KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHILE PROTESTING
Right to Free Speech…
- You have a first amendment right to peacefully assemble and petition the government.
- You can engage in free speech activity in any public forum (sidewalks, parks, etc.).
- You have the right to hand out flyers on public sidewalks so long as you are not blocking private entrances to buildings.
If Stopped by Police…
- Remain calm.
- Do not run.
- Explain that you are expressing your 1st amendment right to free speech.
- Ask if you are free to leave.
If Under Arrest…
- Do not resist.
- Explain that you first, wish to invoke your right to counsel and second, that you wish to remain silent.
- Do not speak to police or sign any documents without the presence of a lawyer.
Right to Consent Being Searched…
- You have the right to refuse consent to a search of your personal belongings.
- Police can pat you down if they suspect you have a weapon or if you have been arrested.
- You do not have to consent to any further searches.
Right to Photograph & Record…
- You have the right to photograph anything in plain view in a public space.
- You have the right to take note of an officer’s badge number, patrol car information, or police unit if you feel your rights have been violated.
- Police cannot legally demand to see your photos or videos without a warrant.
Right to an Adequate Time to Disperse…
- Police may give a dispersal order if there is a clear and present danger.
- Officers must give a reasonable time and unobstructed path.
- This order must be clear and detailed, including how much time individuals have to disperse, and an explanation of the consequences for failure to disperse.
REPORT ANY COMPLAINTS OF VIOLATION OF RIGHTS TO THE POLICE AGENCY’S INTERNAL AFFAIRS DIVISION OR CIVILIAN COMPLAINT BOARD.
DC LEGAL ASSISTANCE HOTLINE FOR PROTESTERS:
This material is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice pursuant to any particular issue or problem.