A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Talking To The Police


Anonymous tjm said...

Awesome! wow! Awesome!!!!!!!!!something everybody needs to watch. thank you SO MUCH for posting this for us to watch.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

Don't talk to the police even if you are a witness?

Really? This guy can go on 60 Minutes with the "Stop Snitching" rapper Cam'ron. Now I have even more reasons to dislike silver-tounged tassle-toed fast-talking defense lawyers.

Being in Law Enforcement myself, I understand that you have to be very careful when involved with any serious criminal event. As a matter of fact, I used to be a Union Rep who has told Police Officers who were involved in shootings to be quiet and wait for their lawyer.

To make a blanket statement like "Never talk to the Police", however, is ridiculous. As an instructor, I try to avoid using "always" and "never" when teaching students, because there is always a hypothetical situation where the exception to the rule should apply.

Keeping with the context of this forum, if you shoot someone in self defense, should you submit to a formal police interview "downtown" without a lawyer? My answer would be no, whether you are under arrest or not.

But should you call 911 right after it occurs? Should you identify yourself as being involved and give the basic facts as to what happened to the responding officers? Absolutely.

The way this lawyer talks, apparently you should just holster up and go about your merry way.

Or if you are in the vicinity of a crime, you shouldn't tell the police what you saw because ten different hypothetical mistakes could be made by well intentioned people, and then you would be in prison for ever and ever.

Give me a break...

P.S. I'm not too happy with the Detective who spoke after Mr Fast-Talker. He gave away a few too many of our secrets ;-)

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've been reading your blog for a long time, and this is one of the best topics I've seen (and that's saying something)

Thanks for posting it, as well as all your hard work.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Kristopher said...


Too many people have been railroaded to date. Officer Friendly just ain't anymore. Trusting that you are talking to a reasonable cop these days is like playing Russian roulette.

If all cops were reasonable, then why were you, as a union rep, advising other cops to shut up?

Yes ... this makes your job hard. Got a problem with that, then I would suggest earning our trust back before trying to chastise us for using good sense.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are exactly why, as a mere peasent, I don't talk to cops. Period. Full stop.

"I respectfully decline to answer any questions without the presence of an attorney to advise me of my rights."

At all times.

Quoting you:

"Being in Law Enforcement myself"

"Law Enforcement"

There are thousands of laws I have no idea about. I'll never know about. Most lawyers and judges will never know about.

But I will be held accountable to them. And you enforce enforce them. With means up to and including death.

Sorry, but "officer friendly" only exists in old TV reruns.

Keeping my mouth shut at all times is the only method I have of protecting myself these days. At that is quickly being legislated away.

Weep for the Republic.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Not Too Pensive said...

That's the most useful hour I've spent in a good long while. Very interesting.

Keeping with the context of this forum, if you shoot someone in self defense, should you submit to a formal police interview "downtown" without a lawyer? My answer would be no, whether you are under arrest or not.

That, I think, is the big point.

Once again, I am not offering ANY legal advice here whatsoever, and I am NOT a lawyer.

Just think about it - after you've shot someone in self-defense, even in an entirely justifiable manner, odds are that you're going to be panicked. Your body has just gone through a massive adrenaline dump, your ears will be ringing, and your extremities will likely still be shaking. The personal moral ramifications of your actions may be overpowering, even if it was in self-defense - I've never killed a man, but I can't imagine it's the sort of thing that puts a smile on your face.

When the police show up (call 911, obviously), it's probably not best to start talking in these circumstances. You'll probably say something stupid, something wrong, and something out of order. Most cops will understand this. Some will be looking to get you. Don't take the chance - ask for a moment to calm down and tell them you will discuss the matter with an investigator at headquarters with an attorney present. Don't be belligerent or evasive - just be smart about it.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Dan from Madison said...

+1 on what not too pensive said. Thank you for posting this video, Xav, it was great.

6:08 AM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

wow. that was great. Learned a lot of stuff I hope I never need to know.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

I thought I made it clear in my post that I agreed with much of what was said. If you find yourself in a situation where you have been arrested or in a position where that is a distinct possibility, then I agree that you should only be "interviewed" with a lawyer present.

What I have a problem with is the whole "NEVER" part of talking to the police.

I am interested in how the police are supposed to earn people's trust when there is no dialogue. Or how "keeping your mouth shut" at all times is supposed to make this world a better place to live.

Some people are fearful of talking to the police due to the fact that they might suffer retribution from the criminals. Those people I feel sorry for.

On the other hand, you can create "what-if" scenarios all day long. People going to federal prison for possessing "short lobsters" or "bony fish"? Right, okay. Good one. I have got a bridge to sell you as well.

Let's talk about a real-life situation instead.

If you see a crime happen, or know that crime is going on and choose to not say anything for fear of the police putting you in jail instead of the bad guys, what does that make you?

If you ask me, that makes you a delusional, paranoid coward.

It certainly doesn't make you much of a citizen, does it?

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a lecture given to law students. Those future lawyers are to advise their clients not to talk to police. Witnesses to crimes are not likely to seek legal advice unless they are connected to the crime in some way. It is pretty clear to me that this lecture is not meant to address witnesses to crimes who are in no way connected to the crime.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

Dang it...

I was just looking through old archives here and re-read the Wal-Mart encounter from a month or two ago.

As usual, I am a day (okay, several days) late, but this time, I think I'm not a dollar short.

Xavier noted several reasons why he did what he did both during and after the encounter. Once he got to calling the police, he never mentioned invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, which according to this lawyer, he should have.

Common sense and justice usually prevail in the end.

I say usually because our system isn't perfect, at times it does fail. We do not live in a perfect country, but we do live in a country that has the best legal system the world has ever seen.

My 15 years of experience in Law Enforcement have shown me that in a situation like Xavier's, where an open and honest discourse with the responding officers resulted in the proper response, is the rule.

The exceptions to that rule, however, are what get plastered all over the 6 o'clock news and the blogosphere.

Some cops can be jackasses and blowhards, I agree. Police sometimes make mistakes, and those mistakes are held under immense scrutiny. But if you display an extremist and paranoid attitude towards law enforcement, you most surely will escalate the encounter. You certainly will not garner any sympathy or good will on their part.

Common sense and common courtesy is a much better guideline to use rather than "Never Talk to the Police".

4:18 PM  

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