The criminal justice system is controlled by law enforcement officers, and for the most part, police officers generally do a good job of keeping the streets safe for all of us. However, it is no secret that police brutality and misconduct is still a serious issue amongst law enforcement personnel.
Most of us rely on police officers to keep us safe, however, there are still chances that the police officers themselves may end up committing a crime against us. The problem with such crimes is that since officers are granted a certain degree of immunity by the law, it can be exceedingly difficult to get justice after having one’s rights violated by a police officer. The best way to deal with police brutality is to remain educated on what rights a person has when confronted by an officer.
When a police officer approaches a person, they should make sure to remain calm. Making sudden movements can alarm the officer and give them a reason or an excuse to use physical force. Even if an officer attacks a person they should try their best to defend themselves without hitting back, as battery on an officer can result in profoundly serious legal penalties.
Though a person may not be allowed to fight back, every individual does have the following rights:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to refuse a search of yourself, your home, or your car
- The right to leave calmly- provided you are not being detained or under arrest
- The right to question the officer regarding your confrontation
- The right to request a lawyer immediately
- The right to file a complaint against the officer
When confronted by a police officer, you should make sure you vocalize what you want to say, without being rude or aggressive. You can ask the officer why you are being detained, and if the officer says you are not under arrest, you can leave the scene calmly.
Can the police stop me if I am a witness to a crime in Alabama?
If a person is a witness to a crime, then police officers can stop and question them about what they saw. This is called a Terry Stop. Police officers can ask the name, age, and address, of a person and request their I.D. However, officers must have a noticeably clear reason for why they stopped the person.
If they only stopped them because of their race or their religion, then their actions come under ethnic profiling and they may be penalized for their behavior. Anyone who feels like they had an unjust confrontation with a police officer should get in touch with a police brutality attorney as soon as possible to begin the legal process.