Know Your Rights: The power of public records when dealing with law enforcement
Knowing your rights can empower you to challenge police misconduct toward you and those around you. What can you do if your friend is arrested at a protest, a cop confiscates your camera, or an officer asks for your immigration papers?
Using policies collected from Boston, Somerville and Cambridge police departments, we will create a pocket-sized guide to inform people not only of their rights during a police encounter, but the corresponding public records that are created. These cards are meant to be accessible in stressful situations - they will fit in your pocket or wallet, and, as opposed to a digital platform, will not require you to pull up a screen.
Under Massachusetts Public Records law, anyone can access public documents from federal agencies - this includes the police. We encourage you to file for records presented on the cards, as well as develop your own requests when you witness questionable police actions! Take charge and use these cards to educate yourself and ensure your public servants are held responsible for their actions.
If you want greater autonomy when dealing with law enforcement know that crucial information is at your fingertips. Your engagement can help better balance the power structure between you and law enforcement.