What to Do If You Feel Harassed by a Police Officer
If you have an encounter with a police officer that makes you feel like the victim of harassment, it’s important to know your rights. During the interaction with the police officer and afterwards, there are things you can do to ensure your right are protected, including consulting with a lawyer who can help you decide what steps to take in the wake of the harassment. These steps can help you navigate the situation when you feel like you are being harassed by a police officer.
Ask If You Can Leave
Police officers do not have a right to prevent you from leaving an encounter with them if you are not being detained for a crime. Ask the officer if you can leave. Unless the officer tells you that you have to stay, walk away immediately. If you are told that you have to stay, calmly ask why you are being detained. Do not say anything else. Some states require you to reveal your name, but do not say any additional information. If necessary, you can tell the officer that you are exercising your right to remain silent.
Create a Record
During an uncomfortable confrontation with a police officer, try to record the events with your phone. You have a legal right to do so, despite what an officer may say, and it is against the law for an officer to confiscate your phone or view your photos or videos without a warrant. If you don’t feel safe recording, memorize the officer’s name and physical description and write down a record of the events as soon as the encounter ends.
File a Complaint
Contact the officer’s department to file a complaint as soon as possible after the incident. If anyone witnessed the event, encourage him or her to make a complaint as well. If you are concerned about filing a complaint against an officer or if you aren’t sure if your rights were violated, contact a lawyer.
Janet Altschuler will fight for your rights when you’re facing criminal charges and will give your case personal attention, no matter the charge. Talk to a criminal defense attorney in Tucson today by calling (520) 247-1789.