Never let the police search you

I’m not a big fan of linking to HuffPo, but Scott Morgan wrote a great article about why you should always refuse a police search, even if you’re innocent.

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.

It just gets more depressing from there.

Ed Brayton would be so proud of me.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • P Smith

    Instead of saying, “I know my rights,” people should say, “I don’t know my rights and I want a lawyer. I refuse to talk to you without consulting one.” Regardless of whether or not you’re suspected of a crime or arrested, it’s safer not to trust cops at all.

    Cops are usually no better than a street gang with legal immunity. They should be held to a higher standard than civilians because they are supposed to know the law. If one breaks the law, he gets a longer sentence than you or I would. Instead, they get slaps on the wrist.

    One of the stories mentioned on the site was of Elio Carrion who was shot by a cop without justification. The cop is facing “attempted voluntary manslaughter” instead of attempted murder. Why? Because he carried a badge? If it had been a civilian shooting a cop, the charge would have been the strongest possible, and attempts to impose the “death penalty” would be made, even without a cop’s death.


  • a miasma of incandescent plasma

    Ed Brayton would be so proud of me.

    Nah, for that you needed to copy and paste 2,000 words of the linked story onto your blog and then, at the end, say “yep”.

    Just kidding Ed, I love your stuff! -_<

  • Jana TheVegan Piranha

    NEVER consent to a search! The police are not your friends, they have quotas of tickets and arrests to make. If they don’t find anything, they might plant something. Make them respect your civil rights, or you don’t have any.

  • Mark

    So, can we expect atheists to fight for the 4th Ammendment in schools?

  • John Horstman

    Also, don’t ever talk to police (video of a lecture from a law professor) – definitely never without a lawyer present, and probably not even with a lawyer present.

  • Pteryxx

    Past Huffpo, the author’s own site makes for interesting reading, especially the success stories of people standing up for their right not to be searched in various situations: when police are already in the house because of a medical emergency, when pulling your car over, when using drug dogs taught to “alert” as a pretext for probable cause.

  • TomeWyrm

    In much the same vein, you should avoid talking to police officers.

    In this pair of videos Mr. James Duane (a professor at Regent Law School and a former defense attorney) and Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department tell you why you should NEVER agree to be interviewed by the police

  • TomeWyrm

    Oh whoops, John Horstman linked the whole thing in a single video. My bad for not fully reading the comment thread!