The money shot of any good open carry police encounter video: the “show me your papers” moment. I love the confusion on the cops’ faces when an open carry advocate politely informs officers that American citizens don’t have to show ID unless the cops suspect that a crime’s been committed. What crime do you suspect me of committing officer? Am I being detained? Priceless. Until it gets boring. Personally . . .
I’d show them my ID. But then I view open carry as a desensitization process, rather than political point making. The cops see my ID, feel better and away I go (in theory), a polite non-nut case openly carrying a firearm in accordance with the law. The cop might even wave next time he sees me. (True story.) But again, I get the outrage at being detained for WWA (walking while armed).
On the flip side, cops should have to ID themselves every time they initiate contact with a citizen. “Hello, my name is officer Krupke and I’d like to find out what’s happening here. Do you mind stepping aside and talking to me for a moment?” OK, not every time. “Hello, my name is officer Krupke and I can see that you’re robbing this bank. Do you mind stepping outside and talking to me for a moment?”
In terms of police turning up at a man’s castle, no exceptions. I mean, what happened to ye olde KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. “Police! Open up!” Back in the day, giving the bad guy or guys a chance to come quietly was considered the right thing to do. At some point, no-knock raids became de rigeur. Because bad guys were flushing drugs down the toilet while the cops were preparing to enter.
No seriously. Despite the fact that cops learned to put a trap at the end of a drug dealer’s sewage system, no-knock raids continue to be justified as evidence destruction prevention. No-knock or not, we need a standard police identification protocol. Because people are letting fake cops into their house and suffering the consequences.
David Hay of Waltham says he was attacked at gun point on Saturday night inside his own apartment on Bedford Street in Waltham.
“The moment I pulled the latch back bang I ended up on the floor,” Hay told WBZ-TV.
The 49-year-old says the only reason why he opened the door is because the suspects told him they were FBI agents with a search warrant. When they got inside, one of the suspects hit David in the head with a gun.
David lived to ID the fake ID Fibbies. But he’s not the only one to be fooled by fake cops. Truth be told, the fake cop scam happens on a regular basis. Click here, here (as in the video above), here and here for examples. Which is why it’s a good idea not to open your door to a police officer until after you call 911 and verify that they are police personnel on police business.
[Commentator David P suggests giving the police operator a code word that the cop(s) at the door can use to verify their identity,.]
That said, if the cop’s dressed like a cop with all the cop accessories and there’s a cop car in sight and it’s not 3am and you’re not a CIA analyst or a drug dealer, OK, maybe you just ask to see their ID through your window or peep hole, ask what they want, step outside and have a chat.
[The previous version of this article said let ’em in. Wrong. Do not let a police officer into your house without a warrant. My bad.]
If you’re in a car being pulled over, always pull over at a well-lit public place. If you have doubts, put your hazard lights on, call 911, ask about the cop and keep driving – slowly – to a public place or to a police station. A real cop will not shoot out your tires. You hope. Anyway, here’s the gun part . . .
You are armed at all times, right? Even at home, correct? So if a cop comes knocking on your door, do you disarm before you open the portal? You do not. If you’re in your car wearing your gun, do you disarm before you stop? You do not. If a police officer glimpses a gun in your hand for any reason, if he sees a “furtive movement” (putting a gun into a glove box looks like taking one out), you’re gonna be in a heap of trouble.
Stay armed, my friend. Keep your distance. ‘Cause you never know.
If a bunch of fake cops come steaming in during a fake no-knock raid, chances are you’re f**ked anyway. It’s another good reason for judges to deny permission for no-knock raids: homeowners may mistake the good guys for bad guys. Or the bad guys for the good guys. Either way, you have been warned.