It’s not surprising that kids in government schools are taught the government’s point of view about pretty much . . . everything.
Including “behavioral expectations” when interacting with armed government workers (i.e., the police).
There’s a new video not merely circulating in government schools but mandatory viewing for teenagers seeking the government’s permission to drive. It is titled Civilian Interaction Training, an interesting title given that armed government workers (assuming they are not actually in the military) are also civilians, their four-starred and campaign-hatted delusions to the contrary notwithstanding.
The video asserts a number of legally dubious and dangerous things – above and beyond the silly thing about cops not being “civilians,” despite all their buzzcut Hut! Hut! Hutting!
Perhaps the worst of these is the declaration that a person pulled over by an armed government worker should “do what the officer asks” and “just follow instructions.”
What about following the law?
The teenaged kids watching this flick aren’t told that they are under no legal obligation to “just do what the officer asks,” if it is an unlawful request. Much less what might constitute an unlawful “request”
They aren’t even told that they’re not legally obliged to answer questions posed by a cop.
Nor is the nature of police questioning explained to them.
They are told about their legal obligation to present a driver’s license upon demand, as well as vehicle registration and (in some states) proof of insurance.
But what about her right to remain silent?
They are not told that while it may sometimes be advisable to banter with a cop – in order to attempt to establish rapport and (perhaps) wriggle out of a trumped-up ticket with just a warning – as a matter of law, they do not have to banter.
More to the point, they should avoid admitting.
The audience is not told that cops’ questions aren’t “friendly.” That they are designed to elicit incriminating responses. The viewers aren’t informed that anything they say which is incriminating can and will be held against them.
If you have teenaged kids, tell them this.
When a cop who pulls a driver over for “speeding” or some other traffic offense, he will almost always ask a deliberately leading question, such as: “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Or: “Do you know how fast you were driving”?
The purpose of such questions is to elicit a confession.
If your kid answers, “Yeah, I guess I was going a little fast” or “I was in a hurry to get home” – he’s just admitted guilt and provided the evidence which will be presented by the cop in court to convict him.
It’s something new drivers probably ought to be made aware of. Those who watched this video won’t be made aware – unless they’re reading this.
No word of explanation, either, about the inherently adversarial nature of a traffic stop. That a cop’s “sworn word” is considered admissible evidence while anything a “civilian” (that’s us) says to the contrary is “hearsay” and legally without weight.
They are legally required to pull over. And it is sound policy to pull off the road safely, put the car in Park and shut off the engine. It is also smart to turn on the car’s interior light (if it’s night) and to sit quietly with hands visible and wait for the cop to come up to the window. The video goes into plenty of detail explaining all of that.
But when the cop asks: “Why do you think you’re being pulled over?” the non-incriminating reply is: “I’m sure you’ll let me know.”
The video doesn’t explain that.
If the cop asks: “Do you know how fast you were going”? the non-incriminating reply is: “The speed limit.”
This isn’t arguing with the cop. It is protecting your interests – as provided for by the law.
The kids aren’t told that, either.
They’re also not advised that they have the legal right to refuse a search of their vehicle and that it is legally sound to express this verbally, in order to establish for the record that they do not consent to the search. They’re not told that this may prevent a cop from rooting around in their car and that even if it doesn’t, a court may later toss out any evidence found during the search if it determines the rooting-around cop lacked probable cause to do so and didn’t have consent.
The kids should also know – but once again aren’t told – that if they do consent to a search which would not otherwise be legally valid (assuming no probable cause) and something illegal is found, it will be admissible as evidence.
The presumption of guilt – and expectation of “full cooperation,” without any discussion regarding the limits on what “cooperation” is legally required – pervades this ugly authoritarian flick.
The video doesn’t advise kids to know – and assert – their their legal rights.
It urges them to obey, unquestioningly.
Whether the law requires them to do so – or not.
. . .
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