Talking to LEO's after a physical defense

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by thardey, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    So, looking at that website that sparked some discussion earlier, he adds to the reasons not to talk to a police officer right away, but to talk to a lawyer first.

    I've heard several reasons for this: 5th Amendment rights, the likelihood that you're under suspicion from the get-go, defending your actions in a stupid way (foot-in-mouth-defense), and (the new idea) the strong possibility that your brain has blocked certain parts of the story out of your memory for the time being, as a self-protection instinct, and you need some time for your memory to sort out what happened.

    This last one makes the most sense to me, because you wouldn't necessarily know that your memory is scrambled, but if you give a bad story, or sequence of events, and then try to change it later, it looks suspicious.

    So, my question is this: I would prefer to be able to help the cops who first respond to the scene, but rule #1 (get home tonight) applies to me as well. What kind of information, if any, could I give to the police that would help them, while still exercising my 5th amendment rights?
     
  2. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    I've done this a couple of times, and here's my rule # 1

    Sit Down

    Remember, the question cops have to ask themselves all the time is "is this person going to try and kill me?". If you sit down, with your hands visible, and patiently wait your turn to talk this goes a long way.

    Compare that image to you standing, clearly agitated (as you would be after an altercation), moving around a lot and demanding attention.

    As for what you say to the officer? If it was clear-cut self defense and you've followed rule #1 it shouldn't matter all that much. If it was a case of you being a dumb*** and getting into a bar fight, it might get you off anyway....
     
  3. Andy Moynihan

    Andy Moynihan Senior Master

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    Sure you can talk to the arriving officer(s).

    This is how you talk to the arriving officer(s):

    "He/She/They Tried To Kill Me, I Want My Lawyer".

    *ZZZZZZZIP*(mimes zipping mouth shut till lawyer is produced)

    If you're still enough mentally present and you really wanna be polite about it, continue as above but substitute "I Want My Lawyer" with "I'm still shaken up by what happened and I want to speak to my lawyer before making any formal statement, sir/ma'am/officer".

    If you require medical treatment for wounds sustained, request it and ask to have it documented. If the other party/parties are still present/conscious/alive, ask to have it documented if they accept/refuse medical treatment.

    Then keep mouth shut as above, or broken-record that line till lawyer shows.


    And I'm gonna have to ditto Bushido's comment about sitting down.
     
  4. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, If in the beginning if you are able to put you hands up with palms facing attacker....and annouce real loud...you do not want any trouble...and look for witness's (eye to eye contact)....backing away if possible....

    This is one way to get "witness's" on your side.....

    Aloha ....if witness is a friend of attacker? ...."sorry"...

    PS: always a good idea to bring your own witness's...(with a believable background)...your lawyer?
     
  5. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank you Sir...
     
  6. Guardian

    Guardian Black Belt

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    As an ex-cop, this is the most sound advice and I wish more people would heed this advice. I can't remember the times that we took people in just for being aggitated and confronting us with loud voices as to ensure we heard them, first sure sign that something was funny and if for nothing else to let them cool off.

    We also didn't do much with the bar fight type of thing, separate them and send them on their way after a cool off period for about 15 - 30 minutes, wasn't worth the paperwork and aggrivation for something so stupid as most of the time it was.
     
  7. newGuy12

    newGuy12 Master of Arts

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    Ha! I just repped you. Thank you Sir! This is good advice. The "be cool" rule!

    Oh, and yes, legal counsel is most important! Once you get into a courtroom, do not count on common sense, or on what is moral and immoral, or good or bad. The ONLY thing that counts is what is LEGAL and ILLEGAL! And that is where an attorney comes in!
     
  8. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Without seeing the other posts that inspired this thread...

    Is excellent advice. In fact, it's beyond excellent advice. The only modification I'd make is do whatever the cop tells you. Beyond that -- I'm not giving legal advice, but I will make an observation.

    I'm going to suggest that refusing to speak without a lawyer isn't like to help you. It may hurt you in only one way -- if you don't tell me anything, I'm stuck with what the other guy says, and what the evidence tells me. In a fight, that could easily lead to you being locked up.

    If you can calm down, answer the cop's questions. Be direct and honest, but don't read into what happened. Remember Joe Friday? Just the facts. Tell the cop why you were afraid, and what led you to taking the action you did. And if the cop decides you have to be arrested (it's very possible even if you did nothing wrong, especially if you did serious harm to the attacker), go along like a meek little lamb. It's easier that way.

    One useful indicator... If I'm asking you questions, and I haven't advised you of your Miranda rights, I'm probably not looking to arrest you. I'm trying to find out what happened. However, if I've read you the rights... You're probably already arrested.
     
  9. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Drac,

    Having been in this situation and sitting down and having the officer pull their weapon on me and telling me to stand so they can then check for weapons. My hands were in front of me and visible the whole time.

    I am confused. The same goes with hands visible when one walks up on you and having them on the steering wheel or having them on the door with the window down. I have been told one way by some and the other by others.

    Also I have issues with some getting upset as I did not get my insurance paperwork out before he walked up, versus others who have been upset when I did.

    My practice is to leave hands on wheel at all times. To wait until the arrive and then tell them what I am going to do and ask for permission. Many get upset, but I do not get yelled at (* often or get weapons pulled for movement. *)

    So my question really is, is there any hope for me? I mean it seems no matter what I do, common sense or not, people and police always assume the opposite from me.

    Any insight?
     
  10. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Damn... I'm about to lay down some midnight ramblings...What I say may vary from others, but...

    You can tell the 911 operator and the police pertinent details to ensure their safety; like what the attackers look like, how many, and whether or not they have a weapon.

    Give almost no details as to what occured without an attorney; you were attacked, and you were forced to defend yourself. That is all they get. You want to say something like, "I can't really make a statement because I am too shaken from what happened, and everything is too hazy. I will need to speak with my attorney to make any statements, as he will help me sort everything out." This is unorthidox, but by saying that you are shaken from the incident and that is the primary reason for not giving a statement demonstrates your honesty. Chances are, this will be an honest statement as well, really. The cops are likely to understand your position, particularly if it is presented in a civil manner, and they will be less likely to be dicks to you.

    You will be making an official statement to the police, however, before you will be released. If you have to wait a few days before you can get a hold of an attorney, then guess where you'll be doing the waiting?

    So, this means some preplanning on your part. Do you have your attorney(s) names and numbers on hand? Do you even have one? It would behoove you to get one. It really isn't that expensive to get one on retainer. Some will let you get away with prepaying for a couple of hours with the understanding that if you call them and need them, the fees will grow from there as the case does. If your totally broke and can't get one on retainer, then at least have a friend or family members number that you can call who can get a hold of a trusted attorney for you. You basically want the guy who will show up at two in the morning (or at least 8 oclock the next day) to help you make a statement. Because every second counts when you are waiting in jail to go home after an incident.

    But, that is the best bet. Some cops (depending on who you get) won't like it because they are trying to get the facts for the report, and they sometimes see attorneys as spin doctors who will present things dishonestly. So, they are going to try to get you to give a report, particularly before you say the word "attorney," and they will seem very convincing and may seem on your side. But remember that the cops are not your friends; they simply have a job to do, even if their job lands you in jail. Plus, what a lot of people don't realize is that the story you present immediately following the incident will likely not be truthful on it's own; it will be distorted from critical incident amnesia. You may present details that are erroneous, and that will get you in trouble in the long run. It is crucial that you have an attorney that will not let you do that.

    But, the other side is that you are not going home unless you give them something. So, if your attorney is on vacation for a week, guess where you are sitting for the week? LE know this, and have probably witnessed the victim spending time in jail because they needed an attorney to make a statement, and one wasn't readily available. That is why many cops I have talked too give the advice to give a limited statement; just some basic information so that they know the basics of what happened so they can let you go. You will be making further, more detailed statements down the line, of which your attorney can help you with. I understand this point of view. All I have to say is that one has to be VERY careful with this
    one as it is a slippery slope to dicking up the information and presenting something that will burn your *** later. But, this has worked out OK in some circumstances. I don't really recommend it though unless it is a last resort...
     
  11. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    lol... Sorry Rich. Your my bro and ****, but there really is no hope for you. :rofl:

    Your size and look coupled with your either extreme sensitivity to trying to not do anything wrong (which makes them suspicious) or your annoyance with the situation leads to them being afraid, and you getting ****ed. You are a stones throw away from having the townspeople chase you up a mountain with torches.

    I am kidding, but kind of not. You have a disadvantage due to your size and look, among other things. The only thing I think you could do is NLP classes if they had any, but that is sort of a dying art and might be difficult to find a qualified instructor that doesn't suck. That might help even if it won't change your physical appearance (which you shouldn't want to change anyway, because where it has disadvantages it also has advantages).

    :cheers:
     
  12. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    As every MA has his/her way of doing things, every cop has their way of doing things..Speaking only for myself, if I make a traffic stop and I suddenly see the subject vehicle's occupant suddenly start rummaging around inside his interior it has a tendency to make ALL THE ALARMS GO OFF..When I pull up and someone and they just sit there and I walk up and find both hands on the wheel or in their lap I feel a whole lot better..So I would (and a number of officers I work with) would have no problem dealing with you..Your practice is A-OK with me..I do it when I get stopped...
     
  13. Blotan Hunka

    Blotan Hunka Master Black Belt

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    Im gonna say that you are going to have to tell them SOMETHING. Just a plain old "He attacked me and I defended myself..thats it until I speak to my attny..the end" isnt going to leave you sleeping at home that night. Or perhaps that week. The cops are going to want to know some part of the incident. "I was walking home, he jumped me..." "I was minding my own business at the bar when this guy swung at me..." You PROBABLY dont want to get too detailed and what you WONT want to talk about is the fight itself, who hit who when, where, how many times, with what etc. Until youve had some good advice on how to proceed. You may still get arrested, self-defense is a "defense" after all, you will need to prove it in court, but it could be the difference between the cop arresting you on the spot or him letting the DA decide if they are going to bring charges. A "clean" SD situation like a mugging, home invasion etc. is probably going to be handled differently from a bar fight, a group of drunk buddies arguing over a ball game or if money/drugs are the basis of the "beef".

    What witnesses may say can have a big impact too.
     
  14. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Here it would be viewed as strange if you said you wanted a solicitor before saying anything to the police. Our police caution is different from yours, and starts
    'You donot have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention now, anything you later rely on in court. Anything you do say will be given in evidence.'

    Quite often now though we have CCTV to help sort out what happens in such fights.

    British police don't have weapons to pull on drrivers ( unless it's terrorist related and Special Branch are involved)
     
  15. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    You train your punches and kicks and other techniques before you need them in a confrontation. You need to practice and have a game plan for AFTER you have used your skills as well.

    Find an attorney BEFOREHAND and have him on retainer (especially if you are dealing with the use of your firearm in a CCW matter) ask him questions about what you should say to the police to look cooperative without misspeaking yourself. Your attorney should be a local one, that is familiar with the assistant prosecutors and how the prosecutor looks at cases in general. Also, discuss what the local statutes and state laws are for the use of self-defense. For example, you and another person get into an argument and are calling each other bad things and things that have to do with your mother's lineage. At that point, the assault has already begun (legal definition of assault in Michigan is the threat) if you realize it is going south and try to leave the situation and then are attacked you can use self-defense. BUT, if at that point you are still both yelling at each other and the other guy pushes you or tries to punch you and you punch back and the fight is on (physical contact is the "battery" part of assault and battery A&B) it is mutual combat and you can not claim self defense even if the other guy threw the first punch. Some have local ordinances that call the typical bar fight "Disorderly by Fighting" which may also be charged.

    Also, really understand what you can do for use of force to defend yourself. You are only allowed to use equal force to protect until the threat has ended. We had a case in a local school where the kids got into an argument and one student tried to leave and the other tried to punch him. The first student punches the second one back and knocked him out. At this point he would have been in the clear for use of self-defense (I talked with both the investigating officer and Asst. Pros.), BUT after he knocked the kid out he decided to get in some retribution and kick him in the head a time or two and gave the kid a concussion and sent him to the hospital. Now, he is the one with the charges.
     
  16. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    I also agree with Bushidomartial Arts' advice of sitting down and cooperating. But sitting down when directed to do so or after obtaining permission.

    Likewise I agree somewhat with Andy's two bits (especially where it's better to be polite than sarcastic)... except that my thinking is that if you shut up then this may irritate the officer on the scene because they want to know what the hell happened and need to get BOTH sides of the story in order to assess whether or not an arrest is needed and WHICH ONE of you needs to be arrested.
    I'd give the short version of what happened: "We exchanged some words and he threw the first punch and I defended myself accordingly." (or something to that effect). Then at least if everything else that everyone else (witnesses) says jives with your version then you can let the officer know that you'd prefer to talk with a lawyer if it doesn't look that good for you.
    I think you are allowed to ask the officer for their opinion of the situation after they heard first hand accounts to test the waters on where you're at. Not all witnesses see EVERYTHING from the beginning and they may have just turned around in time to see you performing the kenpo "dance of death" (or other Art equivalent) on the guy and missed him throwing that right hook to your face.
     
  17. CoryKS

    CoryKS Senior Master

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    I think you can pretty much forget about talking your way out of a ride to jail if you use Dance of Death. :erg:
     
  18. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yep...Or by doing the loud irate citizen routine..Or the old standby "My brother-uncle-cousin- is a cop///
     
  19. FearlessFreep

    FearlessFreep Senior Master

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    Not all witnesses see EVERYTHING from the beginning and they may have just turned around in time to see you performing the kenpo "dance of death" (or other Art equivalent) on the guy and missed him throwing that right hook to your face.

    That's like in football. It's the guy who punches *back* that gets the foul because by that time the officials have been alerted to the commotion.

    I guess that's why it's important that if something is about to go down, you get everyone's attention *before* the first shot is thrown
     
  20. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Or How about "Do you know WHO I am!?" And the ever effective, "My taxes pay your salary!!" ;)123
     

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