What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police

stop and friskI’ve been meaning to post this since my son had his encounter with the police last summer and since Wednesdays are notorious for cops to meet quotas, I’m posting it now. This is public information taken from a card distributed by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). When all else fails, always say “I do not consent to this search.” See below…

Know Your Rights!

  1. What you say to the police is always important. Everything you say can be used against you.
  2. You have the right not to speak. To exercise this right, you should tell the police, “I would like to remain silent.”
  3. You never have to consent to a search of yourself, your belongings, your car or your house. If you do consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ask to see it. If they don’t, say “I do not consent to this search.” Police cannot arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search. This may not stop the search from happening, but it will protect your rights if you have to go to court.
  4. Do not interfere with our obstruct the police – you can be arrested for it.

If You Are Stopped, Questioned And/Or Frisked:

  1. Police may stop and briefly detain you only if there is reasonable suspicion that you committed, are committing or are about to commit a crime.
  2. You should as if you are under arrest or free to leave.
  3. In New York, you are not required to carry ID, and you don’t have to show ID to a police officer. If you are issued a summons or arrested, however, and you refuse to produce ID or ell officers who you are, the police may detain you until you can be positively identified.
  4. If police reasonably suspect you pose a danger to them or others, they may pat down your outer clothing. This is called a frisk. Don’t physically resist, but say “I do not consent to this search.”
  5. If an officer asks you to empty your pockets – even if the officer says you won’t get in trouble – don’t do it. Say, “I do not consent to this search.” If the officer reaches into your pockets or your bag, this is called a search.
  6. Don’t bad-mouth a police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unfair. That could lead to your arrest.

If You Are Stopped In Your Car

  1. Upon request, show the police your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant. To protect yourself later, you should state that you do not consent to a search.
  2. If you’re suspected of drunk driving (DWI), you will be asked to take a breath-alcohol and coordination test. If you fail the tests, or if you refuse to take them, you will be arrested, your driver’s license may be suspended and your car may be taken away.
  3. If you are arrested, your car will be subject to a search.

If Police Come To Your Home

  1. The police can enter your home without your permission if they have a warrant or if it is an emergency. If the police say they have a warrant, ask to see it. Check to make sure the warrant has the correct address.
  2. If you are arrested in your home or office, the police can search you and the area immediately surrounding you or where evidence of criminal activity is in plain view.

If You Are Arrested Or Taken To A Police Station:

  1. You have the right to remain silent and the right to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Don’t tell the police anything except your name and address. Don’t give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.
  2. If you have a lawyer, ask to see your lawyer immediately. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you have the right to a free one once your case goes to court. You can ask the police how to contact a lawyer. Don’t say anything to police without speaking to a lawyer first.
  3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest or booking, you should ask the police to contact a family member or friend. If you are permitted to make a phone call, anything you say at the precinct may be recorded or listened to. Never talk about the facts of your case over the telephone.
  4. Do not make any decisions in your case or sign any statements until you have talked with a lawyer.

What To Do If You’re Stopped By The Police

  • Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions.
  • Don’t get into an argument with the police.
  • Never bad-mouth a police officer.
  • Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them.
  • Don’t run.
  • Don’t touch any police officer.
  • Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent.
  • If you complain at the scene, or tell the police they’re wrong, do so in a non-confrontational way that will not intensify the scene.
  • Do not make any statements regarding the incident.
  • If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer immediately.
  • Remember officers’ badge numbers, patrol car numbers and physical descriptions.
  • Write down everything your remember ASAP.
  • Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers.
  • If you are injured, take photos of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you get medical attention first. Ask for copies of your medical treatment files.

To File A Police Misconduct Complaint: Contact The Civilian Complaint Review Board By Calling 311 or By Visiting www.nyc.gov/html/ccrb.

It’s Like That

y lateefA multifaceted artist, Yusef Lateef has managed to secure his spot in the music and art worlds with his work. My favorite piece by Lateef would have to be Like It Is. The haunting violins combined with the pleading flute is arguably a masterpiece of accurate sadness, at least to me. Take listen as it’s posted below. 🙂

Learn more about Lateef at his own site.


“Have You Ever Been In Love Before….”

I couldn’t wait. This is my favorite time of the year. Not only is it Black History Month but it’s also the bornday celebration month of some very cool people including my mother. In 5 more days, my mother and I will celebrate our birthdays together…..I was my mothers bornday gifts some 30 something years ago. Anyway, with all of that said, I’m going to start off my BHM postings with my all time favorite music artist…..

Gregory Isaacs & Dennis Brown - Judge Not (Music works)

This was the first album cover I ever saw with Dennis Brown on it. I had to be about 8 or 9, and in my father’s music room were stacks of records. I always noticed this album because Gregory Isaacs looked scary. You could hardly see his face in the shadow and he isn’t smiling. Dennis Brown though, is sitting in the chair captured my attention. At this young age, I was curious to know who these men were and what they sounded like. This album introduced me to the sultry sound of DB.

Dennis Emmanuel Brown was born February 1, 1957 in Kingston, Jamaica. He recorded his first album at about 12 or 13 titled No Man Is An Island. He is easily a renowned artist of reggae with tunes like Here I Come, Love and Hate and Money in My Pocket. But even more, he goes down in history as a musical pioneer. His music, always soulful, expressed love, righteousness, activism, history of a people, and love among fellow brethren. His music has many purposes for me. These days, Dennis Brown’s music conjures pleasant memories of days when I had decided to go natural and loc up.


Who said you couldn’t be natural and still have fun? I still partied, played mas and liked hanging out with my friends. Nights at Caribbean City, Festival City and Soca Paradise would be filled with whinin and wukin up to soca all night. I mean you had to be physically feet to keep up with those dudes because if you couldn’t keep up, they’d leave you and go dance with someone else, lol. Eventually the D.J. would have to accommodate the ital crowd, and the winded whiners, with a roots segment . And everyone knows you cannot introduce the roots reggae session of the party without Here I Come, Revolution or Get Myself Together.

I had the honor of seeing Dennis Brown perform perhaps one of his last shows in New York at SOB’s. He had just released his album Ready We Ready and I was lucky to have one handed to me by the honorable Dennis Brown himself. That was a most memorable performance on so many levels when I learned of his death shortly after. I was so heartbroken.

With all artists, their spirit lives on by way of the masterpieces they’ve left for us to enjoy but what more is you remember how you feel when you hear a song, or who you were dancing with when that special tune comes on or the way you felt when you watched the crowned prince perform for the people.

I thought the following videos were pretty cool and if you know his music, you’ll find it hard to believe that he sounds exactly as he does on his recordings. Enjoy 🙂

“History Must Restore What Slavery Took Away.”

schomburg 1

Arturo or Arthur Alfonso Schomburg was born January 24, 1874 in Puerto Rico. His name is easily recognizable by the Harlem library and research center named in his honor. Schomburg was a Latino historian and writer. Motivated by a teacher that informed him that black people had no history, his life’s work was to document and collect artifacts and make available the true history of African-American people in America.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was the first base that contained artifacts and letters that documented the true history of black people before and after slavery. The Schomburg Center,  probably the largest research spaces for black culture, is now being curated by Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a descendant of Nation of Islam spiritual leader Elijah Muhammad.

As an active member of the Schomburg, I have to say that it always an honor and a pleasure to visit that site. Many of us take gems like the Schomburg for granted because we figure it will always be there. That isn’t always the case. The Schomburg is a center that is funded through grants, memberships and donations and not so long ago, we almost lost it due to budget cuts. I’ve attended many talks and discussions that were engaging and enlightening at the Schomburg. I encourage you to visit the Schomburg, view a James Baldwin manuscript or an upcoming exhibit that examines Africans in India.

Arturo Schomburg died June 8, 1938 becoming ill shortly after a dental procedure. His legacy and work has been carried on by remarkable members like John Henrik Clarke, Carter G. Woodson and John G. Jackson, not to mention a host of others.