Know Your Rights

As the controversy over New York’s stop-and-frisk policy continues to make headlines, youth in New York City would do well to listen to Chino Hardin.  In November, Chino held a Know Your Rights workshop for Bronx youth and their families.

The session taught attendees how to deal calmly, wisely, and assertively with law enforcement during routine street stops.  Specifically, Chino modeled appropriate responses to police questions, demonstrating the best language and behavior to use in stop and frisk situations.

In addition to discussing street encounters, Chino covered the basics of traffic stops and home searches.  Many of those in the room that night had had unpleasant experiences with the police that left them humiliated and – even worse – sitting in the back of a police car in handcuffs.  Young people in these situations often feel like their only choices are to meekly submit or respond aggressively.  In fact, as Chino’s listeners discovered, anyone stopped by the police may respectfully but firmly assert their rights in ways that help them keep their self-respect and avoid escalating confrontation with the police.  As the courts review this controversial practice, Chino’s wisdom helps youth negotiate everyday interactions with the police.