Event helps students prepare for police encounters

Event speaker and SSDP member Dave Ross discusses constitutional rights with students during the “Know Your Rights” event Monday night. Students shared personal stories of past police encounters and gave tips on how to avoid self-incrimination.

Cyrus Nuval
Staff Writer

Students for Sensible Drug Policy on Monday night hosted an event to teach students their rights during encounters with police.

The event, called “Know Your Rights: Surviving Police Encounters,” presented some informational tips to students about the rights they retain during encounters with police officers. Tips included be respectful, but do not consent to a search even if there is nothing to hide, record your encounter, and do not answer a question that could be self-incriminating.

“I believe this information is essential to being an active citizen in the United States,” said SSDP chapter president Jurriaan Van Der Hurk. “Knowing your constitutional rights and practicing them is an important part of our democracy.”

Senior computer drafting and design major Stephen Doheney said he found the information very helpful.

“It’s wonderful information and stuff you may need to go over time and again,” Doheney said. “It may stick in your mind for a little while but it is something you want to be fresh on, in case you do get into an encounter … hopefully, by then the responses will come quickly to the tip of your tongue and you won’t get rattled out by your nerves.”

Maya White-Lurie, a senior english major, said she found the presentation useful because of a family member’s personal experience with police.

“A couple of years ago, my brother was pulled over by police officers,” White-Lurie said “He denied a search, as his right, but the officers searched anyway even though that was illegal. What they found eventually got thrown out but they pretty much tormented him for a couple months. It’s a shame that the people supposed to be protecting us can be the people who cause a lot of trouble for us.”

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