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Biker and Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog

What do you do with your hands if you are stopped by the Police!

what to do if you are stopped by the police. **** 5/16/10 Update: Officer found guilty in shooting of sitting biker, see below for link.

**** 5/12/10 Update: See Video of shooting victim testifying in Court below.

When you are stopped by the Police in your car, on your motorcycle, or other motor vehicle, it is usually because the police think you have done something wrong.

It is very important that you keep your hands visible to the police officers for various reasons, the most important of which is so that you do not get shot or tasered.

Here is a link to some very disturbing video of a man being shot by the police while sitting on his motorcycle; click here to see video and story. The police officer is facing felony charges. The man who was shot is paralyzed as a result.

YouTube Preview Image

The police officers defense attorney is arguing that the police thought that this man had a gun. Judging by the video, it looks like a cold blooded shooting that was unjustified, however if you put yourself in the officers shoes, how did he know for sure that the biker did not have a gun when he turned toward him? If you were a cop, what would you do under similar circumstances?

I for one, sure the hell do not want to be the victim of a shooting such as this; who does?

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your encounters with law enforcement are safer for you and for law enforcement.

If you are in a car or other enclosed vehicle, turn off you ignition, place your car keys on the dash board, and keep your hands on the steering wheel. If the officer asks for your license and registration, ask the officer if it is ok to remove your hands from the wheel, and tell him where you are going to reach to get the information he or she is requesting. Once you get the information, put your hands back on the steering wheel until allowed to leave by the officer.

If you on a motorcycle, turn off the motorcycle, put you hands on the handlebars, and wait for the officer to approach. Do not remove your hands from the handlebars until the officer asks for your license and registration, at which time ask for permission to remove your hands from the handlebars, and inform the officer where you will be reaching.

In either case, do not exit your vehicle unless asked to do so, and do not get off of your motorcycle unless asked to do so.

I know many of you are thinking that having to do this is plain wrong. The purpose of the above exercise is not being right or wrong; it is to protect your life by assuring the police that you are not a threat.

I am not sure if this above procedure would have prevented the shooting of the guy on the motorcycle in the video, only god knows.

Officer found guilty for shooting, click here for story.

By Biker Lawyer and California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2010

6 Responses to What do you do with your hands if you are stopped by the Police!

  1. Wow that sucks, but if I was the cop I might have shot. The biker’s right hand was exactly where I wear a concealed .45 is the thing. So dig it from the cop’s angle: bikes take off fast, one stops, biker has a hand where a concealed pistol could easily be.

    If you carry a pistol, as I do, then in addition to keeping your hands in plain sight you should also let the cop know you’re armed and ask him/her how they want to proceed. Literally say “officer I got a cocked and locked 1911 45 on my right hip so let me know what you want me to do for your safety”. The cop has to know the scene is safe. I already know it, so I want to help the cop get where I am. Plus here in AZ a good firearm might help a dude the way a good rack might help a chick 😉

    Anyway yeah I think if the biker had both hands clearly visible – like on the handlebars – then the cop most probably would not have taken the shot.

    Damn that sucks.

  2. What an awful thing to happen to someone. I think a lot of this has to do with the times we now live in!! Police Officers feel threatened. You are correct in your advise to keep your hands at all times where the policeman can see them. My Father was a Kentucky State Police for over 30 years. Dad told me this advise back when I was 16 and got my drivers license. Your points should be taught in Driver’s Education Classes across our great country….it could save somebodies life!!

  3. Paralyzed biker testified they didn’t even know a cop was behind them until they heard a siren. They were not “running” from the cop.

    Any biker knows you can’t hear anything but wind and exhaust, but cops love to sneak up behind without the mandatory siren, then testilie the “suspects ran” and required a “high speed chase” (race).

    My last ticket the fed cop never used a siren to “chase” me at 45 mph, and I drove for 30 seconds before I saw him in my mirror. I testified I never run since “police state deat hsquads like to kill bikers”. Magistrate and prosecutor went nuts when I said that. Pro se case now going to 6th Circuit appeals.

  4. Bullshit! I am not just a biker, but a retired cop as well. I can see plainly even in the grainy video that no weapon is in hand and the arm is not coming up as if to fire. Period. The officer clearly drew his weapon and had his finger on the trigger before he determined that firing was even needed. It’s called sympathetic response. He pulled the trigger by accident because of the tension of the moment. This is why you are taught not to put that finger in the trigger until the decision is absolute.

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The Biker Law Blog is published by California Motorcycle Accident Attorney & Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.

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