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How do you respond to the police when they confront you?

+3 votes
Do you have any specific manners-of-acting ect. when the police confront you? I tend to be polite but there have  been several times when I've been abrasive/confrontational, which I feel like I only got away with because I'm white.

edit: I ask this because some anarchists make being nasty to police as a "statement", which i avoid doing, however, is fun when i can find an excuse-to-self for doing it. I have a friend, that when he went through his anarchist/radical political phase really pissed cops off on purpose but i don't think would do that anymore. If cops are anything, they like being macho and will give you hard time if they feel like it.
asked May 17, 2016 by anonymous
edited May 18, 2016 by
What do you mean by confront? Like when they detain you or approach you? When I'm detained, I don't say much other than a random silly, irrelevant question or two meant to annoy. When approached by them, I just ignore them and keep doing whatever it was I was doing.
i mean when they talk to you

Oh okay. If it's a "hey can talk to you" i ignore them usually with varying results. The last three times I talked to them was when a former acquittance of mine called in fake wellness checks on me (claims I was suicidal) so the coppers have to come. In those situations I answer some their questions and ask them annoying questions. I don't think I've ever been confrontational or abrasive with a cop (I don't see the point) unless I was blitzed out of my mind and don't remember. I'm normally polite, for the most part.

the most confrontational I've been with a cop was telling him his job was useless because some woman was "concerned" just because i was walking around a parking garage waiting for my mother and he made me wait until another cop got there until he said i could leave. I actually tried to leave against the cops wishes in peru when they found me with a group of friends smoking pot but he fucking jumped in front of me and pushed my shoulder, as i said before, it seems to me the only thing that motivates them is some sort of sense of machoness....

5 Answers

0 votes
I try to avoid the police as much as I can. I usually stay calm but show that I won't be fucked with and won't outright verbally attack them (or worse) unless provoked.
answered May 18, 2016 by TheStonerAnarchist (130 points)
+1 vote
i work at giving them as little information or handle on me as possible.

i am very clear that at least some of them have skills and training to get (and/or create) information from people and i want to stay away from them.

i have a staunchly-anarchist friend with high social skill levels who jollies them (he's white and has a southern accent, i can only assume that helps) and thinks that anarchists should not have the kneejerk jackass attitude that most have towards cops, as it simply makes cops more likely to be assholes back (not that they need excuses, of course). i am torn about this, but the idea of manipulating cops is highly appealing to me.
answered May 18, 2016 by dot (52,800 points)
+2 votes
Extreme professionalism. The analogy I most often use for cops is that they are, of all other professions, most akin to loan officers at a bank. The rules themselves are almost meaningless as, though they set basic parameters, within those parameters everything is determined by the ability of this individual to size you up and place you into a risk category (which for a cop exists on something like a three cornered plane, marked between their native laziness (cops do a lot of paperwork), the sense of joy they get out of harassing their "lessers," and the likelihood that they can put up another point in their win column). The professional attitude, or what may be called the proper practice of politeness, does not exist as some may say to create a false sense of niceness but rather as an absolute mode of proactive defense against making enemies.

There is an excellent article exploring this in other contexts which I may link, but the important thing here is this: Politeness is not deference, but rather the mode used by those surrounded by their enemies. Further, it is unwise to antagonize your enemies. Kill them or leave them be.
answered May 23, 2016 by StrawDog (1,370 points)
they're saying (if i may interpret here) that professional politeness is not about being nice and it is also different from politeness at the family holiday dinner with racist uncle dave. it is a formal, wary response to being around a dangerous phenomenon. it is acknowledgement of the power differential, not respect for the individual or office or a desire to get along.

edit: this was in response to a question that has been removed by the questionner. but i'm leaving it here in case it's helpful.
@Dot - Yeah, that's basically what I'm saying. Professionalism, like historical politeness (not the popular attenuated meaning) is that mode of bearing one uses when one must assume that they are surrounded by , if not enemies, at least rivals. So, I where I would differ with your explanation is on the point of the power differential: I would place politeness, in this understanding, as arising from an understanding of the danger posed by another's power, regardless of which way the power differential flows.
+3 votes

I tend to get a bit mouthier than is probably for the best. I know how to play the head down game, and have had to do so professionally at times, but I hate it so much that it is hard for me not to exercise some of the privilege I have as a white dude who knows the law well enough to not cross the line.Because of this it mostly comes out in day-to-day interactions: the cop who is just directing traffic, etc. Does it change anything (their career choices, my feelings...)? No. On the other hand, sometimes I like for people I hate to know I hate them, and to know that maybe I just made a normal day a little shittier for them.

edit: that is not about them confronting me, but about me displaying hostility. at generally unexpected times. In more, er, confrontational moments I actually try to both get much more calm, (like dot) give them as little information as possible, and yet not cede my hostility towards them. An example I've experienced in the past might be a protest/demonstration where pepper spray has been deployed: most people ratchet up their emotions and fight/flight response comes out, with very little thought to how police have trained to deal with exactly these emotional outbursts (er, righteous expressions of our outrage). While most people start to scream at the cops, I tend to become much more quiet. My experience of group dynamics is that a group that is not shouting, chanting, etc. is often far more intimidating.

answered May 31, 2016 by ingrate (22,360 points)
edited May 31, 2016 by ingrate
0 votes
In my community, the cops really bug me because they only go after easy prey. We always have a lot of gypsies moving through this area. I know a family of relatively settled gypsies and have had some enlightening conversations with them: they laugh at the non-gypsy society and blatantly flaunt its laws.  The father of this family admits that his people are very likely to steal (a common thing is for gypsies to go into a farmer's field, kill a cow and butcher it right on the spot), shoplift, start fights when drunk, not send the kids to school, ride around with no seatbelts, etc. But he says they would never kidnap a child, and he got downright indignant at the very idea that some would suspect them of such an atrocity.  How do they deal with the police?  easy, he says, when you have no papers, no address, no bank account, no local acquaintances.  They catch you, you pretend not to speak the language; they get frustrated with the paperwork and just let you go, hoping you just move on down the road.

I offer that as some second-hand advice. For my part, I don't follow it, so I'm easy prey. The least amount of paperwork for a cop is a traffic violation. So that's what they focus on. It really pisses me off when I get stopped for a traffic violation; I get into an attitude of "I can't believe you are stopping ME, when no harm has been done to anyone... are you really proud of the work that you are doing? Do you really feel like you are contributing to society?"

But I always pull my pants down and take it, telling myself "choose your battles."  If ever a time comes when I can make a big statement by resisting I like to think I'll do it. But it would have to be very visible and likely to influence a large number of fellow community members. I've made a lot of stupid mistakes by doing things on "principle." Need to try to remember that the value of any action is only related to its impact on the lives of others.  What statement is less meaningful than one that no one hears or sees you make?
answered Aug 13, 2016 by Syrphant (560 points)
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