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Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:42 PM

The Atlantic: A Guide to Good Etiquette When You're Under Arrest

Adam Martin 132 Views 1:28 PM ET

We're not here to pass judgment on why you wound up in police custody, but if it happens you should know how to comport yourself while getting arrested and once you're in a holding cell. Now that jail authorities can strip search you even if they don't suspect you of carrying contraband, etiquette is especially important. There are all kinds of reasons you could find yourself behind bars: Maybe you got scooped up at a protest such as Occupy Wall Street's May Day action. Maybe you got a ticket carrying an open beer from one party to another, forgot to pay it, then got stopped months later on your bike after the citation had gone to warrant (this happens, trust me). Maybe you're on probation and a cop thought she saw you dealing drugs. Whatever it is, the way you behave can have a lot of bearing on whether this is a 24-hour ordeal that you can dine out on for years, or a 72-hour nightmare that you wish you could forget.

We spoke with Deitrich Epperson, a Queens-based defense lawyer and former prosecutor; Arthur Grix, a retired NYPD officer turned private investigator; Mike Lyons, a former Yonkers police officer turned private investigator; and Max Berger, a frequent Occupy Wall Street protester who's spent two different stints in custody, and compiled their advice into the 10 handy tips below.

Do: Be polite, respectful, and professional with the cops, even if they're being jerks to you. That means staying relaxed, speaking in a measured tone, not swearing. You're all professionals getting a job done. This can be tough to adhere to in a heated situation, but you have to do it or else cops, being the first people you deal with, can delay your journey through the justice system. "Cops are very much into their respect and how they’re treated," Epperson said. "If you start getting belligerent with them, I guess it’s obvious, but they’ll get real nasty and there are all kinds of little things they can do to delay the case. They can wait to fingerprint you, they can also delay transporting you from the precinct down to the courthouse. They can say 'I don’t have overtime authorized so I have to come back on my next shift to process this arrest,' they can wait on speaking to the DA’s office to get the paperwork together." It's not like they want to do that stuff, though, and if you're nice to them while going through the process they probably won't.

And then it gets really dumb:

Don't: Claim you're sick or need medical attention. This is a big one, Epperson said, because if you're sick or need medication or face any other health problems, "they now have a legal obligation to take you to the hospital and that can mean an extra day in jail. So even if you are having a panic attack or you need medication or something like that, try not to request medical care. If you have a family member or friend or something who can bring you medicine that can be good."

More: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/04/a-guide-to-good-etiquette-when-youre-under-arrest/50800/


Really? Don't request medical attention if you need it? I wonder which one of these bozos gave that advice.

(disclaimer: I went to college with Max Berger and was acquainted although not friendly).

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Reply The Atlantic: A Guide to Good Etiquette When You're Under Arrest (Original post)
ellisonz Apr 2012 OP
Cleita Apr 2012 #1
JDPriestly Apr 2012 #2
Zorra Apr 2012 #3

Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 02:47 PM

1. I don't really pay much attention to what is said in the Atlantic.

Anyone knows that when one is in police custody, it's better not to make them angry.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 04:09 PM

2. I think it is a good article.

Lots of young people do not know this stuff. And it isn't a matter of knowing it. It is a matter of remembering it under stress.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Apr 6, 2012, 05:03 PM

3. So, in other words, make sure you act afraid of, and are subservient to, your abusers.

Otherwise, they will very likely violate your rights and abuse their authority even more by abusing you even more.

Not all cops are bad, but way too many of them are.

Some nice upstanding deputies once handcuffed me behind my back and proceeded to grind my face into the dirt while they beat me on the back with billy clubs.

I had done, or said, nothing violent or provocative, and was cooperative and had not posed any threat to them whatsoever.

They were just mean, angry, ignorant good ol' boys who didn't like me, and they figured they had good reasons.

This is actually a very long involved story, and some of it had to do with past politics, but the bottom line here is, they illegally beat me while I was totally helpless, and I did absolutely nothing to warrant it. And I couldn't do anything about it; it was my word against theirs. And my word means nothing in their world, unless it is backed up with video.

So yeah, of course it's always best to keep your mouth shut when you are held prisoner, and then make a plan and wait for the day you get your chance to be the girl with the dragon tattoo.

However that may manifest.


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