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When I wrote:
>>If you are stopped by the police, you are required to
>>identify yourself if asked.
Chris Hibbert responded:
This is not true. If you're driving a car you are
required to have a license. If you're just walking
around, you're not required to have a name, or to tell
Nope, *this* is wrong. In most jurisdictions, you do not have to
provide *physical ID* if you are not in a car, but you do have to
identify yourself AND give some account as to what you are up to.
A cop has to have a probable cause to arrest you, and
not giving your name doesn't provide it.
/Au contraire/, you are "interfering with an investigation" or
"obstructing justice" or whatever it's called in the particular
If you're surly, a cop can take you in, ...
Nonsense. Where do you non-lawyers get this stuff? Surly, rude,
impolite, etc. are all protected speech. (Threatening *ACTS* or
physical resistance, however, is another thing.)
... Just say "Officer, someone is waiting for me. May I
Just say "no"? I *guarantee* this won't work. If you are asking
permission ("May I go?"), aren't you ceding to the officer the
legal right to say "no"? If you believe you don't have to
interact with the nice man, why not just turn your back and walk
away without a word? (I wouldn't advise it.)
This has been tested in court. There was a black lawyer
several years ago who liked to walk a lot. He lived in
one of the fashionable neighborhoods in LA, and
occasionally got picked up because he "looked like he
didn't belong there". He sued them and won in court
every time, and got the police to leave him alone. [No,
I don't have references.]
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. The gentleman in
question was not a lawyer. He was a black man who was dressed
and coiffured in dreadlocks and Rasta man clothes. He did not
live in Beverly Hills nor Belaire, but he did like to take long
walks in those neighborhoods in the middle of the night.
He was arrested for not identifying himself with an "official"
ID. When he sued, the court issued a temporary injunction
against the police for requiring *documentary* identification.
The right of the police to require a person to identify himself
was never in question. I'm not sure what the disposition of this
particular case was, but that's irrelevant, as it only went to
the issue of documentary ID. (If memory serves, there was an
interesting result of this case. The California legislature
attempted to pass, or passed, a law that required to showing of
official identification if demanded by a police officer. I don't
know how this law ended up, unfortunately.)
S a n d y