|The police officer with his dangerous "perps" all lined up.|
I asked the boys why he stopped them, and they told me that the cop was telling them that they couldn't fish where they had been fishing because it was too dangerous. The place where they were fishing is a popular place for children in our neighborhood. It is just a drainage ditch that collects water from several neighborhoods before it drains to Clear Creek. There is usually a few feet of water trapped in the ditch, and local boys catch perch and catfish there.
|The footing around the ditch can be dangerous. It's a pretty steep climb down to the ledge, and fairly long fall if someone falls in. But whether it's too dangerous to fish is up to the boys and their parents, not a police officer.|
While I agree that it can be a dangerous place to fish, the police officer was lying when he told them they couldn't fish there. Remember that not only is it legal for police to lie to you, but they are also trained to lie. The ditch is public property, and there is no city ordinance that prohibits fishing there. The police officer's intentions may have been good. He may have actually been concerned about the boys safety. But there is no need to lie to anyone about it. Isn't it strange that instead of the cop just expressing his concern for their safety and maybe telling the boys that he didn't think it was a good idea for them to fish at the ditch, that he instead chose to lie? It's a good reminder to us that police are not our friends, are not upright people, and are not to be trusted.
The good news is that I was able to talk to the boys about how to handle interactions with police, and share with them some of their rights. One boy in particular was very surprised to find out that he didn't have to answer any questions the police ask.
As a refresher for you, remember that you shouldn't give permission for the police to search you or look at anything you are carrying. Simply tell them, "Sir, I don't consent (or give permission) for any searches. You don't have to answer any questions. And pull out your cell phone, flip it sideways, and record everything that happens.
Check out these short podcasts for more advice on how to handle interactions with the police.
Cop blocking and police intimidation
You have the right to film police
How to deal with police