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Posts made in January, 2016

By on Jan 28, 2016 in Civil Rights, Communication, Court, Criminal, Fifth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Police | 0 comments

A St. Paul police officer suggested local citizens run over protestors. He told the citizens they won’t be charged with a crime if they handle the inevitable accident in a certain way. I have some thoughts on this. My first thought was: “@$%# this guy.” Upon further reflection, well, that’s still up there. I am going to be fair here and say the police officer that publicly tells people to commit vehicular homicide is a rare one. I’m comfortable saying his views are not commonly shared by people with badges. Also, despite the verbal jujitsu he recommends, you’re probably going to have to deal with the courts if you collide with a pedestrian. But the bigger picture is the disconnect between what a police officer wants and what you, the not-police officer, want.  Someone may believe a police officer has their best interest at heart. This is not the case. Police officers have the best interests of the community at heart, even if it’s in a twisted way like the guy above. But an individual is not a community, and police officers have no problem whatsoever interrogating and locking up a person if they feel that person is dangerous or has broken the laws of the community.  As a member of the community, I am happy police are on the job. As an individual though, I’m nervous and unhappy when I’m dealing with a police officer (at least when it’s not in my professional lawyer capacity). Will this police officer think I’m a threat to the community? Will he or she give me a ticket? Lock me up? This is the disconnect. What a police officer wants to have happen is not necessarily what I want to have happen. We have different agendas. The officer wants to keep the community safe, and I want to make it home to see my family, and ideally not have my insurance rates go up or have to be a defendant in court later. The officer’s job is to keep the community safe. If the officer suspects I’m not doing that, my responsibility is not to make his job easier (or plow into protestors… seriously #%$# that guy). Because of that, if the officer asks me if I...

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By on Jan 18, 2016 in Constitution, Court, Criminal, Noah Weil, Podcast, Police, Traffic Ticket | 0 comments

This week we’re trying something a little different. I’m joined by former guest and criminal defense attorney Denice Gagner. I’m also joined by nonlawyer and overall good guy Eric Reasoner. We talk about a variety of topics, including police, Serbia, the presumption of innocence, and lots more. Warning for the kiddos: the language and content is explicit. Enjoy!   As always you can download the full episode here. Subscribe and rate on...

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By on Jan 13, 2016 in Civil Rights, Communication, Police | 0 comments

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about the Seattle Police and their policies regarding the deaf community. My post emphasized the struggles of the deaf population in these interactions, since conveying the language issue for deaf people is different than for non-English speakers. In 2010 partially-deaf woodcarver John Williams had a tragic encounter with Seattle Police that ended with Mr. Williams being shot and killed. Aside from that, and perhaps because of that, law enforcement in this area has not made any news regarding their interactions with members of the deaf community. To which we are all thankful.  Unfortunately that’s not the case elsewhere. Last year NYPD officers arrested deaf woman Diana Williams. Although the police were on some notice she had a hearing disability, they refused her requests for an interpreter. She was jailed for 24 hours without the ability to communicate with anyone, before ultimately being released. She later sued the NYPD for her experiences alleging, among other things, the NYPD violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. Her lawsuit went well. In any police interaction, it behooves both sides to effectively communicate. A citizen interacting with a police officer should remain calm, polite, and generally decline to answer potentially incriminating questions. They should certainly never get aggressive. But police officers have responsibilities too. They need to actively work to ensure the rights of the citizens they are interacting with are protected. Not every person walking on the street is able to communicate in a way you or I are used to. Police, when exercising their powers, are required to accommodate the existence of people from across the spectrum of humanity. Failing to do so can be expensive, or tragic. Sometimes police interactions lead to arrests and criminal charges. If you or someone you know are facing these kinds of issues, feel free to give me a...

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