Know Your Rights!

You have the right…

To be in a public place and to observe police activity.

If the police stop someone…

  • Write down officers’ names, badge numbers, and car number.  Cops should give you this information when asked.  You have the right to know their identity.
  • When the stop is over approach the officers involved and ask for their card.  In Denver they have to give it to you.
  • Write down the time, date, and place of the incident.
  • Use caution and if possible ask if the person is being arrested and on what charge.
  • Get names of witnesses and how to contact them.
  • Police can arrest someone they believe is “interfering” with their actions.  Maintain a reasonable distance and if a cop threatens to arrest you, explain that you don’t want to interfere, but that you have the right to observe their actions.
  • Try to get the name of the arrestee but only if they have already given it to police.
  • Write down all the details as soon as possible.
  • Remember to keep a safe distance away from the police officers and to keep on the sidewalk (not in parking lots or on other private property) as much as possible.

If the police stop you…

  • Ask, “Am I free to go?” if not you are being detained.  If yes, walk away.
  • If they say they are detaining you ask, “Can you explain why you are detaining me?” To stop you the officer must have specific reasons to suspect your involvement in a specific crime (not just a guess or stereotype).
  • You do not have to answer any questions.  If the cop tickets or arrests you, you may be held for a while if you don’t show ID.
  • Remember names and badge numbers of officers involved.
  • If a cop tries to search your home, your care, or your person, say repeatedly that you DO NOT CONSENT TO THE SEARCH”. The police can pat you down if they have reason to believe you are armed and involved in a crime, and they can search you and your possessions if they arrest you, and in a few other situations.

If the police arrest you…

  • You will be handcuffed, searched, photographed, and fingerprinted.
  • Say repeatedly, “I don’t want to talk until my lawyer is present.” No matter what refuse to talk until your lawyer/public defender arrives.  If your arraignment or you are bonded out before talking to your lawyer, make sure to still say nothing while in custody.  
  • Do not talk to inmates in jail about your case.
  • If you are on probation or parole tell your P.O. that you have been arrested but nothing else.

If the police abuse you or violate your rights…

  • Write down details of the incident immediately.
  • Photograph your injuries and get a medical report describing them.
  • Call the ACLU or other civil rights attorneys.
  • Feel free to contact us at
  • File a report with the Office of the Independent Monitor.  Though the just outcome may not occur, it is still important for both records as well as further legal actions.



You have legal rights, but many cops will not respect your rights.



Important Phone Numbers


ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)



Denver City Jail (1351 Cherokee St)



Denver County Jail (10500 East Smith Road)



City Car Pound



 Office of the Independent Monitor

Official Complaint/Commendation Form

(720) 913-3306


Special thanks to Denver Copwatch “Know Your Rights” pamphlet.


  1. This is very informative, as many citizens do not know their rights and unfortunately, many unknowingly incriminate themselves. This is an awesome site and I look forward to the impact it has on people. I will pass this on to my family, friends and loved ones.


  2. Hey,first this is a place we can get the truth out and make a true, understanding,there are abuses which take inocent peoples lives, generateimg false records,denying whitnesses,entrapment,twisting the law to thier favor,false arrests,no charges,or rights read, absolute profileing and threats against people wellbeing and your dog, 3 times for me, did nothing almost tazed me on my friends business acuseing me of tresspass,I told all them [where in a uncontroled frenzy,I wanted to see a judge they denied me and made a warning I guess now they have lied and now they are complete ignorance of the truth,and made a judgement when the judge has no idea of why or what he was ordering, no doctor anyware so look out in boulder county still RAMSEY courts here, no wonder they want the private police so they don’t have to be held for liable the constitution, I was shocked to meet my first lying officer, it was like finding out about santa, any cops reading this? got to say wouldn’t want to do your job and couldn’t alot of the problem actual criminals get of, they can’t pull you over to see if your dui but they have no problem blameing you for something you didn’t do to see if you drinking why not just say I stopped you cuz I want to see if you been drinking I hate being accused of something thats not true gotta stick with the constitution and bill of rights righeousness will heal us,

  3. […] outcome may not occur, it is still important for both records as well as further legal actions. More at Denver Cop Watch.Be Sociable, Share! Related posts:Even Those Cleared of Crimes Can Stay on F.B.I.’s Watch […]

  4. Thanks for posting this! Very useful info.

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