How should you respond when stopped by the police for doing nothing illegal? How should you respond when asked to do things that sound “reasonable” but are actually “unreasonable” by 4th Amendment standards?
An unnamed Portland, Maine student demonstrates the advantage of knowing your constitutional rights. In an exchange recorded on video, a Portland police officer attempted to question a student carrying a pistol. Since Maine is an open carry state, and since the man was not threatening anyone or waving the gun around menacingly, he was doing nothing wrong. This is verifiably clear since he repeatedly asks the questioning police officer if he has done anything wrong, or if is he suspected of a crime. They answer given was always “no.”
Notice he also refuses to give his name. This is also a smart thing to do. Each police encounter is written down as soon the event ends. Had the young man given his name, it would have become part of the “incident report.” This, in turn, could be used to build a case against him in the event he was ever suspected of anything in the future. (See this post for how the police use this kind of information.)
The student has obviously prepared for a situation just like this as he notes that being detained without suspicion of any criminal activity violates Delaware v Prouse, and that stopping someone over a legally carried firearm violates US v DeBerry. The young man also explains that seizure of his weapon with no reasonable suspicion is a violation of Terry v Ohio, and demanding ID without reasonable suspicion is a violation of Brown v Texas.
It is a shame that is has come to this, but come to this it has.