Advice from Portland’s Defense Attorneys

Jared Reed discusses African American Student Union’s recent meeting and the benefits that it offered. 

It is clear that people of color are treated differently by law enforcement than others. In 2015, Police killed at least 102 unarmed african americans, nearly twice per week.  In February and March of 2016 there were at least 100 people of color killed by police in each month. These statistics show the injustice that african americans live in. Police are known for their violent traffic stop exchanges with people of color, Where many of the 102 deaths have occurred.

To help with the understanding of our rights, AASU and LSU brought in attorneys from Portland to discuss how to handle traffic stops and police encounters.The attorneys came into Central Catholic and taught everyone who attended the meeting valuable lessons. Some of the interesting information that I took away from the meeting were the how to properly speak to a police officer during an encounter with them. Police do not like it when people say to them “I know my rights” because it could give off an ignorant feeling.  Rather than saying “I know my rights”, try saying “I am exercising my 5th amendment right”.  This shows that you have knowledge of what the right means-The right to remain silent. While getting arrested, people can get angry and lose their temper, causing for them to go on rants. The attorneys want you to refrain from speaking while being arrested because anything that you say will be used against you in court. Also, when you are unsure of the encounter the police officer is having with you, the right thing to say here is “Am I free to leave or am I being detained?” This statement is asking the police officer(s) where the confrontation is going, in a polite way.

Another topic that some may not know about is I.C.E.. This stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Usually, I.C.E. is not seen that often, and can only arrest you with a warrant. Since the election, they have been going after people at a “free-for-all”. They have been going great lengths to arrest people by dressing as regular people in disguise and profiling people of color. They stand outside the courtroom waiting/baiting people of color to come out, so that they can question and/or interrogate them. They do this to find out if they are living here illegally, so they can take them back to where they are from. Again, in an encounter with ANY officer, you do not have to say anything. Giving any officer information is only incriminating yourself.

Even though we live in a world today where violence is prominent, there are many ways to avoid the consequences of people’s violent actions.  Both AASU and LSU were very fortunate to have had the chance to listen to the attorneys speak on a significant issue this past week that needed to be addressed.  Whether you have  been stopped or not, the information given will be very helpful and useful to those driving on the road.