If you're planning on exercising your right to engage in peaceful protest, you should know that it might not stay peaceful. If things get out of hand, the police may be called in to restore order. If that happens, there's a good chance you'll end up behind bars. This is particularly true if violence erupts during the protest. You need to be prepared. There are some things that will help you out if things turn ugly. Here are three things you shouldn't do if the police are called.
If you're involved in a peaceful protest that has turned violent, the last thing you should do is stay. Leave the location as soon as possible. This will ensure that you're not present when police arrive. If you do happen to be leaving the area when law enforcement arrives, don't run. Instead, continue walking away from the scene. If you run, police officers may assume that you have a reason to run and apprehend you. If it becomes too dangerous for you to walk away slowly, find a clear path and move to a safe location. If a police officer approaches you, let them know that you're trying to avoid injury.
Once law enforcement arrives on the scene, they're going to assess the situation. They'll be looking for protestors who are working to agitate the crowd. Those will be the people they go after first. It's crucial that you don't do anything to incite violence during the protest. Maintain composure and remember that while you do have the right to peacefully protest, you don't have the right to cause property damage or cause injury to others.
Antagonize Law Enforcement
If you're around a group of protestors who are antagonizing law enforcement officials, you need to move away from them, especially if it looks like things could escalate into violence. If a police officer approaches you while you're leaving the area, remain calm and inform them that you're peacefully protesting and continue moving away from the area. It's important to note that if the police officer asks you to stop, you should do so immediately. Failure to do so could escalate the situation and increase the chances of you being placed under arrest.
If you've decided to exercise your right to peaceful protest, make sure you're prepared. The tips here can help you avoid arrest if things get out of control. If you do happen to get arrested, be sure you contact a criminal defense attorney (such as one from Alejandro Rivera PA - A Law Firm) as soon as possible.
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