Insight With Beth Ruyak

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Sacramento Attorney Goes Over Best Practices Interacting With Law Enforcement


Do you know what to do if you are pulled over by the police?

With all the officer involved shootings and protests that have been in the news recently, some advocates say it's more important than ever to know what to do during police encounters.

Sacramento civil rights attorney Keith Staten designed a free course for the public to teach people their constitutional rights.

Staten covers the best practices for interacting with law enforcement that helps officers do their job smoothly and efficiently without compromising your constitutional rights.

He says the first thing to remember is that under the Fourth Amendment, citizens don’t have to be subjected to unreasonable searches or seizures.

"When an officer walks up, it doesn’t matter what they say, what you should say, ‘Officer, am I free to leave?’ because what you have just established is that the officer has detained you if the officer says no," he says. 

And after providing identification and complying with other requests from the officer, the detained person does not have to continue the conversation.

"And when you are detained under the law, you may exercise your right to remain silent," he says.

Staten is hosting the next workshop Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Women’s Civic Improvement Club in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood.  

Editor's Note: The conversation doesn’t end here. What would you like to know about police interactions? Best strategies when you’re pulled over? Who would you like to hear from on these issues? Leave your comments below or you can email us at


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