As we've seen in multiple instances this year alone, police officers brazenly violating the rights of those they're supposed to be actively protecting is an all-too-common occurrence. Recent statistics, for example, show that Black adults are five times more likely than white adults to say that they've been unfairly stopped by cops due to race or ethnicity.
In the latest episode of Complex World, host Speedy Morman takes a close look at the recommended practices—from a legal perspective—on how to respond when approached by an officer who may not be acting in your (or anyone's but their own) best interest.
"It keeps happening over and over again and people are now finally just waking up and realizing it's a problem," civil rights attorney L. Chris Stewart says. Using the recent targeted stop of Salehe Bembury—former Yeezy designer and current VP of sneakers and men's footwear at Versace—as an example, Stewart laid out a few key facts about the rights of any person being stopped by police.
"You have to give them your name," Stewart explained. "But if they don’t have a reason, you don't have to do anything further than identifying yourself. If the officer says he's doing an investigatory stop situation, they can't just search you unless you give them permission. All they can do is an external pat-down without your permission."
Stewart also advises against attempting to "talk your way out of it," suggesting instead that answering the questions in a firm but measured manner could ultimately prove more helpful to the person being stopped. As for filming, Stewart pointed out that a person who's been stopped by police indeed has the right to film, as do witnesses, so long as their filming doesn't "obstruct their movement or their investigation."
Catch the full episode, also featuring conversations with Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young, up top. And for more on Complex World, click here.