The other day I was walking on my daily route when a cop in a white cruiser slowly passed me on the road. He made a right at the intersection while I continued straight. Further up the road at another intersection the same cop pulls up next to me and makes another right. He clearly doubled back.
At this point my radar is on full alert and now I’m just waiting for the inevitable confrontation. The cop was obviously tailing me. Up the road even further the copper passes then pulls his cruiser over about 50 feet in front of me and gets out. He begins walking towards me. My heart rate is now elevated ever so slightly as my mind is attempting to make sense out of what is going on. Usually when this happens the cops have mistaken me for someone else and confronting me on the grounds of “I fit the description of a suspect.”
I immediately ask the officer what is going on. He informs me of numerous break ins in the area and he is making the rounds to see what the pedestrians are up to. I had my house key around my neck and informed him that I lived in the neighborhood and was on my usual exercise route.
It was at this point he asked to see my ID. I politely refused (legally of course as I will explain later.) He then had the audacity to hand me a pedestrian profile document with a laundry list of personal questions. I once again informed the cop that I wasn’t interested in providing any questions to him. He digressed into a half hearted ramble about how this information was for the good of the neighborhood and so forth. I stood my ground and left. The cop understood where he was coming from and realized I was fully exercising my rights as a citizen.
Luckily the cop was respectful but this is not always the case. Some cops will blatantly bully you into divulging information you don’t need to give up. When dealing with cops, the key is to understand your rights and always keep calm.
Stop and identify statutes
In most states there are stop and identify statutes based on the type of interaction you are having with a police officer. There are 3 types:
- Consensual – at anytime a police office may approach you and ask questions. You are not obligated to respond or identify yourself and may leave at anytime.
- Reasonable suspicion – if a police office believes you have committed a crime or in the process of breaking the law he may detain you for questioning and frisk you for weapons if he thinks you’re armed. States with stop and identify statutes require you to ID yourself, but you may still remain silent under the Miranda law.
- Arrest – if an arrest is made police officers have a no holds barred authority to search your person and take you in for questioning. In states with stop and identify statutes you are required to ID yourself. Not providing this information in some jurisdictions is even considered obstructing justice.
This post assumes you are the average man simply wanting to avoid the cops. Not because you are doing anything illegal, but because you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. This is the art of going Grayman. At the time, I was wearing an old pair of jeans, dirty hiking shoes, and wearing a dirty backpack. My hair was uncut and unkempt. All things considered, I looked like a homeless transient. The neighborhood I live in is primarily military families. The men are clean cut and usually aren’t walking around mid day like I was…especially with a backpack. I messed up because I went out looking suspicious. If I wanted to go unnoticed I’d give myself a buzzcut, put a military style hat on, and wear something clean.
The point is not to look military. The point is to look like you fit in wherever you live. A military look in a primarily urban area is going to look suspicious and vice versa. Take stock of how people dress in your area, what they drive, where they go…and then do your best to follow suit. Doing this ensures a safe passage through your day to day travels as you simply look like everyone else. Leave the flash and attention grabbing antics to the teenagers.
Going Grayman is more than just avoiding the police. It’s about not drawing attention from people who have their own best interests and heart – and people who might become a little to opportunistic given the right circumstances. Think about an SHTF scenario.
Thanks for reading.