anonymous November 20, 2013 7:56 AM

For some reason I was thinking about this: Chris Rock – How NOT to Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police!

Chris’s first suggestion to “obey the law” is no longer valid advice.

Someone November 20, 2013 7:58 AM

When the rate of violent crime goes down, what do you expect the remaining police officers to do?

Anura November 20, 2013 8:04 AM


Here in America, we don’t spend billions on police so that we can get cavity searches and enemas for looking nervous. We expect them to harass teenagers and dissidents, not real Americans!

anonymous November 20, 2013 8:30 AM

It would be interesting to see a British version of this article from an ex (or current) British cop for the comparison of profiling issues.

Wael November 20, 2013 8:51 AM

And if that doesn’t work? It’s debasement time. Start with crying. Bawl hard while begging for a notice…

I’d rather get arrested than follow the guidelines in this paragraph. An ex-colleague told me once: “You can’t beat the ride, but you can beat the system”.

Charlieman November 20, 2013 8:51 AM

The first of those rules “Be Invisible…” applies to anyone when walking around a dodgy neighbourhood. Bad guys are tuned into the same body language observations as the police.

CallMeLateForSupper November 20, 2013 9:10 AM

@ anonymous
“…’obey the law’ is no longer valid advice”

Don’t be silly; of course it is valid. But sufficient, not so much.

Perhaps some mitigation here:
Some Boston, MA police have got their knickers in a twist over a new program; patrol cars are to have GPS installed, providing dispatchers (and higher-ups, presumably) constant knowledge of the cars’ positions.
Says Boston Globe:

This made me grin:
“’No one likes it. Who wants to be followed all over the place’, said one officer who spoke anonymously to the Globe…”

Incomplete November 20, 2013 9:51 AM

a good habit in trafic stops is to place car keys on roof of car immediately after stopping without opening door. This exhibits submission: worth cotninuing throughout any law enforcement interaction

Clive Robinson November 20, 2013 10:23 AM

Once again we see the advice “tell the truth, don’t lie” as if there is no middle ground…

Nothing is ever black or white it’s always colourd one way or another.

Think about four people sitting around a table with a vase in the middle with a single stem rose in it and ask each of them what they see?

You get four similar but different perspectives, you cann’t see exactly what the other people see and nor can they see what you see. An expert interogator knows this and if they don’t get differences then they smell collusion, which is a gaurentee of further intensive investigation.

Be vague about actions and most objects say things like “I think” but remember to “err” and “but” and “it all happened so quickly” mention “funny smells” and “odd noises”. Importantly don’t be vague about key things that are going to be obvious if a car hits a traffic light it’s ok to say “the vehical hit the pole” the person listening will either fill in the details themselves or ask you for more details so if you get asked “which pole” it’s ok to say “the pole with the lights on”. The point is to answer questions in a way that gives you room for manover later “pole” covers a multitude of street furniture “traffic light” does not. Likewise use nutral words such as “they” or “the person” don’t use “the man” or “the woman” if asked to give a defining description “say I think it was a XXX from the way they YYY” where YYY is “moved” or “hair moved” or “dressed” etc, the same for other objects.

Remember to stay as vague as you can not just for wriggle room but it also enables you to change other peoples perspectives bit by bit which you can use to your advantage. Further if you have to do a “walk through” you can re-itterate things as they now are but from your perspective.

The simple fact is most humans have very bad memories and tend to “fixate” on one tiny aspect often incorrectly being helpfull but vague is often a fast way to get police etc to go talk to somebody else, which is basicaly what you want because if they are not talking to you they are probably not concentraiting on you. Don’t forget to use emotion words (not emotional) that is say it’s cold/hot/wet or it was sudden/scary/shocking and ask if you can get out of sun/wind/cold/heat you need the bathroom etc.

DONT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES touch things like a piece of paper or cup etc etc you will leave your fingerprints or DNA which can be used to tie you to the place at some later date such as twenty years time.

Also “be small” or in other ways “non threatening” confused and tired is good alert and squaring up is bad.

Also don’t be quiet, it’s suscpicious I was once told “talk a lot but say nothing” it’s good advice but it takes practice to do, likewise “look at people but don’t eye them” watch other people talking most of the time they don’t look them in the face they are looking for body language to que them when it’s their turn to speak. If you say something that would normaly give a reply such as “do you remember when fred fell on his…” you are expected to look at their face till they nod or shake whilst still keeping talking.

There are many differing views on just how much information is transfered non verbaly but if they are watching you, you can bet it’s a lot more than you want, thus directional gestures tend to attract their eyes. So if you say “it came round the corner” either make a hand gesture to indicate it or actually point in the direction of the corner and look that way, even trained people will tend to follow your gaze. Which means you are not expected to be looking at them and they are not looking at you, so you are communicating a lot less subconcious information. But remember start with small non threatening gestures and work up through head and body rotation to larger more expressive gestures. The thing is if you are conciously moving your body your body is not moving subconciously and possibly telling a story you don’t want to be telling.

Dilbert November 20, 2013 10:23 AM


I’m not sure I’d take that approach. Once the keys are not in your possession then I think you may be open to a search. I do, however, take my keys out and set them on the dash in front of me, keeping my hands visible on the steering wheel to allay any fears for the officer.

If I’m asked to get out of the vehicle, I get out, lock my door and place my keys in my pocket.

Wael November 20, 2013 10:54 AM

@Clive Robinson
Great expert advise…

Think about four people sitting around a table with a vase in the middle with a single stem rose in it and ask each of them what they see? You get four similar but different perspectives

It’s also important to note that the difference in this example is a difference of variation, not a difference of conflict. Meaning the four views can be reconciled and may also serve to paint the correct picture. If however one perosn says it was one flower, another said it was a cactus, a third said it was a Volkswagen, and the forth said the vase didn’t have a flower, but had a Bullfrog in it, then that’s a difference of conflict. This sort of conflict cannot be reconcilled…

Zersetzung November 20, 2013 10:55 AM

I can’t speak for the rest of the nation, but in Silicon Valley we have to contend with something more subtle than being arrested.

There are undercover cops who roam the streets disguised as tough guys in jacked up trucks and muscle cars. They operate in groups to hassle selected targets using loud engine noises, bogus personalized license plates, fake bumper stickers, and bright lights.

The tactic is called zersetzung, a type of psychological control.

If you happen to be a thought leader and say something they don’t like online, you get hassled on the way to work.

It isn’t possible to completely avoid this type of harassment, but it is possible to greatly diminish the effectiveness by randomizing the routes you take when you travel.

This undercuts their ability to chain impressions to add up to a more powerful conditioning effect. You can’t beat the radio, but the cops are physically limited by how quickly they can reposition vehicles decorated to deliver impressions.

Anura November 20, 2013 10:57 AM

@Dilbert, Incomplete

I would say with the move to passive keyless entry (which I have, despite the security risks… I mean, it’s convenient, but they were rolled out without considering the attacks), that taking keys out is a definite no. Reaching into your pockets is a good way to get shot, as is holding anything that is roughly the size of a gun. This isn’t a warzone, and police aren’t truly military; in a warzone, the military would need to get confirmation that you are not only armed, but also hostile before they shoot at you.

vas pup November 20, 2013 11:35 AM

@Harald Hansen
Nope. The good about that book (I’ve read first edition) it addresses regular law abiding citizen not familiar how to conduct properly when contact with LEO without bad consequences.
I love the example with some CEO lady being arrogant with officer during minor traffic stop(who was not basically right) and as result, being arrested and ruined her career developed for many-many years of hard work .
There is very good cut off folding part in that book where business card of your personal lawyer need to be attached, and that should be handed to LEO together with your id when id asked by officer.
Very good book for reading for all ages!

Shawn Smith November 20, 2013 11:43 AM


IANAL, but it seems to me that would not be good advice if you have anything illegal or suspicious in your vehicle, or it’s someone else’s vehicle that you have not thoroughly searched for contraband. In my opinion, it would look to most reasonable people like an invitation to search the vehicle. It seems to me you can get the same effect by simply turning off the engine, taking the keys out of the ignition and putting them in your pocket before the officer gets out of their vehicle.

Anura November 20, 2013 12:37 PM


There’s not a lot you can do. You can vote, but you only have two choices: the side campaigning for the police vote and the side campaigning for the police vote. You can protest, in which the police will be sent out to make sure you stay in line. If you are a victim of police abuse, you can always file a complaint with the police. If you have a video of it, you might be able to get your case attention for about an hour by conacting the media.

Don’t confuse America with either a Democracy or Republic.

Nick P November 20, 2013 1:31 PM

The parts about how to draw attention are good. The rest is some of the dumbest crap I’ve ever seen. This cop must have never heard of constitutional limits on police or court redress of grievances. I could see an ex-cop telling you to get on your knees for him and his friends with that also being the only chance of stopping searches. Nonsense! I like this approach much better:

10 Rules for Dealing with Police by FlexYourRights

Michael already posted my other favorite link “Don’t Talk To the Police.” It’s a great presentation for both law abiding and crooked citizens alike as either can be trapped. The followup by the cop on how he trapped people was equally good. However, I disagree with Michael’s statement that it’s consistent with the recent article. It’s actually the opposite of it in every way as it essentially tells you to NOT cooperate with questioning.

Quick Reminder of Basic Principle

The cops aren’t your defence attorneys. They’re the enforcers of The Law. Legally, anything you say that proves your innocence is hearsay in court. However, anything you say that proves your guilt can be used as a confession. That means the whole interaction is rigged against you. Why on earth would you start being “honest” with them if they’re looking for reasons to bust you and nothing you say can help you in court?

The straight up approach has it’s place with the most minor traffic violations in areas where cops are friendly so long as they don’t try to search your vehicle. Everywhere else, use your rights for silence and against search and seizure where necessary. Be polite and respectful at all times. If they ignore your rights, don’t resist them as the judge won’t have your back. Instead, hit them for it in internal affairs, in civil court for damages, in criminal court with a motion to dismiss, etc. Dirty or not, them appearing to be dirty on record is neither their goal nor helpful for their career. Most of the time you’ll get a ticket or dismissed. In many areas, you might just pay court costs with nothing on your record. That’s dirty working to your long-term advantage. Worst case for most is they get “held” in jail for a short time.

However, I’ll tell you many more have experienced the absolute worst case of talking and suffering because they talked. It’s happened to guilty and innocent alike. If you’re fine with that, then by all means offer to (censored) and the officer might accept it happily while dismissing legal punishment. Otherwise, follow the 10 Rules and Don’t Talk to the Police.

asdf November 20, 2013 1:32 PM

I have a serious question: Can’t censors and MPAA-supported ISPs block obfsproxy by trying to connect to all IPs connected to using an unrecognizable protocol? Cache the results for one day, etc.

Mike the goat November 20, 2013 2:28 PM

I find that the rural areas have more reasonable LEOs. Don’t know why. Oh, and slightly off topic – I was stopped and given a sobriety test the other day (for no good reason I might add). Anyway when I was free to go as the cop got back into his car his weapon fell onto the road. So (I am watching in my rearview) the cop gets out, picks it up and the mag falls out. He cycles the slide and clearly something is wrong. So this genius turns it around and LOOKS down the barrel before shaking his head in exasperation and returning to his car. Unbelievable! The city gives people like that firearms and a badge!!

Snarki, child of Loki November 20, 2013 3:02 PM

Not quite on point for the “dealing with cops”, but the tip about wearing a hard hat while driving is spot-on.

If there’s road work, police checkpoints, anything, you’ll get waved past with ease. Just make sure that you have some plausible reason if the cop wants to talk to you about it.

Some_Guy_In_A_Diner November 20, 2013 3:04 PM

This article… give me a break. My outrage has never been this intense. I do not support 95% of what the police and courts do. That means they don’t have my support. Cut their budgets, perform mass repeal of the laws, and fire them, fire them all. I will not tolerate an enemy at home.

Nick P November 20, 2013 3:05 PM

@ Anura

I liked the song for the same reason as the writer. I had no idea someone did a legal analysis of it with sound recommendations. Awesome. Thanks for the link!

Miksa November 20, 2013 3:23 PM

The advice about fouling yourself probably won’t work that well in Finland. Maybe a third of our police cars are vans with separate, easily washed compartment at the back.

NobodySpecial November 20, 2013 4:38 PM

The only difference for the British version is don’t wear a hardhat – it looks like you might be in a union!

But I’m old enough to remember when looking like a miner (rather than a minor) could get you stopped on the road and told that you weren’t free to travel around your own country

Someone Else November 20, 2013 5:05 PM

I grew up in southern Europe and lived in eastern Europe before settling down in northen Europe, I’ve seen my share of ‘inadequate’ police officers. But nowhere would I expect people reacting to such a state of things by quietly exchanging advice on how to avoid such unwanted attentions.

Sure I’ve dealt with more than one corrupt officer, especially in eastern Europe, especially borders police, but their clear goal was just getting a modest bribe – not harassing or arresting law abiding citizens without a reason. In general, I see a widespread expectation and experience over here that cops are mostly helpful, possibly a bit dumb or inefficient, but definitly not active threats unless you are a rather obvious troublemaker.

Anyway – I’m occasionally in the US for short business trips, so do the same advice (not consenting to searches and so on), constitutional rights etc. discussed above only apply to US citizens or also to visiting foreigners?

Anura November 20, 2013 5:23 PM

@Someone Else

Generally, yes, the same rules apply. The US constitution applies to anyone within the borders of the United States, although there are some cases where that has not been upheld, even by the US Supreme Court (see Korematsu v. United States regarding internment camps in WWII). If you are West Asian or Middle Eastern, you may be subject to less protection under the constituion these days, in practice.

Muddy Road November 20, 2013 7:46 PM

I think the advice is lame. Any interaction with police is completely unpredictable anymore. You may be talking to a cop who thinks he is still in Faluja and we are all terrorists to Barney Fife-LIVE.

In general, police management has decided to shape police agencies into a war on the people of this country.

We aren’t the enemy. That’s a fact. Since our government at virtually every level has become dysfunctional we are at the mercy of police power grabs. And, they are grabbing all they can.

As for people who committed a crime trying to weasel out of arrest the advice is simple: whatever works!

Dirk Praet November 20, 2013 8:26 PM

@ Michael, @ Nick P., @ Clive

Don’t talk to the police

In the US, this is actually only partially true and could get you in serious trouble. The proper guidelines are:

  1. Remain calm and polite at all times, even when provoked.
  2. Do not talk to the police except to assert your rights, e.g. not consenting to a search (4th amendment), invoking your right to remain silent (5th amendment) or the right to a lawyer (6th amendment). The “10 Rules for Dealing with Police” DVD by Flex Your Rights will get you up to speed on how to do so.

There are many misconceptions about Miranda rights. Technically, a LEO only has to read them to you when

  1. You are being placed under arrest.
  2. The LEO is about to question you about a crime.

For example, if you’re placed under arrest after consenting to a search request and confessing to ownership of found contraband, LEO’s do not need to read you your rights unless they want to question you about an unrelated crime.

But there is more: in a SCOTUS ruling on June 17th of this year in Salinas v. Texas, it was decided that simply remaining silent as a suspect or witness does not protect one from self-incrimination. In fact, in order to invoke that protection, one must actually say out loud “I’m invoking my right to remain silent”… even if Miranda rights are not read because one has not actually been arrested. Although the verdict drew little attention, it is very important in the sense that it is putting the average person/layman at a serious disadvantage because most folks over the years have learned otherwise from the usual cops and courts TV series.

In the EU, and under the European Convention of Human Rights, suspects – at least in theory – enjoy a number of similar rights as those set forth in the 5th and 6th amendments such as the right to remain silent, to a fair trial and to an attorney of their chosing. Following the 2008 ECtHR Salduz verdict, a suspect now also has the right to speak to a lawyer before first interrogation and to that lawyer being present at it.

In practice, the situation is a bit more nuanced and refusing to talk to the police in most European countries in general is not a good idea as it may result in contempt or obstruction charges. Taking @ Clive’s advice on the matter is the recommended approach here.

herman November 20, 2013 8:53 PM

Miranda Rights:
“Anything you say, can and will be used against you…”
In plain English that means “SHUT UP” and call your lawyer.

Nick P November 20, 2013 9:09 PM

@ Dirk Praet

Our stances are actually the same on this. Dont talk to the police is part principle, part practice. In reality, to pass the attitude test, one must show some respect or cooperation. Total silence isnt a great way to do it. So best way to avoid talking to the police (or searches if they ask) is, if necessary, to say calmly “Look officer I know you’re just trying to do your job and all but (flex rights here).” Being calm and respectful with at least a little communication so they know you’re not just being a dick. Some will even respect that and let you off entirely

There’s another aspect nobody has brought up. Everything you say, truth or lie, might end up in a profile that might be cross referenced later. The less you tell them about you the better off you are over time as they have less to leverage.

Jon November 20, 2013 10:24 PM

@ Mr. Hansen:

No, not middle class. Be white and middle-aged and obviously but not arrogantly wealthy and closely related to a powerful politician.


Jon November 20, 2013 10:28 PM

More useful advice: Collect bumper stickers from ALL the campaigns. When one wins, slap their sticker on the back of your Ferarri.


Wael November 20, 2013 11:10 PM


Take it easy, Figureitout! Relax… Breath-in, Breath-out, repeat as necessary!

Christ, all this abuse is b/c they are too pussy to go and actually catch some real criminals.

Right on, brother! They’d rather give you a ticket than take a report on my broken-in car.

And the article summed it up best: They are revenue collectors.


b/c my anger is just the beginning.

I don’t think they’ll lock you up man! They’ll be scared you’ll hurt your cellmates; the hardcore convicts. They’ll probably send you here instead

B/c sitting at home on a PC is where we are the safest in the police state.

I think home wouldn’t be the safest place. You’d better be sitting in a public place, say Purdue Libray, for example 🙂

Anura November 20, 2013 11:50 PM


I suggest you start listening to some of the lawyers that have been referenced in the comments.

Mike the goat November 21, 2013 12:17 AM

Figureitout: I strongly suggest you self-moderate your comments here. If you are – as you’ve said before – on “their” radar, then they may use inflammatory rantings as evidence in a future trial against you (whether the charges are real or fabricated, either way this won’t help your case).

Truman Burbank November 21, 2013 1:39 AM


I can’t tell if you’re an agent provocateur, being stalked, or are experiencing some type of psychosis. I would suggest you get checked out but this could be met with resistance as the doctors could be ‘in’ on the whole experience. I wish you all the best.

Mr. Impossible November 21, 2013 2:32 AM


Been reading your stuff for a long time…

Love it but don’t get disappeared man! Don’t let em under your skin bro! Stuff is whack for sure and it’s long past time to take it back but… errr…

I feel it too but we need people like you, with your mindset, your intuition and your skills to re-engineer this world. I’m furious too and will not stand for this but sadly I am not the best candidate ((and nobody is) except maybe Bruce) to lead the charge. Now is not the time to make oneself “high value” by using emotional language and rage.

inb4 noob
inb4 stfu
inb4 an enemy


Police/Surveillance state for sure but…

We can still win with a little luck…

At least I hope…

Got two boys…

8 and 12…


Winter November 21, 2013 2:34 AM

@Someone else
“In general, I see a widespread expectation and experience over here that cops are mostly helpful, possibly a bit dumb or inefficient, but definitly not active threats unless you are a rather obvious troublemaker.”

I have the same experience, but less geographical extensive. I think the difference is less with the police than with the judiciary.

In the USA, you will have broken laws by simply living on their soil. So, a district attorney can get almost anyone convicted (search for “Ham sandwich nation: Due Process When Everything Is a Crime”). The talk of the law school professor in the firsts comments illustrates that too.

In (continental?) European countries, there is much less scope for convicting those who were arrested without a strong indication of misdeeds. The courts severely limit the number of indictments (throw everything and see what sticks). There is a strong feeling that everyone should have a trial and courts tend to frown upon plea bargains unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Mike the goat November 21, 2013 2:55 AM

Mr Impossible: my sentiments exactly. Nothing good can come of figureitout’s post. At best, it’s dismissed as a rant and ignored. At its worse it is filed away and used as a potential tool against him at some future point in time. The examples are numerous. If he is right about TPTB and their actions against him (previous comments allege that agents have been in his home, are tailing him and generally making his life “chilling”) then he is playing straight into their hands and supplying them with ammunition that could potentially be used against him. Be angry all you want but be really careful about leaving yourself open – if they were to kill a cop in his neighborhood, plant confirmatory evidence and then use his postings to demonstrate that he indeed posted about wanting to kill a police officer then it would be a bad thing for his defense. Another less extreme possibility is they will simply get him committed under the mental health law and use previous posts to “prove” that he is paranoid, delusional and a clear threat to the community (comment about anger and wanting to kill police).

Just sayin’ – not being rude you Figureitout, just don’t want to see you get screwed as if you are right you are already a “target”.

Autolykos November 21, 2013 4:38 AM

@Zersetzung: I’d be interested in proof (or at least some photos and a good story) of this. I wouldn’t put it past them as they’re doing similar stuff in the Netherlands (basically harassing people who they don’t like or think are fishy but can’t make anything stick on them, by constantly checking their car, their business/taxes, etc), but I expected them to be more subtle about it and rather abuse bureaucracy than outright threatening people.

Winter November 21, 2013 4:53 AM

“I wouldn’t put it past them as they’re doing similar stuff in the Netherlands (basically harassing people who they don’t like or think are fishy but can’t make anything stick on them, by constantly checking their car, their business/taxes, etc), but I expected them to be more subtle about it and rather abuse bureaucracy than outright threatening people. ”

Actually, they do this in the Netherlands. But not so much targeted at individuals as far as I know, just “profiling”. Just last month there was a row about the police being racist targeting non-white people. Even Amnesty International wrote about it.

The police do not arrest all these people as the courts throw out phony arrests and there is a risk that a defendant can get his legal costs reimbursed if the arrest was unfounded.

Also, there are ample national news outlets that like to bring police harassment tales.

Prinz van der Schemering November 21, 2013 5:23 AM

Had a situation once when someone parked a car outside my then-home for whatever reason. Nobody came for it and about three weeks later a cop rolls up, knocks on the door and starts asking questions. I told him truthfully I did not know who left it there, or why, and I hadn’t touched it, since it had nothing to do with me. I had expected the owner to turn up for it and take it away.

Somebody or other took the car away, and I never saw it again.

Don’t volunteer information, would be one of the key points. And don’t try anything complex – keep it simple, stupid, is still a valid principle. Unless of course you could talk all four legs off a dead Arcturan MegaDonkey – and then persuade it to go for a walk afterwards.

Clive Robinson November 21, 2013 6:04 AM

A couple of related comments (unsprisingly) have come up but in general people don’t “join the dots” on them…

These are the differences between the police and other emergancy services and revenue collection.

The first obvious difference is you generally only receive attention from non police emergancy services when YOU need them and they give assistance IMMEDIATLY and usually this assistance is without QUESTION & JUDGMENT.

For many people the attention of the police is NOT when you need them, invariably the assistance is NOT immediate (if at all) and usually WITH a lot of question and judgment.

These differences are easily explained away by the difference in roles, however logic and calm thinking is not something humans are generaly good at so for the police and adverserial reception by people is the norm whilst for other emergancy services it’s the exception.

Is it then surprising that the police develop “fortress thinking” other wise known as “them and us outlook” and “Canteen mentality thinking”. Further their work related language and thus slang re-enforces this thinking which becomes a general outlook. Especialy when you consider humans are generaly tribal and thus “judge by stereotype”. All of which leads to a re-enforcing feed back mechanism…

For other emergancy services most of their “customers” are by the random hand of fate and they know it, their work is invariably non judgmental and work related language and slang is not about people but things. They are also viewed differently their enemy is “chance” not “evil people” and this further reflects in the way people view them and how they view themselves. And perspectives matter in both self esteime and fantasy which intrude into peoples everyday thoughts and thus actions.

Unfortunatly there is another major force involved which is “polotics” both internal and external. In general all emergency services are paid for by the public purse derived from taxation.

For quite some time I’ve pointed out that politicians use taxes for bribary, either to buy votes or to buy personal benifit. However taxes are not a bottomless pit so raising revenue is done in many ways, but there is always kick back from those bearing the burden of the revenue. People regard the perceived virtue of those burdend and thus judge their claims for relief accordingly. It’s why “churches” are often excempt from tax and why criminals are taxed in every way possible including in some places being made to pay for their imprisonment.

The need for revenue by politicians is insatiable due to the number of palms they have to cross with copper, silver or gold. Thus they would raise taxes to whatever level they feel they can get away with, but in most places they have long since passed the point where general taxation can be raised without significant complaint. Thus they need to look at other areas such as decreasing “fixed costs” or finding new sorces of income.

The emergancy services are “fixed costs” and would be unmercifly cut back by the politicos if it was not for the publics view on the various services virtues. A quick straw poll would show that for most the police are considered the least virtuous which makes them targets not just for the politicos but the press as well…

It does not take much thought to realise that “prisons” are seen as a loss of income and “fines” to be a positive source of income. The only reason we have “prisons” is because of tribal and religious convictions which are going to be difficult to change, but worse provide easy “drum bangs” for politicos so we see pointless “tough on crime” initiatives. However smarter minds realise that fines bring in revenue so more laws have fines or conviscation of assets involved.

Thus the political view is that the police should chase revenue earning crime not loss making imprisonment crime as a preffrence. BUT they should not let “press grabing crime” go by either especialy that which would portray the politicos in a bad light.

However the politicos have a problem many police officers don’t like political interferance nor do they view “fine crime” as being important compared to “lock-em-up crime”. So what’s a politico to do to change the police viewpoint? Easy put in place “incentive schemes” of various types…

The result is the mess we see of “revenue chasing” and further ailianation of the police by society giving further reenforcment of the fortress mentality causing more alienation of the police and so it goes around.

But worse yet are other “cleaver” minds that want a share of that revenue and know how to cut their way through the –supposadly preventative– legislation etc to get to it. How do they get it well by bribing the money controling politicos via backdoor doges around bribary/lobbying legislation by over paid consulting work etc, both at individual politicals and at their parties. And as we have seen with the DHS and now Obama care the return on investment is over 1000%/anum. But why stop there as has been seen in the UK “overbilling” easily exceeds the costs (G4S, Serco being just the latest). What you and I would consider “fraud” the companies belive they have a contractual entitlement to, but although we pay we don’t get to see the contracts as they are exempt from FOI legislation as “commercial in confidence”… And in the same way you would not expect turkeys to vote for Xmas, politicos and other self interested civil servants won’t vote to extend transparancy in their behaviour and finances…

Chromatix November 21, 2013 7:27 AM

I tought the first rule was “be white and appear middle-class”?

Well, you can’t actually do much about the former – while the later is covered nicely by “drive a grey Honda and dress boringly”.

D. November 21, 2013 7:39 AM

My eyes always glaze over when I see something like this because it inevitably brings on a flood of advice from commentors that makes me wonder what kind of bizarre world most people think they’re living in. My personal experience in the US is limited somewhat I guess because I live in an area with low crime that is often highly concentrated so perhaps the police are jut nicer here.

However, I’ve also been to a couple dozen other countries of varying levels of development and safety from India to Honduras to Sweden and had to deal with police in quite a few of them so here’s my advice:

Speak calmly and clearly, even if you’re drunk. Don’t be a dick. Hostility right down to frustration is very obvious in most people’s voice and no one likes having it directed at them while trying to do their job. Don’t do anything weird. I think taking your keys out is weird and I’d be suspicious as all hell. Constantly fiddling with things is weird. Weird is suspicious. Honestly, just treating it like any other normal daily interaction and being a reasonably polite person is enough that I’ve never had a problem with law enforcement beyond a few speeding tickets even without speaking the language or having the appropriate papers.

(Disclosure: Exception is European public transportation ticket checkers. For a group of people who actually has very little authority they will tolerate absolutely no deviation from the rules. The longest conversation I’ve ever had with a German I didn’t know personally was after sprinting for a train and collapsing for a minute to catch my breath in the wrong section of a train. I didn’t realize as I was running that the entire car was first class not split first and second and apparently apologizing and moving was not going rectify the approximately 30 seconds of value I had stolen from Deutsche Bahn.)

Layer 8 November 21, 2013 7:48 AM

Reading all this let me remember the movie “The Usual Suspects”.

Ok, it’s a movie but if someone in reality would be able to act this way, maybe the police would lost interest.

vas pup November 21, 2013 8:39 AM

So, what is the answer?
My guess is (1)transperancy and (2)oversight:
dash board cameras on police crusier recording everything from person/car stop up to arrest made, booking, interrogation. Now technology let provide such equipment for each LEO with fraction of cost versus payments on civil law trials/settlelments paid by government using your tax $$ wheh LEO is conducted wrong leaving aside moral/physical harm to victims and LEO him/herself and their families;
Internal affairs and Feds (Civil rights division of DOJ) should get proper human and financial resources and regularly conduct sting operations on LEOs as cops doing on hookers and johns. That will be more usefulness of former than of latter for public good.
@ Winter:
“There is a strong feeling that everyone should have a trial and courts tend to frown upon plea bargains unless there are exceptional circumstances”. Absolutely support that statement!

Wm November 21, 2013 9:05 AM

I personally think the key to encounters with cops is to say absolutely nothing at all. Most certainly don’t offer any information, even if you are justifiably stopped for a traffic infraction. Saying nothing can not be held against you. (I once told a cop in a general conversation of this personal practice and the cop went ballistic on me.) I am always ready to answer any questions with “Officer, my lawyer has informed me that all the information you need from me is on my driver’s license”, and that is for traffic stops only. Otherwise, I am ready to exercise my right to remain silent. I personally am not of the disposition to ever bowing the knee to anyone. I have driven tour buses and trucks for many years and have thus had many encounters with cops in port of entries and weigh stations, some very unpleasant. When I stood up to them with silence, I always came out the winner.
The horror that has been instilled in most people – to never discriminate – prevents many to see and admit that there are differences between people. Cops are usually of a much lower IQ than the middle class and therefore will unjustly hate anyone they perceive to be more intelligent than themselves. This even covers detectives who are thus as a result of promotion. Persons of low IQ will be far more subject to uncontrollable jealously, envy, megalomania, and loss of self control, making the majority of them down right dangerous.

Cassandra November 21, 2013 1:11 PM

The current law enforcement prison industrial complex has grown and grown to the point of structural criticality and it’s already showing signs of cracks. When it breaks, it could be spectacular. Ideally, this whole circling cycle could be diffused, but I don’t see any way of doing that at this point. There’s simply too much arrogance, testosterone and institutional momentum.

Internal affairs is a joke. Just watch some of the videos of former cops in plain-clothes trying to file a complaint. They’ll arrest your and beat you senseless just for that.

The median police staff idolizes SWAT and aggressive tactics. It shows in the changes in uniform and most readily in how eager these idiots are to go to their guns and the same aggressive SWAT tactics for so much as a late library book. These fools think they’re in a SF-ODA or some ridiculousness. This combination of us-vs-them warrior cop mentality, increasing usage of military tactics, and the false sense of invincibility creates a lit fuse…

The catalyst could be anything, another Chris Dorner, another kid shot point blank in the back of the head by a SWAT raid gone wrong, another family pooch killed execution style in the foyer of the wrong house a violent confrontation with a former Infantry vet, or special operations guy. Though the resulting backlash is pretty predictable (hypothetical crystal ball prediction ahead):

They will do something like murder a kid and then be absolutely massacred by the community. If they escalate to MRAPs in the street; playing soldier as if they were in Falluja, they could start a civil war, and lose…very badly. These idiots are like a bunch of kids trying to play by big boy rules, and one day it’s not going to pan out as they thought. The big boys will spank them badly. The only way to prevent such an eventuality is to bring the whole LE system to a full stop, install responsible adults to lead and supervise and reverse course. I hope that happens, but I doubt it.

It will probably end in tears, and that is very sad.

Doug Coulter November 21, 2013 1:50 PM

Well, Clive almost hammered it in his analysis. Let me add from a USA point of view the following.
Prisons and jails here are for-profit corps that are one of the sources of campaign funds. That alters the equation quite a lot in the US.

To add my own observations. I’ve lived both in Washington DC area, and now, out in the boonies of SW VA. Unbelievable difference. There are no real life “TV class” detectives in either place. Thus in a dense area, like around DC, the cops are reduced to all manner of things like random traffic stops (rolling a stop sign, speeding, or just a sobriety check) in hopes they discover a “real crime” while they’ve got the excuse to look you over. It’s real annoying, and complaining can not only get you arrested, it can get your car impounded, which they tear to bits looking for something illegal, then give the bits back – with a bill for “storage”. Had it happen due to a computer error that said my license was dead (it wasn’t). No recourse.

Where I live now – I know all the cops in the county and a couple of the state boys on a first name basis, we all do. They don’t need a detective – they know who is good, who does crime, and just go to the criminal’s house based on what the crime was and what brand of beer can or cigarette was left behind. There is zero “us vs them” mentality – most of the time, their “customers” are not “perps”. It’s so different – and only 325 miles away (in the same state!) – it’s hard to believe, but it is what it is.

The slightest infraction will get you at least a ticket/fine in the DC area, here you can drive up to the courthouse drunk and pee on the lawn – they’ll come out and offer you a ride home. Did that once at 3 am coming back from a band gig, drunk as heck…no ticket, and I declined the ride, since my vehicle had 10’s of thousands of dollars worth of band equipment in it I really wanted at my house, not out in town.

Cities are a disease, density when it gets past the point of knowing most of the people around you is BAD.

And, FWIW, I was raised by a shrink, who had the same issues Clive mentions with that “insider vs outsider” mentality. It kind of comes with the turf – if you are a hammer, it all looks like nails.

I need to get a copy of liars and outliers as I’d bet Bruce has given this a bit of thought. All I have is my life experience.

Skeptical November 21, 2013 7:36 PM

The linked article is a bit much.

If you’re not doing or carrying anything illegal, and if you’re not being an a**hole to people around you, then you’ll be fine. If approached by a police officer, keep your hands in plain sight, be polite and courteous, and that’s it. Dye your hair hot pink and slather on the tattoos and piercings if you so desire. Live your life.

There’s a lot of angst in some of those comments for little reason. No doubt, nothing worse than a corrupt cop. Luckily, in most industrialized countries, cops for the most part aren’t corrupt.

Dirk Praet November 21, 2013 8:55 PM

@ Skeptical

Dye your hair hot pink and slather on the tattoos and piercings if you so desire.

Which, at least in the US, is your good right under the 9th amendment. Turning a country into a police state is one thing, turning it into a fashion police state is where I draw the line.

Wael November 21, 2013 9:09 PM

@Dirk Praet
Don’t watch this from work, unless you’re in Europe!
Hey man! They didn’t draw the line in Europe!… What’s good for goose is good for gander 😉

Mike the goat November 21, 2013 9:49 PM

Figureitout: I can assure you that the judge will either be one of “them” and be in on it or will simply not believe anything you’ve said (unless you’ve got something really compelling as “proof”, which won’t help in the former situation). Re your mention of “Matt, I mean Mike” I don’t quite understand what you’re getting at. My real name is not Matt, nor do I have any tangible connection to anyone with that name (perhaps one distant friend I haven’t seen since junior high). Or do I misunderstand?

Wael November 21, 2013 10:46 PM

@Mike the goat

That’s not too bad, mate! The officer was rude, but didn’t touch the guy! In fact he warned him of putting him in jail.

I see your European example and raise you…

I’m all in. Search for “police shoots dog” or just police shoots unarmed… For some reason Google now wants me to log in to “Verify my age” to watch the dog shooting video.

Mike the goat November 21, 2013 10:50 PM

Wael: censorship at its finest. Thanks Google! Yes I have seen the police shoots dog video. From what I heard the police were chasing someone from property to property and thus jumped into someone’s yard without a warrant or any real reason (a helicopter was on the guy, and there are public roads for access) and his dog understandably reacted to an intruder (the police).

I do wonder how one would stand esp in Castle Law states if such a cop (esp plainclothes) went into your property and you shot a few rounds into them.

Wael November 21, 2013 11:13 PM

@Mike the goat

censorship at its finest. Thanks Google!

I don’t like to log in just to watch a video, especially if they want you to use your Google+ (which I don’t use) account for authentication. It’s not just censorship… Oh, it’s more!

Mike the goat November 22, 2013 12:58 AM

Figureitout: … as would I. If someone broke into my home I would shoot first and ask questions later. Better to be tried by twelve than be carried by six as they say.

Dirk Praet November 22, 2013 8:18 AM

@ Wael

Don’t watch this from work, unless you’re in Europe!

Hilarious ! Couldn’t have been more appropriate now that the remaining members of Monty Python have announced a reunion.

nobody November 22, 2013 9:02 AM

@all those talking about what they would do in the event of x y or z

Posting things like “shoot first and ask questions later” on an internet site may be used against you in court if anything does ever happen. You have indicated, on this website, that you have premeditated intent to kill or maim a person under poorly defined circumstances under which lethal force may not be warranted. What do you think a jury of your peers will think when your words are read to them?

Nick P November 22, 2013 10:00 AM

@ nobody

It’s a good point. And it’s why I avoid saying such crap. However, the risk is low in general. Let’s look at what they’re saying.

  1. They were there on the property.
  2. Someone broke into their property.
  3. That person was causing them harm or was armed.

In many states, just 1-2 is enough to kill someone on your property. Other states might require 3. Still other states might require you to go to a specific room, shout a specific warning, call the cops, let yourself get robbed, and only shoot if they attempt entry into that room. Well, we’re going to ignore states that retarded in this analysis b/c I doubt any people on this blog would live in them.

So, we essentially have a bunch of case law saying you can shoot in self-defence when in fear for your life or to defend your life on your property. (Defending the property itself gets a bit more debate in courts.) So long as they didn’t have time to see it was a cop, they might be fine and might not. It’s best to avoid shooting cops period. I personally try to assess the situation quickly before using lethal force as certain situations I’ll process immediately as little to no risk to me, allowing myself to avoid unnecessary killing and court appearances.

Re your claim of premeditated

You’re essentially saying that it’s OK for an unprepared citizen to shoot an armed intruder in self-defence, but that mentally preparing for (and deciding on) that in advance is “premeditated” murder. That’s just stupid. It’s murders that are “premeditated,” not acts of self-defence. Premeditating murder shows clearly that you have harmful intent, possibly that you were sane, and that the process wasn’t heat of the moment. It’s a sign of evil. Premeditated self-defence, on other hand, is called preparation or training. It’s a sign of wisdom.

Moderator November 22, 2013 1:54 PM


So bug off w/ your stupid argument.

This has got to stop. I realize you’re very angry. I understand you have reasons not to seek help to get better control of your anger. But you simply can’t keep using Bruce’s blog as a place to work out your rage.

Much of this thread is already about how angry you are, and that’s not fair to those who’d rather read about the subject of the post.

It seems inevitable at this point that I’m going to wind up banning you. I’d really like to be wrong. But if you want to stay, you will have to completely change your approach to commenting. You can’t be here to blow off steam, or lash out at people, or rage about people who’ve wronged you in real life. You can come here to talk about issues in a reasonable way. If you can’t manage that right now, please find another forum until you can.

JD November 22, 2013 7:37 PM

Aggression Without Violence

“Females tend to threaten each other with social isolation rather than violence. Among social animals, being cast out of the group can mean death, or very few chances to mate. Among humans, perhaps the most social animals we know, the “mean girls” phenomenon is a perfect example of low-energy competition. Nobody is beaten, but we know for sure who has lost the battle.”

Nobody can force another to change. Every battle is won before it is fought.

Mike the goat November 23, 2013 3:47 AM

Figureitout: although you may feel chastised by many on this forum (myself included) rest assured that many here are simply trying to stop you from potentially adding even more fuel to the fire. If you are legitimately a victim of a conspiracy you can bet your last dollar that the posts you make on the Internet will be used against you. As I don’t know you well enough to make a determination as to the veracity of your claims it is equally possible that your online rants will pique the interest of local law enforcement who will almost certainly refer you to mental health services.

I will let you in on a little secret. When I was about sixteen I was with a few friends and we got hassled by the local police for no good reason. I verbally abused the police officer in response. Nothing physical – just a spray of verbal insults. I was forcibly detained and taken to the local hospital where the officer invented some outrageous claims to get me put on a “mental health hold”. I protested, demanded a lawyer and panicked real quick when I saw them coming at me with intravenous gear. I was held down by about seven large male nurses and strapped to the bed. A vascath was pushed into my jugular and they jammed a tube down my nose and into my stomach into which they put activated charcoal (the police officer alleged I had taken pills and threatened to kill myself, none of which was true). They also inserted a catheter into – well you know where. I was held there physically restrained for well over 48 hours until I was moved into a ward and even then was handcuffed to the bed. Eventually my family reported me missing and found me at the hospital some 72 hours later. My lawyer was called and I was set free without any charge. All tox screens were negative – I was subjected to this for no reason and my parents were not contacted despite my age. I was given a meager settlement the amount of which I am not allowed to disclose, but nothing will erase the memory of that night.

Such is the trouble a corrupt police officer can cause. Please be careful about what you say online, for your own sake. You are welcome to post on my blog – hell I will even give you a platform for you to document whatever abuse you believe you’ve endured at the hands of corrupt authority but you have to do it in a manner that isn’t provocative as not only do you run the risk of being deemed crazy – perhaps more importantly your audience switches off and writes off what you’re speaking about as nonsense.

Dirk Praet November 24, 2013 6:22 PM

@ Figureitout

Dude, finish your studies and move back here before sooner or later you do something stupid.

Psychological Science February 4, 2015 9:22 AM

@ Michael, @ Nick P., @ Clive, @ Dirk Praet “Do not talk to the police except to assert your rights”.

Take innocent students during three weeks. Three interview of 40 minutes can convince them that they commited an imaginary crime, when teenager. Without touching them.

Works for 60% of them.

This is planting of false self-incrimination.
Paywall for scientific article here:

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