Comply with an officer’s request

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Recently far too many news stories have been released nationwide involving someone resisting arrest and a negative outcome being the result.
At times non-compliance will result in more charges being pressed, or an even more detrimental outcome.
It is well known that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution provides protection against illegal searches and seizures.
However, people tend to rest their rights on a loosely interpreted version of that amendment. Many forget that if law enforcement officers have probable cause, and most of all, have already noticed a crime, their right to refuse arrest or even to refuse to provide their identity has become forfeit.
Take for instance the most recent claim of abuse by a Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department deputy.
According to news coverage of the alleged incident, a passenger in a vehicle “respectfully” declined to provide a law enforcement officer with his identity during a stop.
As always there are two sides to every story. But what is consistent in both accounts is that the man did decline to provide his identity. Had this incident occurred under different circumstances, he most likely could have retained his right to refuse to provide that information. However, the officer was reported to have been responding to a call of an unruly motorist causing damage to freshly lain asphalt. Additionally, the officer arrived to find an open beer in the vehicle.
While I am not a member of law enforcement, I can see why the officer would want to have full control of this situation.
Establishing positive identities of those involved in the case would help him better control the situation. If, after the officer gets the positive identification of the passenger, and found there were no outstanding warrants for his arrest, most likely he would have been sent on his way. Instead the outcome was much different.
The moral of this story is, be kind to law enforcement officials. Provide the information requested, be respectful and in the worst-case scenario you will drive away from the stop with a simple citation.

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