“Sir, I’m only going to ask you one more time.” Lather. Rinse. Repeat indefinitely.
A man was hassled by a cop for walking his dog at night. A cop-blocking pedestrian came to offer some accountability by simply walking up with his camera. What happens next would be truly funny if it weren’t for the fact that the bullying tactic often works to harm many Americans.
This infuriated the cop who demanded to know the man’s name. “Am I being detained?” was all the man repeated in a respectful manner, also emphasizing that he does not consent to answer questions.
The cop lied when he said he didn’t have the right to refuse to tell him who he was. Then he threatened to lock him up and said he would find out who he is.
But this citizen knew his rights. That he doesn’t have to answer questions unless he is being detained or suspected of a crime.
Tell me – what happens next if the man had told him his name? Clearly, this is a power play as neither the man nor the guy walking his dog has done anything wrong.
He starts posturing and taking thorough pictures of a car (presumably) then later he reports a motorcycle to backup. The funny part happens when the cop insists “You have to tell me your name…I’m a police officer and I’m not going to ask you again.” But then continues to make that threat with the question again and again. “I’m not going to ask you again. What is your name?” The line in the sand goes farther back as his attempts to bully for info miserably fail.
More ridiculous, in a huff he starts calling for backup using all kinds of number codes and feverishly takes more photos like the paparazzi. Then he shines a flashlight at the citizen for a long period of time.
A sheriff’s deputy pulls up and it’s a deputy the citizen knows.
But in the end, the frustrated cop cannot detain the man and knows it.
The citizen used this encounter as an opportunity for activism and education, introducing himself to the man walking his dog, talking about what happened and referring him to some websites.
Do you know how to use your rights? Will you reach out with them to others?
Read other articles by Amanda Warren