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Upholding your rights involving those who protect and serve

Most adults believe they know the difference between right and wrong. But when you are in a situation where someone has authority over you, you may not know what you are, or are not, allowed to do. This may be especially true regarding police involvement. Considering allegations of excessive force spread across social media and the news, you may not know whether you have the right to record your traffic stop or how you can protect yourself if things get out of hand.

In California, it is legal to record your interactions with on-duty law enforcement officers (LEOs), as long as doing so does not interfere with their job duties. Though you should be able to trust the police, you may choose to record your interactions. This is one way to protect yourself against possibilities of police misconduct, although new laws also continue working toward that goal.

Holding law enforcement officers accountable

As reports often show, police force can quickly become excessive during escalated situations. And firearm involvement often comes with a great deal of controversy. Many times, personal accounts portray one side of the story - one which some suggest police try to cover up. However, investigations of shootings involving a cop are now public. And beginning July 1, California's Assembly Bill 748 will require greater transparency of law enforcement officers through the release of dashcam or body camera videos involving a shooting.

Though some agencies do not support these changes, it may be possible that LEOs will respond with less force due to these new laws. And this greater transparency provided to the public may help ease some tensions related to social injustice.

In the meantime, it is good to remember you have rights - even while interacting with, or in the custody of, those who are in authority. Your ability to record those interactions may help lower your risks of getting hurt if a situation escalates. At the least, your videos could help you make a case against the police if they violate your rights while doing their job.

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Kirakosian Law APC
Historic Engine Co. No. 28
644 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Phone: 213-262-6729
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