report on 21st century policing within 90 days. But change takes time, and with protests and demonstrations not showing many signs of declining, it’s important to stay safe and keep a level, knowledgeable head when interacting with police on the streets.

If your grasp on the Miranda rights is a little foggy, or if you’re unsure of what to do when an officer stops you on the street, here’s a handy infographic, along with some other resources (below), to keep in mind when interacting with police. 

Know Your Rights
Source: Online-Paralegal-Programs.com

Over at USA Today, five legal experts answered some relevant, street smart questions about navigating police and unique, state-of-emergency laws like curfews. 

Flex Your Rights, a civil liberties non-profit, has some helpful tips, like a FAQ page with constitutional rights that apply across all 50 states. 

The American Civil Liberties Union produced this video featuring comedian Elon James White explaining how to safely handle being stopped by the police.

It's part of a larger project with information on being stopped by everyone, from the police, to higher profile departments like immigration and the FBI. They even provide a download link for a foldable, wallet-sized fact sheet.