There are 365 days in a year. In 2021, there were only 10 days that a police officer didn’t kill someone. This statistic is mind-shattering and with the high media saturation of George Floyd’s arrest and subsequent murder last year, more people than ever are wondering how they can help protect members of their communities during an arrest. For those who have adopted this mindset and are asking, “how many murders weren’t filmed?” Police brutality has become something of an epidemic, and we’re here to promote education so members of our communities understand their rights. Today, we have some tips and information as to how you can be an active bystander without getting in the way and risking arrest.
The first thing you need to do is keep a level head. Don’t get in the way or you could be arrested for obstruction of justice. You also want to avoid getting emotional. We know this can be hard to do, but even though the cop is the one with training, you’re the one who’s liable to get shot if they decide you’re a threat. If you know the arrested party, you can calmly and politely ask the arresting officer what the charges are and which jail your friend will be transported to. Don’t argue, just collect as much information as you can. You should also get the arresting officer’s name and badge number. This is especially important if they’re using excessive force and there could potentially be a case for police brutality.
Don’t Lie or Don’t Overshare
If you’re with the person who is being arrested keep your mouth shut and advise them to do the same until there’s a lawyer present. That’s your constitutional right and you’re under no obligation to share information with an officer if you’re not under arrest. For the person who is facing arrest, they are only required to share their name, address, and date of birth.
Start Recording to Discourage Police Brutality
The best thing you can do for someone who is being arrested is document everything that happens. Just keep your distance, at least 6 feet to stay safe. Whether someone is guilty or innocent makes no difference, they deserve the right to a trial. By staying vigilant, you can ensure the accused party gets to go home to their family and gets a fair trial. In Texas, you can record the police in public, although you should announce it and not make an attempt to conceal what you’re doing. As long as you aren’t impeding the officer’s investigation they can’t demand to review the footage you’ve taken or confiscate your property. This is your first amendment right.
An officer may arrest you for failure to comply if you refuse to relinquish the media, but this is illegal. If you’re witnessing police brutality, you should immediately turn off your phone’s finger and face ID so the police officers can’t delete evidence. You might not think that a public servant would do that, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If for some reason, you can’t or are stopped from recording, you still need to document everything. Write down the day, time, place, who was involved, and what they were doing. This information will all be important if there’s an investigation or the arrested party takes the cop to court for police brutality. Even if you’re just documenting everything to “back the blue”, that information could bring clarity to contested points of the case in court.
Comply With the Officer
While we do recommend that you record and protect your constitutional rights, you should also comply with the police orders. If they tell you to back up or move over a bit, do it or you could quickly find yourself in hot water.
A-EZ Out– Dallas County Bail Bonds
Just around 1% of police officers are arrested for fatal shootings each year. It’s a sad reality that many community members are killed without ever getting the opportunity to prove themselves innocent. However, by following these few simple steps, you can help ensure that the person being arrested gets to go home alive and healthy. If a loved one is arrested, don’t hesitate to call one of A-EZ Out’s seven DFW bail bond locations. Once you’ve done your part to keep them safe during the arrest, we’ll post a bond right away and get them released from jail.