NYC PLC Statement of Purpose
How to Handle the Heat - Basic Know Your Rights
SOLIDARITY MEANS PROTECTING ONE ANOTHER THROUGH
COLLECTIVE DECISION MAKING.
PLC’s got your back, make sure you got each other’s!
Legal Number if You
For Legal Updates on people arrested:
Note to the media: we provide legal support,
we are not media spokes people. We will not talk
to the media except for Indymedia. Your calls are
interfering with us doing our job.
|NYC People's Law
Collective Statement of Purpose
Who We Are
What Do We Do
How To Handle The Heat - Police Confrontations at Protests
The most important things to remember
When officers try to talk to us
If we are not free to go
If officers begin, or ask to search us
If we are under arrest
If cops are at the door
If they have a warrant
While in an automobile
Who We Are
What We Do
The New York People’s Law Collective provides legal support, training, and education to people and groups engaged in radical action towards liberation and equality. We act as a radical presence in the legal community, provide jail support for activists that have put themselves in peril, facilitate popular education and training on rights and legal issues, and assist other communities in organizing legal collectives of their own.
Our work if founded on the principles of liberation, solidarity and mutual aid, consensus process and critical use of the law. We are anarchist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-capitalist. We are a part of the movements with which we work, not separate and detached. With these principles, we carry out our work of providing legal support, training, and education to people and groups engaged in radical action.
Police Confrontations at Protests
Note: This material was prepared for the Summit of the Americas in Quebec. These suggested guidelines are also useful in Canada. See specific infromations about the border and Canada.
Law enforcement officers (cops) come in many different guises. They may be uniformed or plain clothes. They may be from local police departments, state police, or from federal agencies like the FBI or DEA. Our rights with all officers are the same regardless of what they are wearing or where they are from.
We have a right to
privacy and a right to be free from unreasonable intrusion by law
enforcement into our lives. If officers confront us, we have the right to
remain silent, the right to a lawyer, and the right to be free from
unreasonable searches, stops and arrests. Our best choices to protect
these rights depend on where we are when confronted by officers. We may be
in private spaces, public spaces, or
The most important things to remember are:
When officers try talk to us:
If we are not free to go:
If officers begin, or ask to search us:
If we are under arrest:
If cops are at the door:
If they have a warrant:
Unless there is an emergency, cops need
either a valid warrant or our consent to search or arrest us in our homes,
offices or other places where we have a “reasonable expectation of
privacy”. A warrant must have a description of the items sought or the
person to be arrested, a description of the area to be searched (including
address and part of the house to be searched), a date, and a judge’s
signature. If a warrant is missing these things or it is based on flimsy
or false facts, it may not be a valid warrant. Any time cops are in our
home, anything they see can be used against us. If an arrest takes place
inside a building, they may use the opportunity to conduct a search.
They may need different warrants or your consent to search different
spaces in your house. If in doubt, don't consent and say
If ordered by cops, the driver of a vehicle must stop, show identification, and answer routine questions (name, date of birth, and address). Cops may order the driver or passengers out of the vehicle and may frisk them to check for weapons.
Cops do not need a warrant to search your car, but they must have a reason to think that a car contains illegal things. (If they can see it or smell it, they can search) They may not need a warrant to look in the trunk or glove box, but they do need one to look through containers in cars such as bags, backpacks, and purses (unless you are under arrest). Anything cops see out in plain view in a car may give them a reason to arrest us or may be used against us later. If a vehicle is impounded, cops may look through everything left in the car including bags and containers. When in doubt don’t consent.
expanded definition of terrorism:
dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws…if
they "appear to be intended ... to influence the policy of a
government by intimidation or coercion," and if they "occur
primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States."
USA PATRIOT Act § 802, amending 18 U.S.C. § 2331.
Patriot Act allows for expanded powers for INS border officials to exclude
(not allow in) any people suspected of involvement in or support for
"terrorist activity". As well, it allows Aliens and immigrants
picked up in the United States to be held for up to 7 days without an
immigration charge or criminal charge being laid. Lastly, aliens can be
certified as "Terrorists" under the above definition, or for
supporting "Terrorist organizations" (either those on a list
held by the A.G. or matching the above definition) and as such are liable
Patriot Act allows for increased surveillance of activists, including the
use of phone tap warrants attached to the person instead of the phone
itself (so any phone that person uses can be tapped) and expanded ease in
getting warrants. However, the same rules for security apply as before,
don't discuss alleged illegal activity on the phone!
Patriot Act is primarily designed to scare resistance movements away from
being active. If we allow ourselves to be divided it's primary targets
will be Immigrant movements, poor people's movements, known movements like
the anarchist movement, and People of color movements. It behooves us in
this period to be more active, especially people coming from privilege, to
show that we will not be intimidated! The only way to keep rights is to
Do not speak to police officers about your immigration status (even
if you are a citizen, it only isolates non-citizens). If they ask about it
tell them you want to talk to your lawyer
If you are picked up by the INS after being released from police
custody, or on the streets, demand to talk to your lawyer and call the PLC,
we will provide an immigration lawyer. Remember the INS is under no
obligation to provide a lawyer for you (unlike criminal detention)
If you are picked up by the INS, do not answer questions DO NOT
SIGN ANYTHING! They often try to get people to sign voluntary deportation
orders, which can bar you from re-entering the US for 5 years, 10 years or
even life. Talk to a lawyer before signing anything.
4. Remember Solidarity is the key and involves PROTECTING EACH OTHER. Let your affinity group know about your status beforehand and have a strategy worked out to protect undocumented and non-citizens, watch out for non-citizens in custody if you are arrested and have citizenship, do what you can and need to to protect them. Remember for citizens arrest means probably only a night in jail, for non-citizens and undocumented it can mean deportation to a possibly dangerous country.
Sticks are illegal for signs
by regulations, and can result in confiscation and arrest.
Megaphones are legally not
allowed in marches, but often the cops let us use them nonetheless (you
need a sound permit to use a megaphone here, and they say that they don't
give out "moving sound permits"). However they have been used in
the past as an excuse to arrest folks, especially targeted folks like
Black blockers, people of color, etc.
Masks worn by groups of 4 or
more are illegal. An old law was pulled out to get at the "Black
Bloc" and the cops will often charge into a crowd to arrest folks
wearing masks, even theatrical stuff.
Also be aware that it is
illegal for cops to film or photograph
Obligatory disclaimer: We are not lawyers, and thus cannot give out legal advice. The information above is what the law says. For all legal questions you need to contact a lawyer. We are working with lawyers for the WEF protests.
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