OFFICER HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO TALK TO STATE AGENTS: REPORT

A defense doesn’t always have to be difficult. Sometimes, it’s as easy as keeping quiet while you wait to see what the prosecution has to use against you.

It’s for this reason that you may want to exercise your Fifth Amendment rights if you’re arrested. You don’t have to talk to anyone without an attorney present, because you have the right to remain silent and not to incriminate yourself.

That is what is happening in this case, and it’s a good example of the law in action. An officer involved in a shooting does not have to talk to state agents, according to a July 20 report, which could help his defense. The news reports that the man is not required to speak with investigators, but he will be compelled to give his statement to the department while it completes its investigation into the shooting of a woman who placed a 911 call.

The officer has yet to explain why he shot a woman from the passenger seat of the squad car. He shot over his partner, who was driving, and killed the 40-year-old woman standing outside the vehicle. His partner’s statement alleges that the alley was dark and the vehicle’s lights were off when a loud noise startled him and his partner. The woman then appeared suddenly next to the vehicle, prompting the shooting.

Although the man is a police officer, he is not legally bound to discuss what happened that night. Like anyone else, he has Fifth Amendment rights that protect him against incriminating himself. The police department can ask for the officer to give a statement and has the right to fire him if he will not. However, the statement, if he gives it, won’t be able to be used in court.

Source: MPR News, “Minneapolis officer doesn’t have to talk to state agents,” Amy Forliti, Steve Karnowski, July 20, 2017

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