"Don’t Talk to Police.”
This is the title of a 48-minute YouTube video that every student must watch. The first half of the video is a speech given by Professor James Duane of the Regent University School of Law, in which he instructs students to never talk to law enforcement. In the latter half of the video, a police detective reiterates Duane’s advice.
According to the law professor and the detective, speaking to police, even when innocent, is never beneficial to individuals. This is especially true of police-initiated encounters, such as traffic stops and investigations — essentially, any situation where you did not call 911 to ask for help. Three possible outcomes can arise from such encounters: positive, neutral and negative.
When a police officer initiates an interview or conversation, it is impossible to have a positive outcome. In other words, at the end of the conversation, you will not be in a better position than had the conversation never happened in the first place. This is why both men advise against speaking to police.
It is possible to have a neutral ending to a police-initiated encounter. This means that talking to police brings neither benefit nor harm to an individual — although, some would classify these as negative because of the inconvenience, wasted time or stress caused by the situation. Examples of neutral outcomes are being pulled over and let off with a warning, no charges arising from an inquiry or investigation, and the exchanging of hellos and small talk on a public sidewalk.
Numerous times in this country, when police initiate conversations and interviews, it leads to negative outcomes for the individual. Arrests, prosecutions and convictions of criminals fall under this category. Those who inflict violence on fellow citizens or another’s property may deserve such an outcome. However, the problem is that police bring injustice upon many undeserving individuals.
Justice is not served when police arrest, jail, harass or intimidate innocent persons. This is especially true when an innocent person is prosecuted and convicted of a crime that they did not commit.Duane listed a number of ways in which innocent, well-meaning people can incriminate themselves when talking to police. But injustice also arises from situations where police engage in illegal actions, enforce immoral or illegal laws, or use violence and force against non-violent individuals.
Being that police are increasingly disregarding their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, one does not have to look far to find cases of both illegal laws and illegal police action. The War on Drugs exemplifies a set of illegal laws.
Federal laws against drugs are illegal because they are unconstitutional — they are unconstitutional because the founding document does not grant the federal government the authority to outlaw drugs. Americans used to understand this fact, and Washington acknowledged it in 1919 when it sought a constitutional amendment to prohibit the manufacture and sale of liquor.
Unfortunately, because police “are just following orders” or “are just doing their jobs,” they have no problem enforcing these illegal laws. An example of this happened in July when area police descended upon the Meadowview Apartments in Pulaski, Va.
According to the Roanoke Times and WDBJ7, police from Pulaski, Dublin, Radford, Blacksburg and Virginia Tech, sheriffs from Montgomery, Pulaski and Wythe counties, Virginia State Police and federal agents prowled around the apartments at 2 a.m. with drug-sniffing dogs. When dogs alerted on an apartment, a search warrant was obtained so that cops could proceed to look for evidence. Even if drug prohibition was legal and moral, this late-night escapade by area police shows little regard for the United States and Virginia constitutions. Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche said the operation was a result of “complaints about possible drug issues in the apartment complex.”