Beware of the police (important advice in New America)

Summary: Today’s post is a change of focus. Instead of discussing the evolution of the-America-that-once-was into New America (#NewAmerica), let’s talk about how to cope in it. What should you do when questioned by the police? You have identified yourself, and now the questions begin…

Clombo, played by Peter Falk
Real police are not like Detective Colombo.


  1. Don’t talk without an attorney present.
  2. Fear police interrogations
  3. We’ve vulnerable because we’re all criminals.
  4. Fear the security services.
  5. A historical note.
  6. For More Information.
  7. Hollywood teaches us to love the security services.


(1)  Don’t talk without an attorney present

The evolution of the-America-that-once-was into New America has changed almost every aspect of our society. But one aspect more than most. “Law enforcement” agencies have become the security services; less responsive to the public, serving shadowy masters, larger and better funded, more focused on political concerns than crime, far better armed, and more willing (even eager) to use force.

Here is some advice on dealing with them, a presentation by James Duane (professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney) explaining why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police in a criminal matter without your attorney present (transcript here):


Police Interrogations: the natural inclination is to talk
From SlideShare: How to defeat police interrogations.

(2) Fear police interrogations

One of the few things police procedural shows on TV get right: people do confess during interrogations. It’s another reason not to talk to police without an attorney. People’s confidence that their superior will and intelligence will defeat non-violent questioning by police often falls before the advantages of police: the power of training, experience, and techniques.

Especially the techniques. It seems unlikely but the Reid interrogation methods produce confessions. They also produce a high rate of false confessions. For more about the Reid method, see this report from Cornell, and this by the Innocence Project with evidence from the streets.

Another reason to fear police interrogations: they will decide your guilt using subtle body language. Countless police magazines and training courses teach these methods (e.g., here). Unfortunately, a massive body of research shows that none of these work reliably. To learn why see this mild but exhaustive article in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Often police will decide your guilt — stop the investigation and focus on nailing you — based on a coin toss.

Do not talk until you have an attorney, the best you can afford. If you must depend on public defenders, I recommend prayer (explanation here; see the Innocence Project for horror stories).

(3)  We’re vulnerable because we’re all criminals

CRS Rules Graph

If the police dig enough they have good odds of finding that you are a criminal, violating the countless laws and regulations — Federal, State, and local — that govern our lives. Many of these have draconian penalties (we love politicians who run as “tough on crime”). Here’s a look at the rate of new law and regulations from the Federal government: “Counting Regulations: An Overview of Rulemaking, Types of Federal Regulations, and Pages in the Federal Register“, Maeve P. Carey, Congressional Research Service, 1 May 2013. Excerpt:

… the number of final rules published each year is generally in the range of 2,500 – 4,500 … The Federal Register provides documentation of the government’s regulatory and other actions, and some scholars, commentators, and public officials have used the total number of Federal Register pages each year as a measure for the total amount of regulatory activity.

See these articles for more information about the million-regulation New America:

  1. Rough justice in America“, The Economist, 22 July 2010 — “Too many laws, too many prisoners. Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little”.
  2. One nation, under too many laws“, Philip K. Howard, Washington Post, 12 December 2010.
  3. Way Too Many Criminal Laws, Lawyers Tell Congress“, Blog of the Legal Times, 14 June 2013.

In The Federalist Papers #62 James Madison warned us about a government that has too many laws. Now his fears have come true.

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.

Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

Community policing in New America.

(4)  Fear the security services: well-armed & eager to use violence

It’s no longer inner city minorities that need fear violence from the security police.  During the past two decades they have become much better armed, and much more willing to use violence. These 3 books document this ugly trend in America.

  1. Radley Balko’s Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America (2006).
  2. John T. Whitehead’s A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State (2013).
  3. Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces (2014).

(5)  A historical note

A common rebuttal received when pointing to social trends is “such things are not new”. It’s a daft reply, but an effective means to minimize the cognitive dissonance of acknowledging unpleasant truths. Almost nothing is new in history. New America is a growth (perhaps cancerous) of traits deeply rooted in American history. Such as our law enforcement agencies’ long history of defending us from minor or even imaginary threats — and from reformers:

  1. union organizers,
  2. civil rights activists,
  3. peace movements,
  4. satanic cults,
  5. communists (even in the 1960s, when perhaps half of Party members wee FBI),
  6. fake child abuse “discovered” through recovered memories (which brought Janet Remo to fame & power),
  7. government-manufactured terrorist threats.

Danger: Police in Area

(6)  For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about police, especially these:

  1. How to Fund an American Police State (aka Weaponizing the Body Politic) — Militarizing the police.
  2. We are alone in the defense of the Republic.
  3. Look at the protests in Wisconsin to see how America has changed.
  4. Murder by police. If these incidents do not anger us, then what will?
  5. Why America has militarized its police and crushes protests.
  6. Police grow more powerful; the Republic slides another step into darkness. Can cellphone cameras save us?

(7)  Hollywood teaches us to love the security services

Too bad these stories are fairy tales.



15 thoughts on “Beware of the police (important advice in New America)”

  1. I guess your spell checker does not like the name Radley Balko, as he is credited three times, all by wrong name, in the above.

    He does marvellous work for civil liberties, so good that I have been following his blog for years before the move to HuffPost, even if I vehemently disagree with the rest of his libertarian ideology. On his writings on crime and law-enforcement we can agree.

    1. Thanks for flagging that! Fixed!

      Good point about spell checkers. As people like me (ie, bad spelling and proofing skills, writing under time pressure) become dependent on them, errors they do not catch (like names) become more likley to slip though.

    2. Agree completely about Mr. Balko! I’ve “enjoyed” (although it’s tough to enjoy writing by a guy who had “Radley’s Nut Punch Fridays” as an honorific due to his posts regarding police misconduct directed towards innocent dogs) his work for a long time!

  2. Your mention of “government-manufactured terrorist threats” seems particularly prescient, because essentially all of the so-called “terror plots” intercepted by the FBI have been entrapment situations confected by the FBI with materials supplied by the FBI to gullible marginal figures who are in many cases mentally deficient or mentally ill.

    See the Rolling Stone article “How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing ‘Terrorists’ – and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook” by RIck Perlsteinç15 May 2013.

    The “dirty bomber” Padilla offers a case in point. Padilla never had any radiological materials. He never assembled a bomb. All he did was talk. The charges against Padilla fell apart until the government finally backpedaled and charged with conspiracy, the catch-all charge that any prosecutor can get a conviction on. (Conspiring to commit an infraction is a felony. If two people conspire to jaywalk, the conspiracy charge is a felony — and conspiracy is the only charge in which hearsay evidence is permitted.)

    “Perhaps the most significant advantage of a prosecutor’s decision to charge several defendants with conspiracy is that he may invoke special procedural rules that apply only to conspiracy cases. The major prosecutorial advantages of conspiracy are that it enables the prosecution to join all the conspirators for trial and to use out-of-court statements of each conspirator against all the others.”

    Source: “Conspiracy – Procedural Rules,” online American law and legal reference library.

    Google “terror trial U.S. courts” and you’ll discover that almost all the American trials of terrorists have fallen apart. Charges get thrown out by judges, mistrials get declared, the government withdraws charges and suddenly decides to charge the defendant with new offenses when the government’s case collapses…the plain fact of the matter is that secret laws and secret trials with secret evidence and secret charges are necessary for the government’s terror prosuctions because in most cases these terror investigations are so badly botched, producing so little usable evidence which so often fails to support the basic claims made by government prosecutors that when these kinds of post-9/11 terror trials come into open civilian court, the charges are often thrown out or dismissed by the judges.

    What’s really disturbing is the way this kind of security-force entrapment is now percolating down to lower criminal levels. See, for example, “Undercover Cops Seduce High School Students and Entrap Them into Selling Weed.” A 25-year-old undercover police officer enrolls in high schools, gets an 18-year-old honors student to fall in love with her, then asks the student to get her marijuana — and arrests him when he gets it for her.

    How long before a commenter on this website suggests “we need radical change in America” and FM agrees, only to be arrested on a conspiracy charge because the commenter was a DHS agent…?

  3. Pingback: Why You Do Not Want to Volunteer Information To The Police # 1 - Exploring the News

  4. Fabius Maximus said…
    Thanks for flagging that! Fixed! Good point about spell checkers. As people like me (ie, bad spelling and proofing skills, writing under time pressure)

    “writing under time pressure”

    Why the time pressure? I follow blogs that post one essay a week. Sometimes the post is worthy of a week’s discussion, sometimes not. Most of your topics are worthy of at least a few days discussion, especially considering the links you provide with each post. Why such a pace? I find this very frustrating.

  5. “I can’t begin to keep up with the rate of things that need to be said. I have several feet of folders filled with posts I started but have never gotten around to writing. Why do you find this frustrating?”

    And the information and knowledge you provide is rich, worthy of in-depth, focused, and leisurely discussion. If you were to draw on one file(the same topic) and focus on it for a least a few days or even a week (that’s still 52 topics) we (the commenters) might help you do it the justice it deserves.

    You’ve creative a remarkable assemblage of knowledge, more than enough to create a neo Federalist Papers. The term “thought provoking” comes to mind and many times it feels to me like I’m eating gourmet food at a fastfood pace.

    What I’m suggesting is a next stage towards your admiral goal of reform. Maybe this would require a separate and different format where some kind of sorting, prioritizing and in depth discussion could make it more actionable? You’ve been at this for a while, and I haven’t looked through the history of your posts in great depth, but when I do, I find that you’ve already covered important things that I was meaning to bring up(G. William Domhoff (politics), Daniel Lazare and Lewis Lapham(on the Constitution).

    So in my view, you’ve already got great depth of information on the vital topics of our time. This rant is perhaps presumptuous, and the frustration about the pace you set comes from the fact that your blog is so damn good and the hope that it could flower into something more.

    1. Gloucon,

      I would appreciate suggestions.

      The audience here is not trivial 60 to 100 thousand page views per month) but despite my efforts is not growing. Which means readers are not circulating it. Few back links from other websites, mentions via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

      Until I figure out why I do not believe there is much point in taking the show on the road.

  6. Stephen Douglas

    “people do confess during interrogations. It’s another reason not to talk to police without an attorney. (Oddly, Professor Duane doesn’t mention it)”

    Actually, there are two parts to Professor Duane’s presentation. The 2nd half features his friend, a police detective. Who talks extensively about not talking to the police during interrogations….or any time else).

  7. Pingback: Reforms are coming to America’s police, either with them or over them. Which? | Occupy The Bronx

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