Well known comedian Chris Rock performed a public service when he put out the video that outlines in a humorous manner how to “avoid getting your ass kicked by the police”.
Although based on the American experience, most of Rock’s ‘hints’ are as applicable in Winnipeg as anywhere else. Following these common sense suggestions might save you time and aggravation if you were to have an encounter with the police.
Hint #1 Obey the law
Most law abiding citizens have fewer negative encounters with police than those who break the law. Most people have a pretty good idea as to what is and is not legal. If you don’t, find out what the law is (in most cases a quick Google search will tell you) and obey it. That way in the event you are stopped you know what the outcome is going to be. You will be leaving on your own and end up at home as opposed to the Remand Center courtesy of a black and white taxi.
Hint #2 Stop Immediately
If the police are attempting to pull you over they usually have a reason for doing so. Perhaps you violated the Highway Traffic Act or you (and/or your vehicle) match the description of a person or vehicle wanted for a crime recently committed, or you are riding in a stolen car. Once you see the flashing lights – stop. Your encounter with police will be less traumatic it they don’t have to chase you down.
Hint #3 Be Polite
Most police officers, when they stop you, will be polite. Be polite in return. Do not give the police a reason to not be polite. If your car is bouncing up and down with the music, take Chris Rock’s advice and ‘turn that shit off’. If you are asked for your drivers license and registration (which police are entitled to do if you are driving a car), produce them.
Hint #4 If stopped stay in your car with your hands visible
With the number of illegal weapons (guns, tasers, peppers spray) on the street, police have a legitimate concern for their safety when they stop you either as a pedestrian or driving a vehicle. If the police pull you over while driving your vehicle stay in the vehicle and keep your hands where police can see them. Don’t be reaching under the seat or your glove box as police walk up to your vehicle. They may think (and legitimately so) that you are reaching for a weapon. Stay in the car until police ask you to get out. If you are stopped as a pedestrian, don’t reach into your pockets, or inside your coat. If police want you to pull out your identification, they will ask you.
Hint #5 Respond to questions when asked and avoid being verbally abusive
Most times when you are stepped by police they will advise you why they stopped you. If they don’t, politely ask them for the reason. Yelling and screaming at police during the first stages of a stop will not work in your favour. If police are going to ‘detain’ you even for a short period of time, be aware that every citizen has the right under Section 10 of the Charter of Right and Freedoms to being informed of the reason for the detention. So if you are not told up front, ask – politely.
Hint #6 Be aware of what passengers in your car have on them
If you are going to give someone a ride and you know that they usually carry a gun, drugs, other contra ban such as stolen goods or have outstanding warrants for their arrest, you are asking for trouble. If the police see such a person in your car you will be stopped and the stop may well be treated as a high risk take down so you and your passenger(s) may find yourselves out of the car quickly and spread eagled on the street without a lot of questions being asked. If you don’t want that have your friend take a taxi or a bus.
Watch the video. Chris Rock says it so well and he’s so right.