Ever wonder how to avoid being arrested? Some would suggest that the answer is to not do anything wrong, but that’s an iffy proposition at best. At Atlantic Cities, Mike Riggs relays the advice of former “FBI field agent, a SWAT sniper, an instructor at the FBI academy, and a Miami police officer who set Florida records for felony arrests” Dale Carson.
This is where things get, ahem, sticky:
Dale Carson is a defense attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as an alumnus of the Miami-Dade Police Department and the FBI. So he knows a thing or two about how cops determine who to hassle, and what all of us can do to not be one of those people.
It would be one thing for Carson’s “advice” to be promoted as the thoughts of an ex-cop, speaking from the copper perspective. But that’s not quite how it comes across. By first noting that he’s a defense attorney, thus ascribing credibility to Carson as not only a duly admitted member of a learned profession, but one who toils to preserve the sanctity of the accused and respect for the Constitution, readers are left to believe that this is how criminal defense lawyers urge people to behave.
Carson has four golden rules, the first of which is, “If police can’t see you, they can’t arrest you.” The simplest application of this concept is that if you plan on doing something illegal, you should do it in the privacy of your home. Yes, you can be arrested while at home, but you can’t be profiled sitting in your living room, and profiling is what you’re trying to avoid.
Initially, no lawyer would offer advise as to how to commit a crime and get away with it. That’s plainly unethical and unlawful. We are not in the business of promoting crime, and the idea that anyone would suggest such a thing is disgraceful.
Now if Carson’s point is to avoid conflict with the police at all costs, then suggesting people hide in their homes rather than enjoy the world in peace makes a little bit of sense. If his point is to encourage safe criminal practices, then he can’t and shouldn’t. But even so, if you plan to smoke some dope in private, you still have to get the weed somehow. Either you go out to meet your source of supply or he comes to you. It’s not exactly a foolproof plan.
The rule extends to activities that are perfectly legal. “In 21st century America,” he writes, “as long as you’re not committing a crime, you should be able to wear the wildest clothes you want, roam the streets when you feel like it, and lean on a light post or hang out at some wild club if it amuses you.” “Should” is the key word. In reality, cops love hassling people who stand out, even though it’s not illegal to, say, have a Buckeyes bumper sticker that looks like a pot leaf. If you drive a sports car or a lowrider, you’re more likely to attract a cop’s attention than if you drive, say, a gray Honda Civic. Same goes for clothes, hairstyles, tone and volume of voice. Be boring.
Got that? All the things that make life worth living, that you chose to do because you live in the land of the free and the home of the brave? Carson says you’re just asking for trouble.
But it gets worse. Far worse.
What if I can’t be invisible to police?
If police want to hassle you, they’re going to, even if you’re following the above tips as closely as possible. What then? Every interaction with a police officer entails two contests: One for “psychological dominance” and one for “custody of your body.” Carson advises giving in on the first contest in order to win the second.
And how, pray tell, does this FBI agent cum criminal defense lawyer propose to accomplish the win? Suggestion Number One:
Winning the psychological battle requires you to be honest with cops, polite, respectful, and resistant to incitement.
But, but, but…Suggestion Number Two:
He also says you should be dignified—unless it looks like you’re about to lose both the psychological contest and the one for custody of your body. In which case, you should be strategically pitiful.
Strategically pitiful? What the heck does that mean?
It’s debasement time. Start with crying. Bawl hard while begging for a notice.
Bawl? As in cry?
If crying fails, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to not go to jail, Carson advises you to “foul yourself so that the police will consider setting you free in order not to get their cruiser nasty.” Vomit on your clothes. Defecate and urinate in your pants. Then let the officers know what you’ve done.
Okay, this has gone on long enough. Ironically (maybe), at his own website, Carson gives this advice:
If you are arrested Jacksonville criminal lawyer Dale Carson says give police your name and address, then shut the heck up. Saying too much to police can get you in more trouble and cause you to forfeit certain rights.
So let’s take the vomit on oneself advice with a grain of salt.
If Dale Carson is trying to offer suggestions for how to demean yourself sufficiently to avoid arrest at any cost, that’s one thing. If this is a joke, that’s another thing. But to suggest that this reflects the advice of criminal defense lawyers is absurd.
[Warning: rough language ahead.]
In these days of citizen publishing, any asshole can write a book, and many do. Carson’s book, Arrest-Proof Yourself, may be one of the worst, most disgusting attempts at eliminating freedom and dignity for the sake of safety and police avoidance ever written. That it exists at all is an affront to humanity.
Which leads me to the obvious question: Why would Mike Riggs, who has shown little reluctance to stand firm against the excesses of police, choose to “foul himself” by writing about Carson’s advice? I suspect Riggs was smiling ear to ear while tapping out the words of this post, wondering whether anyone anywhere wouldn’t start laughing hysterically at such absurdity. What a wag, that Riggs is.
Update: Or my expectations of Mike Riggs was unduly wishful?