Don’t Talk To The Police

From Guns & Ammo Magazine and Massad Ayoob:

The key points of this video:

Be sure you are the first one to call 911, as the system rests on the assumption that the first to call is the victim.

Don’t talk to the police after a shooting, except to:

  1. Point out the person who attacked you.
  2. Indicate willingness to sign a criminal complaint against the assailant.
  3. Point out evidence (spent shell casings, weapons, etc).
  4. Point out witnesses who saw what happened.
  5. Indicate that you will cooperate in 24 hours after speaking with counsel.

Notice that this doesn’t include any statement about what you did or why, only talking about what others did and where police may find evidence and/or witnesses to the crime.

What I would add to this as an instructor:

When calling 911, limit your wording to what your attacker did and that EMS and police are needed at your location. For example “I’ve been attacked by a man with a knife at the corner of Any Street and Any Avenue. Please send an ambulance and police.” The 911 operator will try to get more information out of you, but whatever you do, don’t say anything else. 911 tapes can be used against you in court and you don’t have the legal training to know what can and can’t get you in trouble.

When police arrive, be extremely careful to not divulge anything beyond the above. It is extremely difficult in such an emotional situation to not say something you’ll regret later. Police are trained to extract as much information as possible and will sometimes even use deception to get you to open your mouth. Don’t listen to anything they say, just keep your mouth shut.

To drive the point home, here are a couple of great videos by a law school professor and a veteran police officer about why it’s not a good idea to talk to the police (beyond the above).

Don’t Talk To The Police Part I by Professor James Duane

Don’t Talk To The Police Part II

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