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Thread: When is it ok to break contact with police??

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    When is it ok to break contact with police??

    So most of us are informed about RAS and Terry stops. We can say the usual "Am I being detained? Am I free to go?"

    When are we actually free to go? I have seen several instances online where police will not directly answer the "am I being detained" question and instead hold the person(s) there until their supervisor, who isn't on scene but is on the way, gets there.

    Do we have to wait around for a cops supervisor? I would think this amounts to being detained in an involuntary manner. If they can't answer about detainment when immediately asked, then I have to make a reasonable assumption that they have no RAS, and hence I am free to go.

    Additionally, most cops like to lecture about personal opinions and what not, especially when they have nothing to cite or arrest you for, and I really could give 2 sh#ts less what any of them "think." Do we have to stand there wasting our time listening to them lecture or can we end that conversation at will?

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    Regular Member Ajetpilot's Avatar
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    Are you a reasonable person?

    I think the point at which a reasonable person would feel he/she is being detained, you are being detained. At that point, it might be wise to say, "I feel I am being detained. I respectfully refuse to answer any further questions; I do not consent to any searches; and I request the presence of an attorney." At this point, the officer knows that without RAS, the stop is violating your rights.

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    I have considered this, but I am not sure if this would be right...
    "Officer, if you do not tell me that I am being detained, then I am led to believe that I am not being detained. Good day.". When you turn and walk away, if you hear anything other than "stop", I'd believe you are free to walk away.

    It's just another idea. Any thoughts on that approach?

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    ShooterMcGavin's phrase is most probably best..., given the Question Topic of this Article.

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    When you turn and walk away, if you hear anything other than "stop", I'd believe you are free to walk away.
    As long as I don't have a piece of carving wood on my hand. :-)

    I really do wonder what walking away would get you?? Likely "contempt of cop".

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Soooo, if the officer is still holding any documents he may have requested from you like ID, etc., do you still walk away?
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    Regular Member SpyderTattoo's Avatar
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    This thread is creeping closer and closer to the boarder of "Cop Bashing Land"...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpyderTattoo View Post
    This thread is creeping closer and closer to the boarder of "Cop Bashing Land"...
    I disagree. Police I have ran into feel they ALWAYS get to choose when an encounter is concluded. My question pertains to when is it legal (or wise) for you to end the encounter? If the police ALWAYS feel they must and will "control" a situation it could spiral out iof control just for you ascerting your rights.

    So it starts with a little chit chat then he/she starts asking questions you either can't or won't answer. 10-1 he/she gets authoritative and tries to control the situation. So what starts as an innocent encounter lends to them digging for anything they can detain you with.

    I just want to know what other people have done, or would do, when in that situation. It's not a far stretch to imagine that if you walk away before the cop feels the discussion is over, the cop might take the situation in his/her own hands via taser or other, to "control" the situation. It's not bashing, its reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Soooo, if the officer is still holding any documents he may have requested from you like ID, etc., do you still walk away?
    Why would you give him/her your id if you weren't being detained??

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJeepster View Post
    <snip> So it starts with a little chit chat then he/she starts asking questions you either can't or won't answer. 10-1 he/she gets authoritative and tries to control the situation. So what starts as an innocent encounter lends to them digging for anything they can detain you with.<snip>
    This would generally be considered 'social' or 'consensual' contact. Assuming you are on foot. I recommend that you recognize the different techniques and types of contact that an officer may initiate. If it is some chit chat and you consent to the contact voluntarily then you are under no obligation to continue talking. IMMEDIATELY, recognize when the chit chat turns to questioning and leave.
    Last edited by gogodawgs; 09-27-2010 at 05:44 PM.
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJeepster View Post
    Why would you give him/her your id if you weren't being detained??
    Are you being detained during a traffic stop?
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

    "If you refuse to stand up for others now, who will stand up for you when your time comes?"

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    Regular Member DCKilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJeepster View Post
    Why would you give him/her your id if you weren't being detained??
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Are you being detained during a traffic stop?
    Traffic stops are different. Its not a not a breach of your rights to be required to show proof that you are indeed qualified and legal to drive/ride whatever vehicle you are in/on. Driving is not a right but a privledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gogodawgs View Post
    This would generally be considered 'social' or 'consensual' contact. Assuming you are on foot. I recommend that you recognize the different techniques and types of contact that an officer may initiate. If it is some chit chat and you consent to the contact voluntarily then you are under no obligation to continue talking. IMMEDIATELY, recognize when the chit chat turns to questioning and leave.
    Good advice as always!

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    Regular Member joejoejoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajetpilot View Post
    I think the point at which a reasonable person would feel he/she is being detained, you are being detained. At that point, it might be wise to say, "I feel I am being detained. I respectfully refuse to answer any further questions; I do not consent to any searches; and I request the presence of an attorney." At this point, the officer knows that without RAS, the stop is violating your rights.
    I think I would answer with this FIRST, before I decided to walk away. I don't want the police officer to say that I "resisted" anything because I walked away on suspicion of a voluntary holding. IF the police officer decides he doesn't want to answer the question directly, then I would walk away and see if he then becomes "direct" in his conversation.

    Joe~

    edit: this is assuming the first question I asked was "Am I free to go?" and he doesn't respond or he says, "I am waiting for my supervisor."
    Last edited by joejoejoe; 09-27-2010 at 06:35 PM.

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    Regular Member gsx1138's Avatar
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    I did see a youtube video where an OC'er asked a police officer several times if he was being detained and they refused to answer. He told them that he took their silence as a no and he was going to leave peacefully. He told them to have a good day and walked away.

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    Regular Member jt59's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    Are you being detained during a traffic stop?
    It depends on how accurate your motorcycle speedometer is ....but I think the short answer is yes, assuming he pulled you over for some violation.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat....Teddy Roosevelt

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    IANAL, but "Officer, I don't desire a casual contact, and have nothing to say. Have a good day." seems appropriate, then leave. Asking if you're being detained puts them in control. If they do detain you, assert your fifth amendment right to silence until you can speak with your attorney.

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    You: Am I being detained?

    Officer: No.

    You: Thank you officer, you may go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanf View Post
    You: Am I being detained?

    Officer: No.

    You: Thank you officer, you may go.
    You're dismissed..... have a nice day.

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    make sure they perform a PROPER about face too!

    "And shepherds we shall be, for Thee, my Lord, for Thee.
    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand, that our feet may swiftly carry out Thy command.
    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee and teeming with souls shall it ever be.
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    I slave and slave...and its all wasted. Nobody pays any attention. Below is a link to a post with reference materials. It includes a link to a case, US vs Mendenhall that gives indicators you can use to determine if you are being detained, even if the cops won't answer your question.

    Also, you can try my method. We have a court case in VA that gave me the idea. Its not a special idea. The implication has always been there amongst existing 4th Amendment case law. Its just the way the VA court phrased one sentence that jelled the idea for me:

    The first words out of my mouth will be, "Officer, no offense. I know you are just doing your job, but I do not consent to an encounter with you."

    First let me say, other OCers will advise first asking if you are being detained. I can understand why, and cannot fault their logic.

    I like my approach better because it establishes immediately that it is not a consensual encounter. The ball is now in the cop's court. If he asks me one question, directs one comment my way, it is no longer a consensual encounter, ie, it is a detention. The advantage is that it immediately throws the onus onto the cop for having genuine RAS to continue the encounter at all.

    I got the idea from a VA court opinion where the court wrote in so many words that there are three types of encounters: consensual, detention, and custodial arrest. "Oh! Wait a minute. I could refuse consent to having the encounter at all, not just refuse consent to a search."

    No more verbal jousting. No more receiving a question about something else in reply. No more having to figure out from the list of indicators in Mendenahall whether a detention is occurring. It is all neatly wrapped up by refusing consent to the encounter itself.

    Now, of course, plenty of cops are going to continue their word games. That is fine with me. I've already got them for an illegal detention if research bears out they had no genuine RAS. Go ahead officer, say to me in an antagonistic tone of voice, "I wanna see some ID." OK, you sunuvabtch, got you on an illegal ID demand. But, I'm straying from my topic.

    So, after politely, verbally refusing consent to having any encounter at all. If they keep asking questions, I just politely invoke the rest of my rights.

    Now, as to the OPers question, I would never walk away from an encounter that did not seem entirely consensual. First, if any of the indicators in Mendenhall were present, I'd just assume I was being detained because 1) the cop might get bent outa shape if I try to walk, and I may receive lumps and bruises, get cuffed, etc. 2) the cop might be looking for an excuse to put on cuffs and make them that little bit too tight, and 3) if I'm detained, I've got the cop where I want him, and when I research the 911 call and so forth, he'd better hope he had genuine RAS.

    Now, let me be clear about that comment, "I've got the cop where I want him." I am not hoping to be illegally detained. I'm not hoping for a payday. But, if some cop has a little anti-gun or anti-OC attitude, and wants to play games, I'll play. I don't want to play; I am not looking forward to playing; but if I am forced by him to play, then I'm going to play. The unprofessional cops that we run into didn't decide to bend and break the 4A and play word games just when we walked into view. They've been doing it so long, its become habit. And, they get away with it because most citizens don't know their rights and cops' legal limits. Aha! Their assumption that I don't know my rights and their legal limits will be their loss. So, if the cop wants to play games about a detention, I want him solidly committed to his illegal detention. The less wiggle room he has to escape later, the better. This is what I mean by having him where I want him. If forced to play, why not play to the hilt, eh? Why be on the defensive? Why not go on the offensive and set things up so you can nail him even harder when its over?

    What follows is the paragraph of indicators from Mendenhall. There is another case around somewhere that expands on the list a little. I'm sorry, but I didn't snag it when I last saw it.

    Examples of circumstances that might indicate a seizure, even where the person did not attempt to leave, would be the threatening presence of several officers, the display of a weapon by an officer, some physical touching of the person of the citizen, or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer's request might be compelled. (emphasis added by Citizen)

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm...6_0544_ZO.html


    Here is the reference materials thread:

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...light=inchoate
    Last edited by Citizen; 09-28-2010 at 01:10 AM.

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