Know your 4th amendment rights

To the editor,

We’re of varying backgrounds and families, with no particular religious, social or political persuasion. We’d like to respond to the confusion about federal agents’ pursuit and deportation of undocumented people, (including many who have never known any country other than the United States). These agents’ methods of intimidation and misrepresentation, like their policies of kidnapping and denial of asylum, are inconsistent with U.S. law and ordinary decency.

What should someone do when he or she observes persons harassing or attempting to detain Spanish-speaking people without showing warrants or their credentials or badges? Is this legal? Of course not. But what rights do undocumented people have and what should you do to protect them? First, in Colorado if police or a sheriff detains and accuses someone of acting illegally, that person, documented or undocumented, is obligated to identify him or herself with name and address. He or she is NOT required to provide identification. He or she has the right to remain silent and the right to request to speak with an attorney, as provided in the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution.

If you observe someone attempting to detain a person without providing a charge of illegal action and without showing a badge number or I.D., you should tell the person being detained to walk away and remain silent. If you have your cell phone you should record what is happening and report it to the police.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution could not be clearer: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” This is the law of the land. Following it is the right thing to do and our duty as citizens.

– Kathy Barrett, Margaret Cozine, Barry Devine, Celia Villa-Guillen, Connie Jacobs, Liza Tregillus and Jim Watt

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