What’s your advice in dealing with traffic cops and other people who stand in the way of awesomeness?
Ah, dealing with cops—something all skaters have to do at one point or another. Fortunately, for all you out there, I’m something of a cop magnet. I’m not saying I do bad things, but cops really love stopping me to chat for whatever reason. I’ve learned a lot over the years and here’s some of it:
First of all, if you’re skating somewhere you know you shouldn’t, avoid the cops at all costs. They can’t stop you if they don’t see you. Maybe take a run and then bail. If you see a cop car, throw your board in a bush and act like you’re not doing anything wrong. They should just roll on by.
Let’s say you’re caught red-handed. You’ve been told not to skate somewhere multiple times and now you’ve got a squad car staring you down. Do not run. Running makes it seem like you’re up to something more devious than skating. They’re going to talk to you, and knowing your rights can come in clutch here.
Stay calm, you’ll be okay. Ask if you’re being detained or if you’re free to leave. If you’re being detained, ask why. If you’re free to leave, calmly get the heck out of there. I take it you know you have the right to remain silent. They cannot make you answer any questions if you don’t want to. So if you don’t want to, inform them that you are invoking your right to remain silent. They may ask for identification at this point, depending on what state you are in. If they genuinely have nothing to charge you with, they should leave you alone.
I tell you how to deal with cops in this way with a bit of caution. I’ve seen plenty of officers of the law get really upset once I start flexing my rights. This is why it’s important to film cops if it’s legal to do so in your state. The police are more likely to react within their legal boundaries if they know you’re filming them.
With all of this advice and legal know-how in mind, you should still use discretion. You do not always necessarily need to follow these steps, as some cops are pretty chill and know they have more important things to do than bust you for skating a spot. On the other hand, even if you do follow these steps, some cops can and will detain or arrest you for no reason, and spending a few hours in the drunk-tank down at the station sucks. Even if your charges get dropped because they have no grounds, being in cuffs because you pissed off the wrong cop is a bad time. Pick and choose your battles carefully.
In summation, the best way to deal with cops is to avoid them. If you have to talk to the cops, remain calm and know your rights. You should be fine, it’s just skateboarding. Stay frosty out there.
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