Responding to an Officer

Mau5's picture

Media: 

It is important in these cases that your response is loud enough for the video camera to pick up so it can be used as evidence.

1. They refuse to give you their name and badge number

Reply: California State Penal Code Section 830.10 states that all employed peace officers in the jurisdiction of the State of California must give proper identification by either their name or badge number to any California citizen inquiring.

Reference: 830.10. Any uniformed peace officer shall wear a badge, nameplate, or other device which bears clearly on its face the identification number or name of the officer.

2. They question your right to observe

Reply: Our right to watch from a reasonable distance and record your activity as a public officer is protected under the U.S. Constitution and federal law under the citizen’s right to “freedom of assembly”.

3. “You’re resisting arrest.”

Reply: No, we’re not. No one here is using or threatening to use physical force against any officer here, nor are we creating any substantial risk of causing you physical injury.

Reference: 835a. Any peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.

4. “This is an unlawful assembly.”

Reply: No, it’s not. We are not starting a riot. We are not recklessly using physical force or violence or threatening to use force or violence.

Reference: 407. Whenever two or more persons assemble together to do an unlawful act, or do a lawful act in a violent, boisterous, or tumultuous manner, such assembly is an unlawful assembly.

Note: According to CA Penal Code Section 726 and 727, officers must give a warning to “disperse” before actually arresting people who are “unlawfully assembled.”

726. Where any number of persons, whether armed or not, are unlawfully or riotously assembled, the sheriff of the county and his or her deputies, the officials governing the town or city, or any of them, must go among the persons assembled, or as near to them as possible, and command them, in the name of the people of the state, immediately to disperse.

5. “You’re committing disorderly conduct.”

Reply: No, we’re not. We are not refusing any order to disperse. We are stepping away as you requested, we’re not in your way, and we’re not obstructing public safety. We are standing a safe distance away.

6. “You’re obstructing a public thoroughfare (street, sidewalk, etc).”

Reply: No, we’re not. We are not willfully and maliciously obstructing the free movement of any person on any street, sidewalk, or other public place. We are not creating a public hazard or an inconvenience. We are performing a public service.

Reference: 647c. Every person who willfully and maliciously obstructs the free movement of any person on any street, sidewalk, or other public place or on or in any place open to the public is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Nothing in this section affects the power of a county or a city to regulate conduct upon a street, sidewalk, or other public place or on or in a place open to the public.

7. “You’re interfering with a police officer.”

Reply: No, we’re not. We are not obstructing, resisting, or delaying you. We are not threatening any officer’s safety. All we are doing is legally observing you and recording your actions.

Reference: 148. (a) (1) Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician, as defined in Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code, in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

IN CASE OF ARREST
If you are arrested, the police must tell you why you are being arrested. You will want to get the badge number of the officer who is arresting you and remember- you have the right to remain silent. Don’t talk about your case to anyone except your lawyer- there are lots of video cameras and informants in jail! The court must provide you with a lawyer if you can’t afford one. You have the right to speak to a lawyer before arraignment. If you are arrested, you will be searched with or without your permission. As soon as possible, and in no case later than three hours after booking, you have the right to three phone calls: to a friend or relative, to a lawyer and to a bail bondsman.

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Comments

Regarding California State Penal Code Section 830.10

I looked it up and found the section on findlaw.com. It reads:

"Any uniformed peace officer shall wear a badge, nameplate, or other device which bears clearly on its face the identification number or name of the officer."

This is relevant for the times when they are deliberately covering their badge numbers with tape (like in Oakland), with those orange vests (like at the checkpoints), or their hands (which they do sometimes), but as I interpret the text, has nothing to do with their VERBAL self-identification! I have heard that they are required to give you their name or badge number or both, but now I don't seem to be able to find a code for it. Any help?

Also, I have heard that racial profiling laws require officers to provide a business card with their name and badge number on it to anyone who asks. Now I can't find any law on the books that requires them to do that, either. Again, any help?