This thread is inspired from the numerous threads and posts by members claiming to be police officers who feel compelled to lecture, (or inform
depending upon your point of view), other people as to what their rights are, and how they should act when confronted by a police officer. While
every nation, or state, has some form of legislation, and most cops would be inclined to show reverence to that legislation, and claim they can only
speak intelligently to the legislation by which they have taken an oath to enforce, regardless of this legislation, all people everywhere across the
world are free and independent and have been endowed by birth with certain unalienable rights that preexist governments. It matters not what
legislation has to say on the matter, for legislation is not law, but merely evidence of law.
For police officers in the United States, all legislative acts have derived their authority directly from the people, and are regulated by
Constitution. Police officers in the United States are generally expected to take an oath of office, and part of that oath is to uphold the
Constitution. Every state within the United States comes with their own Constitution, and it is fairly presumed that the oath taken by police
officers references this State Constitution in terms of what is being upheld. All of these State Constitutions have within them either a Bill of
Rights, or some form of a Declaration of Rights. Perhaps the single most important Section of any one of these Bill of Rights, or Declaration of
Rights is the Section that echoes the Ninth Amendment of the Constitution for the United States of America.
The Ninth Amendment reads:
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
What does this mean? What it means is that just because rights have been listed this does not mean that those rights listed were granted by a
legislative body, but are acknowledged rights that preexist any legislative body, and that the rights are not limited merely to what has been listed,
and most importantly that rights are, at all times, retained by the people.
Examples of State Constitutions that echo the Ninth Amendment are as follows:
Alabama State Constitution
Construction of Declaration of Rights.
That this enumeration of certain rights shall not impair or deny others retained by the people; and, to guard against any encroachments on the rights
herein retained, we declare that everything in this Declaration of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever
33. Reservation of rights
Section 33. The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny others retained by the people.
Text of Section 29: Enumeration of Rights of People Not Exclusive of Other Rights - Protection Against Encroachment This enumeration of rights
shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people; and to guard against any encroachments on the rights herein retained, or
any transgression of any of the higher powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of
the government; and shall forever remain inviolate; and that all laws contrary thereto, or to the other provisions herein contained, shall be
Arkansas' Declaration spells it out quite succinctly and makes clear what should be clear even without it being spelled out, and that is any
subsequent legislation that denies or disparages the rights of an individual is null and void and does not at all carry the force of law. Of course,
law such as it is, can get rather sticky, as people have the right to contract, and here is where it gets really sticky.
Police officers are rather fond of saying; "You must realize that driving is a privilege and not a right". They are really just echoing what they
have been told, often times by statutes written and codified by state legislatures, but what they are parroting is merely an opinion, and based upon
law is not at all rooted in fact...unless, of course, a person is carrying a license to drive along with a title of registration to the vehicle they
are driving, then the right to drive retained by the people is moot, as that person carrying the license to drive has entered into a contract and in
effect waived their right to drive in exchange for being granted the privilege to drive.
It is fairly presumed that those who have entered into a contract to be a licensed driver and have their vehicle registered with a state Department of
Motor Vehicle have agreed to play along with certain rules and regulations regarding driving a vehicle. However, it is also equally fairly presumed
that certain traffic regulations need not any licensing schemes or registration schemes in order to carry the force of law. Driving recklessly, for
example, is a threat to individuals, both driving in traffic and walking as pedestrians. It matters not whether a person has a license to drive or
not, if they are endangering other people, they are not acting by right, but acting criminally, and as a police officer it is your sworn duty to deal
with such people.
However, if a person is driving by right, as opposed to entering into a contractual agreement and driving by privilege, that means that person is not
endangering or harming any other person, and therefore not acting criminally. Lawful actions do not require any licensing scheme, regardless of what
legislatures say about the matter. If legislation on its own were law, then judges would not have the authority of judicial review and could not
strike down legislation as being unlawful.
All people have the right to due process of law. Aspects of law enforcement, such as "probable cause" can be a part of due process of law only when
the police officer relying on probable clause is acting lawfully. Using probable cause to act under color of law and simulate a legal process is not
lawful. The problem with many police officers is they don't truly seem to understand what "probable cause" is. Some will even go as far as to
claim that a person running a red light, or speeding in a reckless manner gives them probable cause. The fact is that when a driver is driving
recklessly this gives a police officer actual cause. Such actual cause may be contested in a court of law by the person who has been detained by the
police officer, but if that person detained was actually driving recklessly, then the cause to detain them is actual and not probable. If a police
officer is not sure of the actuality of a crime, but there is enough evidence to point to a crime, then the cause can be probable, depending upon the
However, if a police officer detains a person driving, and when all is said and done, the only citation written up by the police officer is "driving
without a license", then what was the probable cause? By what reasonable suspicion did the police officer surmise that the person driving was
actually a contracted member of the DMV country club but was driving without the required license? Of course, there will be plenty of police
officers, and other government officials who will vehemently contest the point that driving is a right and not a privilege, but when it comes to
burden of proof in backing up their contentions, those arguing that driving is a privilege and not a right fall way short of the mark, and can only
point to legislation to support their argument.
Too often, the argument regarding law gets muddled, and those defending their licensing schemes rely upon "social contracts" and other such nebulous
notions of "governmental social control". Of course, "social contract" does not at all act in the same way that the law of contracts works, and
the drivers licensing scheme is not lawful because of a "social contract" but is lawful because of the law of contracts. An agreement was made
between two or more parties, and that agreement was signed and officially recognized as a contract. This is far different than the "social
contract" where a person is "obligated" to society based upon an imaginary contract where "society" has not signed any agreement, nor has the
person supposedly obligated to that "society".
So, what is a cop to do, when confronted with a person who has not entered into any contractual agreement with a DMV but is driving around in an
unregistered vehicle without any license? Most cops will insist that it is their duty to either cite that person with a ticket, and/or impound their
vehicle without any due process of law. Is this lawful? Pointing to legislation can be evidence of its lawful act, but it is merely evidence, and
given that the legislation being pointed to is an act of legislation subsequent to the Constitution that gave the legislature authority to legislate,
what is senior to that legislation that would insist that driving is a "privilege and not a right" is the assertion that rights are retained by the
people and need not be listed by Constitution in order to be a right.
As a cop, you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and while there are many cops that are willing to pass on the responsibility of unlawful
legislation to the courts, this is not at all upholding the Constitution. As a police officer, I have no doubt that you run into people on a daily
basis that think they know their rights and in truth have no understanding of what a right is and what it is not, but in fairness, I have run into
plenty of police officers, many of them my friends, who have no idea what a right is, and some of them could care less anyway. It is my firm belief
that most people who become cops do so to "protect and serve" and by that I mean protect and serve everyone, not just those who they deem worthy of
protection and service. Even so, there has for so long been a decided propaganda campaign to convince people that rights are things given to people
by government and that government officials exist to control people and keep them in place.
It is easy to lose sight of what the aim is, but as Aristotle once put it, all things aim towards the greater good, and cops are no different. I
believe all cops aim towards the greater good, but the problem is that their aim for that greater good is not nearly as good as their aim with a gun.
There will always be people who have no regard for others, and those people have a proclivity towards doing things that require the services of a
police officer. However, if Aristotle is right, and all things aim towards the greater good, it is fairly presumed that most people actually do have
regard for others, including police officers. Even so, in the end, it is not the badge that is worthy of respect, it is the person. While not all
police officers are rogue outlaws who have decided that their brute force is authorized by the badge they wear, regardless of the lawlessness of that
brute force, these officers do exist, and it would seem increasingly so.
It appears to be that it is uncommon valor for police officers to break ranks and challenge unlawful legislation or orders and flat out refuse to deny
or disparage a persons right/s, but they exist, and tragically many of them wind up leaving the force because of this. There are bad people, and
there are good people, but in the end, all people are basically good, and the bad ones are the ones whose aim - when aiming towards that greater good
- is just bad aim. Police officers spend an awful lot of the time dealing with these people with bad aim, and I suppose because of this it can leave
one jaded regarding humanity as a whole. Yet, the mark of greatness is the compassion one holds for others. I have seen plenty of police officers
who have this compassion, and it is easy to see their greatness. This greatness does not leave them immune from mistakes and misunderstandings of the
law. Indeed, plenty heroes have fallen, and all heroes who fall, do so because of hubris. Sometimes greatness is not enough.
There is a great divide in the United States, and I suppose there always has been, but lately there has been an increasing sense that we live in a
police state. There are plenty of good people who do not trust police officers, and plenty of good police officers who do not trust people. Not all
great people are hero's, and considering the times we live in, there cannot be too many hero's. If a cop intends to be a hero, this can happen by
protecting and serving in the line of duty while upholding legislative acts that actually reflect the law, but when a cop believes he is heroic by
upholding legislative acts that are contrary to the Supreme Law of the Land, reflected in their State Constitution, the likelihood of them being
hero's has been greatly diminished.
As legislatures continue to write legislation that is contrary to the Constitution that gave them the authority to legislate to begin with, more and
more people will begin to engage in non-acquiescence. Police officers are capable of doing the same, and were they to engage in non-acquiescence
while in the line of duty, I have no doubt that they put their career and lives on the line, but too many are all ready doing so while acquiescing to
dubious legislative acts, why not try a little non-acquiescence? Why not hold total regard for all people and give them the benefit of the doubt
until all doubt has been removed? This is what it means to respect the rights of others. To understand that even when we don't understand the
actions of others, as long as that action has caused no harm, then what they are doing that we don't understand, they do by right.
What are the rights of a police officer? Why they are the exact same rights as any other person, because that what rights are. They are universal,
and apply to all people across the world. Indeed, across the whole universe! Beyond this police officers have been endowed with certain privileges.
Privileges should never, ever, trump rights. Privileges are what they are and their very nature creates a risk of abuse. Rights, on the other hand,
do not run any risk of abuse because they cannot be abused. Rights are black and white, and they are either rights, or they are not. Any abuse does
not come in the form of enjoying a right too much, it comes in the form of abusing other people's rights. No one has the right to deny or disparage
other people's rights. Not I, not other people, and certainly not police officers, regardless of what a legislative act might have to say to the