Citizens Against Police Abuse
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ISSUES IN DEPTH
RESOURCES/ OTHER LINKS
Just Say No to the FBI and Police!
1. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TALK TO FBI AGENTS, THE POLICE OR ANY INVESTIGATORS. You do not have to talk to them on the street, at your workplace, if you've been arrested, or even if you're in jail. Only a judge has the legal authority to order you to answer questions.
2. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LET THE FBI OR POLICE INTO YOUR HOME OR WORKPLACE UNLESS THEY HAVE A SEARCH OR ARREST WARRANT. Demand to see the warrant. The warrant must specifically describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized.
3. IF THEY DO PRESENT A WARRANT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TELL THEM ANYTHING MORE THAN YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS. You have the right to observe what they do. You should take written notes of what they do, their names, badge numbers, and what agency they're from. Have your friends who are present act as witnesses.
4. IF THE POLICE OR FBI TRY TO QUESTION YOU OR TRY TO ENTER YOUR HOME WITHOUT A WARRANT, JUST SAY NO. The police are very skilled at getting information from people, so attempting to outwit them is very risky. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information can hurt you or someone else.
5. ANYTHING YOU SAY TO A FBI AGENT OR COP MAY BE USED AGAINST YOU AND OTHER PEOPLE. Once you've been arrested, you cannot talk your way out of it. Don't try to engage the cops in a dialog or respond to their accusations. You may be brought before an investigator before you are released on bond who says he or she wants to hear "your side of the story." Don't trust them. They want to trick you into incriminating yourself. Their job is to convict you of a crime.
6. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REVEAL YOUR HIV STATUS TO THE POLICE, JAIL PERSONNEL OR FBI. If you are charged with interfering with an officer by biting, scratching, spitting, or transferring any bodily fluids on a cop, a judge may order that you take a blood test and your HIV status may be revealed to others. If you've been arrested, you should refuse to take a blood test until you've been brought before a judge and have a lawyer.
7. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE A PHONE CALL if you've been arrested and booked into jail. You have the right to a free local call to a lawyer, friend or relative. Demand your right to make that call.
8. LYING TO AN FBI AGENT OR OTHER FEDERAL INVESTIGATOR IS A CRIME.
9. THE FBI MAY THREATEN YOU WITH A GRAND JURY SUBPOENA IF YOU DON'T TALK TO THEM. They may give you a subpoena anyway, so anything you tell them may permit them to ask you more detailed questions later. You may also have legal grounds to refuse to answer questions before a grand jury. If you are given a grand jury subpoena, you should call a lawyer immediately. You should also tell movement groups and friends about the subpoena and discuss with them how to respond. Do not try to deal with it alone.
10. IF YOU ARE NERVOUS ABOUT SIMPLY REFUSING TO TALK, YOU MAY FIND IT EASIER TO TELL THEM TO CONTACT YOUR LAWYER. Once a lawyer is involved, the FBI and the police usually back off because because they've lost the power to intimidate.
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