This is a collection of responses to people who reached out to me with questions when I was at CopBlock.org as contributor and editor.
Sorry, I Cannot Help You & Neither Can Anyone Else – Abolish the Police
A response to all of the victims of the police state who reach out to us as counsel and advisers.
Many of the submissions we get, as well as a great number of the guest posts to our Facebook Page, are attempts by folks to get assistance in their police and legal entanglements. Although we wish we could help, there are many reasons we cannot. First and foremost is that we are writers and direct action activists, not lawyers or advocates. It is not within our skill set, nor within our power.
Today a reader shared the following plea with us…
I need help,
I live in Polk County , Florida.
Two of my sons were attacked on August 28th by a group of teenagers. Reports were made however the attacks continue.
On September 12 I was arrested for False Imprisonment for detaining 2 of the attackers for throwing rocks and threatening to kill my sons.
The cops wouldn’t look at the reports against the attackers or even list to my sons about being attacked again on September 12th.
The cops got security footage from a local store without a warrant .
Im not able to get a lawyer because I had to bond out of jail.
Please can anyone help me or tell me how to fight this.
You cannot fight this. The state and police monopoly on force is an impediment to actual justice. Until we abolish police, this is how it will be. This is why I fight so hard to do so. I am sorry this is happening to you.
That is really all there is to it. I have already explained it numerous times. Police are incompetent at their jobs. They are not motivated to solve actual crimes. And only with the frequency of a double lightning strike do they ever just happen to be there when you need them, and then to actually provide assistance instead of making things worse.
And it is not just that they cannot and will not do their jobs – protecting, investigating, securing, etc. – they will arrest you for doing it yourself. You are not free.
There is no fixing this. This is the system serving itself perfectly. You are nothing to it. You are its nutrient and excrement. Accountability is futile. Reform is a lie. There is only one solution…
I know, you still think that is too extreme. You want to pander to the politics and fears of the average person. Average people with their average thinking are why this is still happening. Ignore them and forge ahead. Or just continue doing the things you are doing that are not working at all. When the police state has you cornered, though, don’t forget that I told you so.
Ask A Cop Blocker: Can Police Stop You for Nothing While Walking Down the Street?
From time to time we receive legal questions in our submissions folder. While we are not lawyers, nor should we be considered legal experts by any means, sometimes we do have the answer.
In a submission titled “my boyfriend was pulled over for walking” a reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, writes:
“My boyfriend went to the corner store and was stopped and questioned by a cop on what he was doing. he wasn’t doing anything wrong. is this lawful?”
If the officer has reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, as well as reasonable suspicion that an individual could have been involved, then the officer may stop them to question them about the suspected crime.
For example- a car break-in was reported a few blocks away and your boyfriend roughly fits the description of the person who committed it. In this case, the officer may choose to question your boyfriend to determine if they are being detained under suspicion of that incident. The questions must pertain to an investigation of that crime.
Your boyfriend could refuse to answer questions. In this case he will probably be detained and given a chance to spend the night in jail and arrange for a lawyer before answering questions.
However, even after answering questions, police could still decide he was a suspect and detain him.
As always, the best policy is honesty.
Now lets say there was no reasonable suspicion of criminality under which the officer began his questioning.
When confronted your boyfriend should ask if he is suspected of a specific crime, what it is and if he is being detained. If the officer cannot specifically provide a crime or the reason they suspect your boyfriend, then they cannot detain him and he is free to go.
But just because that is how things are supposed to be doesn’t mean that is always the way they are. Some unscrupulous officers will then pull a crime out of thin air, like ‘Resisting Arrest’. They could become deceitful and/or violent, and put your boyfriends freedom, liberties and life in danger. And chances are they will get away with it if they do.
There is no magic ‘get out of police interactions free card‘ because police do not play by the rules, or are able to bend them in order to do vengeful policing. It happens all of the time.
Ask A Cop Blocker: Volume One
I am a Cop Block Network contributor, activist, educator, philosopher and artist. I am by no means a legal expert. But often I am asked questions, so I have created Ask A Cop Blockeras a way to answer as many of our reader inquiries as I can.
Recently Cop Block has been making some big changes. As a part of that we are making greater efforts to interact with our readers. So recently I have been posting the following message to our Facebook page in order to help provide information and show that we care about what is on your mind:
Do you have a genuine question that you would like to ask a Cop Block Network contributor?
Message me at the Joshua Scott Hotchkin page and submit your questions and who, if not me, you would like to have answer it.
I will field all legitimate questions and post them along with the answers on this page within a weekday or two of receiving your question.
Trolls and agitators will be dismissed out of hand.
The following are the questions and responses from the most recent Ask A Cop Blocker interactions.
‘Bob Villa’ asks:
How do you measure progress for Cop Block and is progress being made?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin answers:
I can only answer this personally, since each of us might have a slightly different answer.
My goal is to abolish police and replace them with specific services required in a given community according to their needs. I think people should have a choice about what services they pay for, as well, so the counseling, arbitration, security and other services withing a community should never be compulsory.
The only way to reach this goal is to get enough people to see that what we have does not, and can not, work. And that there are more innovative and creative ways to deal with the issues police exist to address.
So I measure progress by the every single person who absorbs and helps to spread this message. And while it may be slow going and not always appear evident, people are beginning to see this.
In that way I think that progress is being made. Ideas spread exponentially so the change in public thinking can change quickly.
I have no timetable, nor expectations, for when the critical mass that induces change will occur. But I am hopeful that policing as it now exists could be abolished in my lifetime.
Sofia Jane Lugo asks:
Since you asked, I have a question for Cop Block: As a transgender woman, what should I do if i’m stopped and questioned? Should I assert my gender identity or choose my battles and let it go if they misgender me?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin answers:
Your legal gender is the one on your birth certificate, and that is all police will recognize.
That being said, I think legal gender is itself an irrational and oppressive function. Objective measurements of fluid humans is part of the zealous materialism of our times.
***** http://advancedape.com/trans-and-materialist-dualism/ *****
***** http://advancedape.com/objectivity-not-objectively-exist/ *****
If asserting your identity is more important than staying out of jail, then that is what you should do. It depends on what you personally value. But make no mistake, doing so will land you in some hot water. I don’t like that, either. To be controlled we must be easily labeled. Nobody can be free to be themselves so long as the authority to control exists.
Abolish police and the state!
James Osborn asks:
Hi I saw your post, and have a few questions if you can help me. So, is it legal to record cops in Houston, Texas? If so, what should I do if they break my phone or take it?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin answers:
It is legal to record cops in public doing their duties in all fifty states, which has been supported at every level of the US court system. You must make it clear you are recording them, I suggest even telling them – “For my safety and accountability I am recording this interaction, which is a right that has been protected by the US Federal Courts.” You must also maintain a reasonably safe distance and not interfere with their duties in the course of recording them.
I would suggest that you speak to the chief of police, and calmly and rationally explain that your activities were legal and that her/his officers were acting against the law by taking your phone, and that you would be willing to overlook that criminal action if your phone is returned to you safe and intact immediately.
If that fails, you are going to need a lawyer. Sorry, I know that is impossible for most of the people cops mess with, but the system is not for your benefit, it is for theirs. This is why we must #AbolishThePolice
In the meantime, download Cell 411 and livestream your interactions so that…
a) The video will be uploaded safely, so that even if they take your phone you will still have documentation of the event on that services servers.
b) If you explain that the video is live and will be uploaded to a secure server, then they won’t have a reason to take your phone to begin with.
Good luck, stay safe and keep on filming the police!
Robyn B. Holmes asks:
Why doesn’t Cop Block follow up on all the stories? I think it would balance out a lot of things, at the same time as providing a high degree of credibility for these stories.
Many of the people written about I’m sure have had their lives changed. How many continue to be targeted by police?
How many fall off the map?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin answers:
Until I joined the CopBlock Network as a contributor, I had no idea how things happened. It is hard to remember, but I imagined this highly organized setting with tons of communication, structure and cohesiveness. In reality, none of that exists. It is just a bunch of individuals who come and go as they please, doing what most excites and interests them at that time. There really is not much in the way of monetary compensation for doing this, so the motivation is always personal.
As such, we do not look like the news office you see on television. There is no Cop Block office, our contributors live all over the country (and sometimes outside of it, too), and we have personal discussions right in social media with no formal meetings whatsoever. We definitely do not have a man with a cigar barking out assignments to eager reporters. People just do what they feel like doing. And that is the beauty of Cop Block.
It would be nice if we could follow up each story, but hey, we do not even have enough willing contributors to write all the stories that are happening. In fact, we only get to a small portion of police corruption and abuse as it is. Keeping a list of stories and then doing regular follow ups just is not possible for a group of rag tag activists and writers that have little support for what they do.
No matter how much each individual gives of their self to Cop Block, the public always wants to know why we aren’t doing more. The answer is usually just that we cannot.
Be the change you want to see. We are always looking for people to assist in any way or contribute. Here is an open invite. Submit your first piece at http://copblock.org/submitand include at the end a paragraph stating your intention to contribute regularly. We will get back to you.
Kelly Tharp asks:
Is there any way to demand all these lying cops be prosecuted for perjury? Every damn one is a fairy tale, and innocents suffer. Also is it feasible to start a campaign of jury nullification every time a lying cop takes the stand. We the people need to protect ourselves from this tyranny. It is the only power we have to shut down these lying cops. Every damn police report is a fairy tale. Also if cops are so brave, why do they always seem to be in fear for their lives?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin answers:
I have said it before and I will say it again – accountability is futile. Systems do not exist for the benefit of individuals. They exist for the benefit of the ruling class. The state, police…these things could never possibly hold the interest of individuals above their own. They could not survive. There is no fixing the police state. The history of policing is oppression, not service and protection. The thing that has to be fixed is the misguided attachment to an ideal state of these systems. It is synonymous with trying to build a nicer cage. Screw being caged – #AbolishThePolice
As for your last question, well I think you answered it!
Natasha Maz asks:
Hi, I have little question. If someone dies within your family or a friend or a spouse how do you take care of it without involving a corrupt dangerous system meaning calling the ambulance for example. I have been in institutions all my life i know the police hate me and I know they are corrupt criminals who will do anything to set you up.
Joshua Scott Hotchkin answers:
In order to answer this I had to do some research and spoke to some funeral professionals. The answers I got were that it depended on the situation.
If it was an expected death, as in an illness or medical issue that has been recently treated by healthcare professionals – you can report the death directly to a private funeral home who will help you make all the arrangements and get all the proper paperwork taken care of.
If the death was unexpected or the result of a trauma, it must be reported to authorities for investigation. If not you could be held liable on a number of criminal charges and suspected of responsibility for the death.
Peace, prosperity and health to you and your loved ones, Natasha.
Thanks for all of the great questions and keep sending them. I will do my best to answer them to the best of my ability, research them or pass them off to those who might have a better response. You can also request a different contributor to respond. But as with any other thing, do not believe me or anybody else. Do your own research, question everything and think for yourself.
Ask A Cop Blocker: Volume Two
Hi there. I’ve followed you guys now 3-4 years and I wanted to say 1st off cuz I’m sure you don’t hear it enough…thanks for all that you do. K that done here’s my question…I think there is a very very volatile situation brewing at a rapid pace at the Standing Water ND. Sioux protest…I’ve noticed that major media has avoided covering the situation for the most part and so I was wondering if you have looked into it at all? The police on scene, from the videos I’ve seen have been getting progressively more violent so I naturally thought of you guys and figured I’d see what your take is on the whole thing. Thanks, Bear Dilks
Joshua Scott Hotchkin answers:
I have been following the events at Standing Rock, perhaps not extensively, but certainly beyond the average American. I personally support the Water Protectors and those standing with them. Government protected energy monopolies have no rights to the lands of these people. Nor are they entitled to conduct business in ways that destroy the environment and damage the resources that they did not create.
This is exactly what government is. It is a tool by which economic interests form monopolies and uphold them via the promise or application of aggression. It is a gang pretending to be the will of the people by providing a suggestion box that never changes anything.
And police are the muscle that applies the aggression that sustains the monopolies we are all enslaved to.
Lest you think I have gotten off track, let me explain why I pointed this out.
NO PROTEST FOR A SINGLE CAUSE EVER AFFECTS LASTING CHANGE.
While I still support protests of the government and the corporate entities it charters, if only for making people question things, I have no delusions that they can fix anything.
So long as police and the state exist, this is how things will be. It is time we join a single cause, which is disassembling these power structures that enslave us and destroy the environment.
Water Protectors, Black Lives Matter, Bundy Ranch supporters, Juggalos and any and everyone else adversely impacted by the state and its aggression need to fight the core enemy – the institution of monopolized aggression itself.
While we divide our complaints against it into ever smaller pieces, the state continues to grow and become more oppressive. And as it does, the jackbooted thugs whom it hires to keep us obedient will just get nastier and nastier.
Abolish police and disassemble the state!
One further note here…
To all the ‘but private police would be better’ people – well, I guess you were wrong. They are still jackbooted thugs who gather around power structures and oppress individuals.
Is it legal for the authorities to search a residence based only on a confidential informant and neighbor complaints for traffic? If so do I as the subject of the search have the right to request information that may be beneficial to a defense in court?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin replies:
Authorities cannot search your home without a warrant except in the most extenuating of circumstances, of which informants or traffic complaints certainly do not count as extenuating.
For neighbor traffic complaints there is no sane judge who would issue a residential search warrant.
There have been two federal rulings used as precedents in whether a warrant can be issued based on information from a confidential informant. It also varies which precedent is considered in different states at their lower courts.
Here is some information explaining more about the circumstances under which a warrant may be issued based on information from a confidential informant.
However the decision is ultimately up to a judge and relies on human factors as much as objective guidelines. But a judge’s decision to issue a warrant can later be challenged in court, which would render all of the evidence gained in the search inadmissible.
The prosecution cannot use evidence against you that they have not made open to you. This is called ‘Discovery’. You have a right to view all evidence that will be used against you, but not necessarily their overall prosecution strategy.
But as I always say, the system doesn’t play fair and I am not a lawyer. So be sure to follow up with your own research and if you need legal help, contact an attorney. Peace and prosperity, Leslie!
Anytime a new law / tax / fine / regulation is passed and pushed down our throats, how are any of them considered legal in any way shape or form since the politicians and police who are creating them only have the authority to do so because they gave the authority to THEMSELVES? If they can assume false authority under the ‘because we say so’ rule, how is it illegal for any citizen to simply say,”I don’t have to follow your laws or pay your fines because I give myself the authority to refuse”? “Government gives us the authority,” isn’t a valid answer since, as stated already, government gave ITSELF the authority to grant authority.
Joshua Scott Hotchkin replies:
All authority derives it powers from a single source – the threat of violence. Government can only exist using a monopoly on organized aggression to force individuals to follow its dictates.
No authority exists dependent of that aggression. While some people will tell you that they would voluntarily pay all the taxes and follow all the laws without the implied threat looming over them, no such situation has ever existed. No government has ever been voluntary. They have all forced themselves on individuals via the threat of aggression. Legal and illegal are meaningless terms outside of that authority. What they mean within it is merely a description of when and how the state will steal, extort, kidnap, imprison, torture and/or kill. And they don’t even follow their guidelines. Nor is it reasonable to expect them to. Accountability is futile, abolish the state!
What can Cop Block do to balance out the police campaign of ‘We Back the Badge?’….it seems like, people support the police killings over infractions just to feel safe. Fear/force by any government entity is tyranny.
Joshua Scott Hotchkin:
The real question is – WHAT CAN YOU DO…?
We are pretty much trying everything we can think of to break the spell of mindless obedience and the cult of false heroism. We are always willing to hear ideas, but no changes will come until all of you become just as persistent as us. And the best place to begin is in everyday conversations with your friends, family and anyone else you can get to listen to your message. Word of mouth is our most powerful tool, and that is something we cannot do without you.
Fear/force is precisely where government derives its authority. The state is tyranny, and the police are its hired guns.
I’m in Australia but think this question will still be relevant to all . Does an entity like a police officer who acts under the state or similar hold the legal capacity to enforce anything upon a member of the public?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin replies:
Laws do not exist independent of entities which create and enforce them. The state IS the law. There is no reason to expect consistency or accountability. That would be like expecting a marathon runner to slow down every time the other runners got too far behind them. The state exists to create an advantage for the ruling class, and that advantage extends to those who enforce its agendas. There is no such thing as abuse of authority because all authority is abuse. It is abuse of individuals. The state and its agents can and will do whatever they want, because that is the entire reason they exist.
I was pulled over a few weeks ago for speeding. I live in a small town in pacific mo. The cop got a little agitated when he seen my I phone recording the stop. And he seemed more interested in where I came from and where I was going and why I was recording instead of why he pulled me over, speeding 8 miles over. He kept asking me questions and my answers were, how does this pertain to this traffic stop? So 40 minutes later the cop gives me back my license and insurance card no ticket. Why do cops do this?
Joshua Scott Hotchkin responds:
Clearance rates for violent crimes and theft reveal that cops are really bad at stopping criminals and catching them. This is because police usually hire those of average or below average intelligence; they make better unquestioning order-followers. So since they are incapable of doing police work that involves critical analysis they must rely on crude methods that rely on persistence and intimidation to lure you into self-incrimination. And with such a vast arsenal of laws at their disposal, if they can get you talking there is a good chance they will eventually find a legal reason to criminalize you.
This is why you should never answer any questions. Give them the information they need – I.D., registration and proof of insurance – and respond to questions with: “I don’t answer questions.”
Ask if you are being detained under suspicion of a crime. If not ask them if you are free to go. If they have no probable cause to detain you, they will be forced to let you go.
But answering questions will just encourage them to keep asking them. Stick to your silence and get away from the pirates as quickly as possible, they are super dangerous.