Hat tip to Global Toad for this one. There's great advice for protesters and advocates finding themselves in the same situation in the threads - I quoted this chunk to add a link.
Apparently the anti-freedom forces are alive and well, while nothing has happened about Mitt Romney’s campaign impersonating police officers, it’s apparently quite a challenge to hand out Ron Paul information.
Even after clearing that it’s legal to pass out information in a public park, Joel Ferguson was threatened by police for passing out political information in Hammond recently.
The first time, the police claimed the park was private property, and he had no rights, so Joel went and contacted the city attorney, who said that it was public property.
Even after that Joel has been threatened by the police (and if you think some thug with a gun threatening you isn’t frightening, good for you), who have reportedly said “She’s not here, I am”.
It certainly does take nerve to peacefully assert that you will not go along with police misbehavior.
A great book on this subject is YOU AND THE POLICE! by Boston T. Party. First, know your rights. Joel Ferguson did his homework by contacting the city attorney. When you are confident about your rights, you are empowered to quietly stand your ground and state your position. People confronted by police usually want to end “the scene” as soon as possible. Your willingness to stand there with him for as long as it takes to get him to back off speaks volumes to law officers.
I can't underline this enough; citizens need to steel themselves for confrontation and learn to handle it without escalation. But do not allow yourselves to be herded or made irrelevant by authoritarian bullies. Politely suggest that he kick the matter up his chain of command and make sure that you are not blocking access, disrupting activities or providing any other legitimate pretext for arrest.
Considering the misuse of badges by the Romney campaign, make a point of requesting confirmation of their ID, especially if dealing with anyone in plain clothes. Anyone can say they are a cop or an agent or "With campaign security," but that does not make it so. If they are violating your constitutional rights, you do not have to comply with their directives. Of course, it's best to be in the crosshairs of a telephoto lens on a high-quality cam-corder while doing this - and wearing a wire.
Those who are calmly prepared for confrontation by all legal means and who are not there to provoke a scene will generally enjoy a nice rally with no troubles.
tag: protest, activism, law, peaceful protest, first amendment, Ron Paul, interference, election 2008