Category Archives: Police Encounters

Catch-22 in D.C. Police Encounters?

According to Jamison Koehler, the rule on police stops in D.C. just got trickier, and it now goes something like this:

  1. If you consent to a search or conversation with police, your consent waives your rights to object to what they find or figure out.
  2. Without your consent, the police need a specific reason to detain you.
  3. If you could legally walk away from an encounter with police, then your continued participation in the encounter constitutes consent.
  4. Walking away from the police constitutes unprovoked flight, which gives police a specific reason to detain you.

So when a cop says he wants to talk to you, both staying to talk and walking away will result in you losing your rights? I guess you could simply stay and remain silent until he dismisses you, but how is that not the same as being detained?

I suspect I’m oversimplify and missing some important legal angles, so you should probably read the whole thing.