When 22-year-old Troye Bullock’s car was hit by a Prince George’s County Police cruiser, he didn’t have a good feeling. It wasn't because of the accident, but because the of the way the officer that hit him, handled the situation.
Prince George’s County Police confirm, the officer, Joel Gloston, Jr., lied about his name, badge number, and gave Bullock a bogus accident report number in an apparent effort to avoid taking responsibility for what happened.
“Accountability,” Bullock said when asked what action he wanted seen taken by the department against Gloston. “I want to see some accountability for their actions.”
Bullock’s experience raises the question: What is the proper way to handle a police stop? And what do you do, if you feel wronged by the officer that stopped you?
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, if you are pulled over by police, you should do the following:
- Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible.
- Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.
- Upon request, show police your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance.
- If an officer asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
- Both drivers and passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.
- The ACLU says it’s important to stay calm and be polite. Do not interfere with or obstruct the police. And do not lie or give false documents.
- If you feel your rights have been violated by police, remember police misconduct cannot be challenged on the street. Don't physically resist officers or threaten to file a complaint.
- Write down everything you remember, including officers' badge and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details. Get contact information for witnesses. If you are injured, take photographs of your injuries (but seek medical attention first).
- File a written complaint with the agency's internal affairs division or civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously if you wish.