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My successful interaction with police!

Legal disclaimer: none of this story is intended to be considered legal advice. This is simply a true story with my connected opinions. If you need legal advice you need to consult with a licensed attorney.

Sometime around 2:00-2:30 am, I arrived via cab from the bars in Denver to the apartment complex where my car was parked. My intention was to go to sleep. However, after a night of drinking, getting rides from downtown gets hectic. So, naturally, the keys to the apartment caught a different ride home. No big deal, I'm in contact with the keys, and am informed of their arrival shortly after a drunken breakfast at Great Scotts, all parties had a sober ride. I regretted not thinking of the same thing, and regretted that I was not enjoying the deliciousness of drunken breakfast, but whatever, it's just a little time to kill, not a big deal.

Knowing that it's not exactly warm, but just a bit chilly, I decide to go for a walk around an Albertsons adjacent to the apartment complex to kill time and warm up a bit. This might be considered loitering, but loitering I find is not illegal in this situation. As I made my return to the apartment complex, I entered through a rising entryway into the parking lot. That's when I saw headlights in my path through the parking lot...

As I approached, a spotlight on the drivers side mirror was turned on and shined directly on me. I thought, "must be the cops, I wonder what he's so excited about all of the sudden." The car made a B-line in my direction and abruptly stopped about 30-40 feet in front of me. At this point I could identify the police label. The driver immediately exited the vehicle and it was at this point I realized without doubt this police officer had his attentions and actions directed toward me. My hypothalamus nearly induced a fight or flight response, but immediately, my higher consciousness suppressed any chance of panic, knowing panic would be detrimental to the situation. My body language remained unchanged. My walking pace was unchanged, my projected path adjusted off-line of the officer with a close approach. You cannot show fear, a police officer is trained to play off of fear. It's strengthens his approach. I was also wearing a hoodie. He then asked a basic social introduction somewhat sternly, "How's it going?" This is the start of his pitch. A response to that question may be incriminating, so I simply responded with a glance and a smile and said, "Hey!" At this point I was approaching the closest point to the officer. He then asked sternly, "What are you doing?" I slowed down my pace at this point to respond to his question. In an apologetic tone, I brushed my shoulders and held out my hands to the side and said, "Ahh, you know, I'd just prefer to not answer questions." His response was immediate and in a very automatic way as if it was a trained response in agreement, "yeah, that's fine." This is known as an objection handle. Salesmen will attempt to agree completely with an objection only to move on and completely ignore it to get you talking. At this point I gained complete control of the conversation. On my first chess move I've guaranteed checkmate. On my next move I said, "thanks man". That was equivalent to saying checkmate. It's very important that we've both verbally come to an agreement to end the conversation, weather he realizes it yet or not. Once words are verbalized, people want to hold true to it, and they are much less likely to backtrack. And I continued on my way at normal pace. I thought "is it really gonna be that easy?" Reverting back to his training he followed up the objection handle with another question, "Where are you going?" At this point he showed me his cards. He showed me he did not have reasonable suspicion, if he did he would have told me to stop, not ask another question. And I also saw that I had played his pitch like a fiddle. So I turned as I continued walking and said, "ahh, again, I'd just prefer to not answer questions." He then realized how ridiculous his last question was after agreeing with my first statement. As I walked away I heard silence. Followed by him getting in his car and driving off. I may have nodded or waved as he drove passed.

I like to think he watched me as I walked away, scratched his head, got back in his car, and thought, "what the hell just happened?" Maybe he then learned the ridiculousness of his approach. I continued to loiter around the complex in my hoodie undisturbed until the keys arrived and I went to sleep. The entire event was over in less than 20 secs. And most of that was due to walking distance.

I realized later as I analyzed every little bit of the interaction what really took place. Because in this verbal, legal chess game, only spoken word counts toward the rules. Many times the true communication is not represented. Based on his approach, any reasonable person would interpret that as, come here and play me in legal chess until I tell you you can leave. My unchanged demeanor was critical, it was equivalent to saying, "I'll play you, I'd rather not, but if I beat you, I don't answer your questions, you get back in your car, and leave me alone." Now certainly it was more pleasant than that, and it was communicated differently, but that was the real communication. A guilty person does not walk fearlessly toward an approaching officer. This was done to comfort any suspicions he had. With my first 3 sentences I was able to speak a friendly social introduction, and then come to a confirmed verbal agreement to end the conversation. The interaction was over, but he didn't quite see it yet. When he asked me "where are you going?" That was equivalent to a checkmated person saying, "wait it's not checkmate, I can still move here." My reiteration of my truthful statement was equivalent to saying while walking away, "no you can't, check out my bishop across the board." His silence after that was him realizing I was absolutely correct. He was a good sport, the interaction was an incredible experiment with desired results. Much knowledge was gained. Contingency plans revised. My preparation will be even better for next time, god forbid. Protecting your rights should not take this much studying. But if we can learn ways to do this successfully, respectfully, and pleasantly, everyone will learn. I did not go on to commit a crime, so hopefully the good officer associates this behavior with peace. His approach violated social norms, but that's not a violation of the non-aggression principle, and it's not a reason to be rude when it is completely unnecessary. My desired goal is to be on my way, not to prove a point, not to tell him I know the law, not to cause problems. I simply would like to bring the interaction within the bounds of social norms, say hi, and be on my way. He didn't even have a chance to be mean, it would have been too socially awkward for him to pursue questions.

These events took place over this passed weekend. I've reviewed the relevant codes of the city and of Colorado with respect to loitering. I've come to the conclusion that my actions were not subject to arrest and did not violate any statute or ordinance. But colorado law appears to allow the police to seize a person without charge and submit them to a medical facility if the officer decides it's necessary. He can do this unreviewed, and non-statutory decision that you are too intoxicated in public. He should not charge you with a crime for this, unless you are under 21, but he can imprison you without charge and send you to detox against your will if he wants to. This is ridiculously not considered "arrest" to the state. That is why it is of utmost importance to minimize the interaction. Loitering apples to minors and near schools, so those laws did not apply. Therefore there was no reason for any detention of my freedom. This was respected, though much preparation was put into it to on my part to make this likely. Every act, every word, body language, voice tone, and state of mind was pre-planned on my part to ensure a pleasant way of leaving with minimal delay, angst, or any unpleasantness for both the officer and me. The officer is a stranger. I do not view him as an agent of the state, but simply another human being. As such, he or she deserves the common decency and pleasantness I afford to any other stranger. They may not reciprocate, but if I want to take control the conversation, this is a critical part of the interaction. Things will escalate if I am mean. If they are being mean, I ignore it and respond in a comforting way; in a way that assures them I am as concerned about the situation as they are. I act as if I want to be helpful, and trust I have the tools to prevent an infringement upon my rights. Police officers, like salesmen, are trained to keep me talking to them as long as possible. They have prepared "pitches" to do this. They're actions, phrases, are all pre-planned and conform to a set of rules. These rules of the game apply ONLY to the verbal words spoken. The rules do not apply to body language or non-verbal factors like aggression or intimidation unless those actions are verbalized, spoken or addressed out loud. I must know the rules to have any chance of success. This is a legal and verbal chess game. If I don't know the rules, just like in chess, I WILL lose

So in conclusion, it was fucking awesome!!!

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Love it, love it! I have also tried another approach

which I don't necessarily recommend but because I had expired out of state tags and inspection, I had to pull a George Costanza and just do the opposite of my normal inclinations.
I'm putting up open house signs and heading back to my car as the cop pulls up. Inside I'm panicking but as he gets out, I immediately ask him if it's ok that I put my sign by the access road. Already because I got the first question in, I could tell he was a bit off his game. So along with staying on the 'offensive', I get him to warm up to me since my actions are legal/harmless and I'm thinking he will leave when he asks for my ID. In about 1/10 of a second, I determine he still may have legal cause to get it so without hesitation, I say sure and hand it over.
He then looks at it and since I had on the license another address much further away, he asks if I have moved and I quickly said yes and then of course he asks when was that. Again because I don't want to hesitate with my replies, I say 30 days ago having to quickly think that is the maximum amount of time you can go without having to update.
Why did I say that??? I should have said something like 3 weeks ago. I mean who says that they did anything 30 days ago?? Also, I'm selling a house just blocks away but my license shows an address many miles away and I have an out of state license plate. BUT instead of more detailed questions about any of that, he just hands my license back and says "have a good day".
Possibly his last few questions were just going thru the cop routine to see if I continued to act 'normal'.

Hire this man!!!

Yeah, there are big differences in approach as well. Depending on weather or not you know there is reasonable suspicion.

I like your approach since you knew about the expired tags. It sounds like you did well with your actions. You weren't concerned with the answers, but with easing the officer. I wouldn't recommend that either though since technically you were lying when you said "30 days" (I assume). Not the best situation to be in, especially if the officer finds out.

I continue to be amazed when I think back on this. My response was so perfect, "I'd prefer not to answer questions." Spoken in an apologetic tone. 100% truthful! And zero possibility to confuse my intentions. I didn't say "I'd prefer not to answer YOUR questions" too confrontational. I didn't say, "I'm NOT going to answer questions." So I could leave his mind open that he still has a chance to sucker me into answering. His training guarantees an automatic response of agreement in order to avoid lawsuits. And that's the best part of how it worked. It used his training against him. I don't even think I understood the genius behind it at the time, I was just trying to not die. But I walk places a lot, so I had prepared for the possibility, and my response was scripted. I just had no idea where it would go after that.

If he had at any point told me to stop, I would've played one more acting phrase to the effect of, "Hey man, I'm not trying to cause trouble, I'm just trying to get on my way, is that okay, am I free to go?" Again spoken apologetically. If he had continued to detain me, my demeanor would switch immediately from an ignorant person trying to not be bothered into professional actions of establishing my rights. If I was still stopped, I would tell him, "That's okay officer, it is my understanding that this is a Terry Stop. I don't know what has cause you to suspect me of something, but if you'd like to pat me down for weapons go ahead, but I do not consent to any searches and I would like my attorney present before I answer any questions. But since my freedom of travel has been suspended, I would like to be informed of the reason that I am not free to go." I'd also probably give ID at that point. I would then just shut up, or speak very carefully as to not talk about anything related to me. This ensures zero possibility of me unknowingly giving any evidence to him. If I still get arrested, well, then I guess he had probable cause before he spoke to me, and I didn't stand a chance no matter what I did, but at least I didn't say anything about where I was coming from, what I was doing, or where I was going. The officer would have gained zero information from me other than I appear to be a respectful person who is very well informed of the law. And any charges against me would have to be proved with evidence gained before the interaction.

I don't really like the question, "am I being detained." It's confrontational, and you get the answer to that question based on their response to "am I free to go."

Here's to psychological judo against cops!! *cheers a beer*

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."