Know your rights

(Photo by Wikimedia)

People walk down street. (Photo by Wikimedia)

By Gustavo Quiros

Many people who get arrested every day don’t know their rights, so what’s to stop an officer from taking advantage of his or her power if they sense you don’t know what you can and can’t do in that situation?

Educating yourself about what your rights are is the first step to having more control in the event of an arrest. This in no way means, go out and look for ways to contradict the law but rather go and obtain knowledge that can help you and inform you in the long run.

Being knowledgeable about one’s rights has very valuable uses and can help you out in a pinch of  situation but there are also ways of conducting yourself during an arrest that can make the process go a lot smoother.

“Look up your rights, they are all over the internet,” said police officer Jonathan Murphy. “We are not hiding them from anyone and encourage people to use them.”

That’s right, in order to have control over a situation such as a questioning or arrest it is essential that the person accused of whatever it may be knows what their rights are. Today we live in a world of technology and getting information is easy, a monkey could do it. Going on the internet and searching a website such as the ACLU or American Civil Liberties Union can help with teaching an individual what their given rights as an American citizen are.

This information is out there and ready for the nation to use, it is neither hidden from sight nor forbidden to be seen and yet people still don’t know their rights. Knowledge is power and using this power in the right way can help in a sticky situation with the law. However, it’s not about what you know but more about how you go about practicing what you know.

“If you truly want things to go smoothly, don’t try to talk your way out of it or get smart with us” said Murphy. “You’re better off cooperating and saying less because think about it, how many people do you know that have talked their way out of an arrest?”

If an officer is going to arrest you then they have evidence of something that gives them reason to arrest you, even if you are completely innocent. Trying to talk your way out of this will end up only making the cops upset, avoiding this method is a good way to avoid more problems down the road. Conducting one’s self in the proper manner during an arrest or questioning is vital to being able to enforce an individual’s rights.

People seem to think that if they know a thing or two about their rights it is okay to get smart with the law and that only turns sour all too soon. Keeping a calm level head helps the victim out because if the officer is crossing a line for whatever reason, especially if there are witnesses, then they will be less likely to get away with it. But what if there are no witnesses and you seem to be in big trouble with the law? Well don’t worry there’s an app for that.

The ACLU came out with an app for IOS devices in September of 2012, the intention of the app is to record an interaction with the police in order to monitor and take care of a situation if you feel your rights were possibly violated. The app itself is very primitive in today’s standards and could use many improvements but a little searching around for similar apps will show that others, more up to date can get the job done just as well.

The only drawback is that you might be paying something as opposed to getting it for free. The point is that the issue of mistreatment by police officers has come up time and time again thus showing a need for such an app to be used by the general public.

“I actually didn’t know there were apps that were dedicated to recording police officer interactions, that would honestly make me think twice about what I say,” said Murphy.

In today’s world, cops are held just as accountable for what they do as they ever have been with the ease of video recording and smart phones. It is imperative that people know their rights and also know the tools they have at hand in order to ensure these rights are not violated, but most importantly, knowing how to handle situations the right way and in the right manner.

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