How Not To Get Shot By The Police

Chris Rock is an incredibly talented writer, producer, and actor. While many kids primarily know him as the voice of Marty in the movie Madagascar and its various spin-offs, those of us who are a bit older may know him as a talented comedian.

A number of years, ago, Rock filmed a fake PSA for his television show, entitled, “How not to get your a** kicked by the police.”

It may not be safe for viewing at work due to language.

Like any good comedy bit, Rock’s video is funny because it draws from larger truths.

In this video, Rock alludes to the fact that some people in the minority community—usually young males—have a very antagonistic stance towards law enforcement, and so Rock offers some very important tips in descending order of importance on how not to escalate an encounter with police to the point force may be applied by the officers.

  • Obey the law
  • Use common sense
  • Stop immediately
  • Turn off loud music
  • Be polite
  • Tell your crazy friend to shut up
  • Get a white friend to ride with you
  • Don’t ride with a mad woman

While it’s easy to blow off the last few suggestions as comedic filler, the first five suggestions will almost always ensure that your interactions with law enforcement go smoothly.

There are, again:

  • Obey the law
  • Use common sense
  • Stop immediately
  • Turn off loud music
  • Be polite

These tips work, as Mr. Rock himself has applied them successfully in three traffic stops this year without getting his butt kicked.

Sadly, all too often people who have a chip on their shoulders against the police go full potato and act out in irrational ways over what should have been a mundane and trivial interaction.

Unfortunately, there are people in this world who have either not seen this video, or who lack the ability to extrapolate from Rocks’ traffic stop example to other kinds of law enforcement interactions.

The high-profile alleged murder of Walter Scott in North Charleston, SC appears to be a perfect example of a situation needlessly escalating. Scott was pulled over by a police officer for a taillight that wasn’t working, and yet he somehow ended up in a fight with an officer, stripped the officer of his taser, and was subsequently shot and killed (apparently unlawfully) as he attempted to flee after fighting the officer.

As our own public service announcement, we’re here to offer up some even more specific tips to avoid even more severe consequences than a beat-down.

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How Not To Get Shot By Police.

As Mr. Rock notes, obey the law, use common sense, stop immediately, be polite.

If you obey the law, refraining from carjacking, robbery, assault, murder, brandishing a weapon, driving while drunk or high, etc., then the chances of you having an encounter with police of any kind is relatively low.

While there are the occasional shootings of completely law-abiding citizens by police (John Crawford III’s killing), such killings of innocents is blessedly rare. If you comply with the law, you are not likely to put yourself in a situation to draw the attention of men with radios and guns, who will use their radios to call more men with radios and guns.

It’s a pretty simple concept.

Keep your hands where the officer(s) can see them.

When an officer is addressing someone, they want to see that person’s hands at all times, because very few people have learned to use deadly force weapons with their feet.

Numerous justified shootings (and some not so easily justified) have occurred because officers thought that someone might be reaching for a weapon. If your goal is to not get shot, keep your hands where an officer can see them.

If the officer tells you that he needs you to access something, such as your ID, tell the officer where you need to reach, make sure he understands what you are about to do, and then do it slowly, so that the officer doesn’t misconstrue your intentions.

Such an interaction might go something like this.

OFFICER: Sir, I need to see your ID.

RIGHT RESPONSE: Officer, my wallet is in my right rear pocket. May I get my ID? *man slowly reaches into his right rear pocket, slowly withdraws the wallet, shows the wallet to the officer, and withdraws the ID from the wallet in a calm manner.*

WRONG RESPONSES: Quickly turning away, reaching suddenly, advancing upon the officer, intentionally concealing your hands, making any move that can be misconstrued as an attempt to acquire a weapon.

Comply with the officer’s commands.

While it will chap the always tender butts of some libertarians who want to argue “lawful” vs. “unlawful” police commands, the time for such arguments is with your lawyer, in front of the judge, in a courtroom. This is not an argument to make when law enforcement officers are attempting to ascertain whether you are a threat to the officers themselves and the general public.

Don’t grab a weapon, Don’t act aggressively, and don’t flee.

You would think this corollary to “Obey the law,” “Show your hands,” and “Comply with the officer’s commands” would be something of a no-brainer, but we’ve seen people violate this time and again.

Are you sensing a theme here?

If you act like a sane and rational human being, odds are that an officer will never even draw a firearm on you, much less you shoot you.

Don’t be an idiot, and live.