You have legal rights that do not get thrown to the wayside during a routine traffic stop. The Civil Rights Act guarantees your constitutional right to be free from police brutality and misconduct. Unfortunately, it seems like many police officers no longer care about your legal rights these days. Corrupt police officers will often come up with any excuse to use excessive force because they believe they do not face any consequences for their actions.
If you experienced the use of excessive force by a police officer, you understand how helpless it feels. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to prevent it. However, you can take some basic actions to decrease your chances of a violent encounter with the police.
Pull over legally and safely
When you see police lights flashing behind you, do not break any traffic laws to pull over. Activate your turn signal to indicate you understand and want to comply. When it is safe, pull over slowly.
Do not reach for your registration
Once you pull over safely, do not move around inside your vehicle. Keep your seatbelt on and both hands on the top of the steering wheel where they can be seen. Do not reach for your registration or any other documents until asked, and inform the officer before you move.
Do not speak unless you have to
You want to keep the interaction with police as brief and limited as possible. You do not need to admit anything to the officer, but you should not argue or try to make excuses. If possible, keep your responses to “yes” and “no.”
It is unfair that every interaction with a police officer can ultimately put your life and liberty in peril. Until the crimnal justice system sees significant changes, you need to do what you can to protect yourself by interacting safely and respectfully with the police. Still, this will not always protect you from suffering a civil rights violation. If you believe your civil rights have been violated by a police officer, reach out to an experienced civil rights attorney for help.