Sorry, sir, you are not allowed to leave

New York City has been invaded by ambassadors and dignitaries and politicans, oh my! And midtown seems to have one police officer for every 2.5 citizens. On several occasions this year my girlfriend or I have been inside a building (e.g., a bank, a deli, our own apartment building) and were denied the opportunity to leave by police officers who said everyone has to stay indoors until the Clinton/Arafat/Castro/Putin/whoever and his cavalcade of limousines has passed by, often 45 minutes or so.

I don’t mean “you have to leave via a different exit on a different street” but “you must remain where you are”. My girlfriend came within the proverbial gnat’s eyelash of missing a medical appointment for which she would have had to pay had she missed it due to being detained in this fashion.

Is this legal? Doesn’t this constitute unlawful imprisonment or kidnaping or something of the sort? I thought the fundamental freedom to come and go could only be abridged under a select set of emergency circumstances, e…g, if someone had opened fire on the diplomats with an AK-47 or martial law had been declared or something.

[auto-hijack]They don’t understand New Yorkers, obviously. They greatly increase the risk of assassination by screwing up traffic, as we routinely shoot people for that. [/hijack]

I can see asking people not to cross a street when some dignitary’s cavalcade is about to pass. But keeping you penned up inside a building sounds majorly unconstitutional. They should at least let you leave by a door that doesn’t face the procession.

I’ve gotten detained in traffic by motorcades here in DC. Geez, but they take their sweet @!#?@! time! Just shuttle them around by helicopter, please. It’s faster, and the extra fuel they use is compensated by not having thousands of cars idling for hours.

This reminds me of the time I was accosted by four (four!!!) secret service agents at my local college. Dan Quale had stopped by for a 10 minute election speech and I was walking “to close” to the building. I was taking a short cut to my car through the faculty parking lot. They instructed me to go around the parking lot. Since there were four of them, they were armed, and had the power of the federal government to back them up, I went around.

But if I ever meet those guys again I’m ‘a gonna’ open a 6 pack of whoop ass.

From the US Constitution


Sounds like an illegal suspension of habeas corpus to me. Those cops don’t have a good reason to hold you, they have a dumbass reason. Next time this happens, demand a writ of habeas corpus. Don’t stop demanding until you get satisfaction.

Here’s another interesting little factoid. Removing a police baton from your rectum is painful, but not as painful as having one forcibly inserted.

I run a small non profit corp that works with ex-offenders helping them get jobs. My agency is located on a one way street that is a major artery into the downtown portion of my town. Mr. Clinton was visiting, and his motorcade was going to come down our street. For several hours (mostly before) we had SS guys stationed at every street opening onto my street (including a very small half block more of an alley). We were not allowed to enter the street.

Needless to say, that during this time, NONE of my clients showed up for thier appointments. I suspect it MAY have had something to do with the Secret Service and FBI’s wing tips wandering around…

As stated in the Bill of Clinton: You will suspend all constitutional rights in the prescence of the Monarchy. Puny earthling.

tomas, nice try, but, if you noticed - it wasn’t just Bill. Any President. Any Vice President. Pretty much the candidates right now. Foreign dignitories in the OP. Rant about Bill if you care, but please don’t single him out for what is common practice with ALL Presidents.

So let’s say for the sake of argument that I insist (politely but firmly) on my right and my pressing need to leave the building, and one or more of New York’s Finest detains me against my will. Demands on my part for a “writ of habeus corpus” are not met, or are met with various expressions of derision and dismissal.

a) Who do I call or contact to raise hell? The ACLU? Need I file a lawsuit, or can I get an official institution to take action on my behalf?

b) If I do not physically shove my way past a uniformed police officer physically blocking my path in the course of insisting on my right to leave, how likely are they (New York City cops in the situation described above) to arrest me? And, if so, who do I call to defend myself AND raise hell?

c) May I assume that it is reasonable conduct for me to state that, if physically intercepted, I will not struggle, but that I am of the opinion that I can legally leave and am therefore going to proceed forward until/unless stopped?

You can try to bring up matters like unlawful imprisonment, but I think most judges will side with the police when they say, “We’re just doing our job to protect the public’s safety.”

The police could also say that you had to stay inside for your own safety. Perhaps they were worried about you getting run over or shot accidentally by an assassin with poor aim.

Also, if you sued, what would you hope to gain? Can you show any actual damages?

Heck, I live in LA and I’ve been told to stay inside by movie crew flunkies so they can finish shooting their scenes. Amazingly, most people listen to those guys.

So grips and gaffers have police power? :smiley:

I remember last spring when the last episode of “The West Wing” was being filmed. The entire section of Arlington called Rosslyn was closed down. At least they waited until after rush hour to do it.

Speaking of movie/TV shoots: why, in productions set in DC, do political operatives always meet at the Lincoln Memorial? [ul][li]There’s no parking, so they’d most likely walk. (OK, the State Department is nearby, but the White House is about a mile away.)[/li][li]They’re wearing suits with or without trenchcoats. How “sore thumb” is that? 99.9999% of those near the LM on any given day are wearing typical tourist attire. Or in the case of the POW-MIA activists, Army camoflage, bandanas, and fatigue pants.[/li][li]If the take-offs from Ronald Wilson Reagan Washington National Airport are coming north, you can’t hear idle conversation for the 30 seconds it takes for a jet to go by. And since one takes off every two minutes, that’s 25% of the time that you can’t talk.[/li][/ul]

Yeah, just try to push by the cops who seem far too eager these days to shoot first and then try to claim that you were going for your gun. Failing that, maybe they will take you in and give you a close inspection of their batons and broom handles…

I think police are allowed to jail you for something like 24 hours before coming up with a writ of habeus corpus (of course, this is from a memory deep in my head from many years ago, so don’t quote me on that one)

By the way, if you ever have the chance, I would highly recommend watching the President come in at the heliport on the southern tip of Manhattan - that’s a major spectacle with tons of police boats, cops, limos, and helicopters. I used to be able to watch it from where I worked, but I think you could stand off on the side of a street and watch most of it. Just don’t make any sudden movements :slight_smile:


And it’s a bloody long way from a Metro station, too! I found THAT out the hard way.

That aside, the best way to get around DC as a tourist – or even on business – is the Metro. Don’t even think of renting a car and trying to park it in DC!

And speaking of spy/political meetings in movies, I’m surprised there aren’t more movies with meetings in a Metro station; the atmosphere is just right. I can picture a great scene: agent leaving the Metro station on one of those mile-long escalators sees that enemy agents are waiting for him/her at the top. But with the crowds, he/she can’t go back down and can’t shoot them where he/she stands. He/she just has to ride slowly to the top and hope he/she can get out at the last second. Whaddaya think? :slight_smile:

I think The Exorcist would have been about and hour and a half longer had the “Exorcist stairs” been replaced with the down escalator at Rosslyn station.

Even better, the poor dope should have tumbled down the up escalator. Imagine the horror: tumbling down an up escalator for all eternity…

I’m certainly no big fan of New York’s Finest - I was chased down the platform of the J train by several would-be assailants. I was lucky enough to find a cop down at the street. His sage advice? “Next time, run faster, or maybe get some steel-toed boots so you can turn around and kick 'em in the balls.” He made no attempt at a pursuit, because his partner was in the deli ordering a salami hero.

However, if anyone with a gun and a badge points a gun at me, my hands are going up. I don’t have to speak the language to understand that one. To then reach inside of your jacket, even if you are “getting your wallet”, is insane. What do you expect a cop to do, risk you pulling out a gun? It’s not like it’s never happened. Any fool knows you don’t reach for anything in a sudden fashion, even if a cop pulls you over on the road. However, 41 bullets is a bit excessive.

At least they don’t do it out in the open where they can be filmed, like the LA cops do…
(Doh! I can’t believe I just typed that!!!)
I’m kidding. I don’t condone police violence, really!

Nowhere in The US Constitution appears the writ of habeus corpus, as such. The habeus corpus act was originally an English statue. Similar statutes have been enacted in all states in the US. It literally means “you have the body.” There were various types at common law.

A poster said that the US C. prevents imprisonmet without good cause. That doesn’t appear in the C. It is true, however, that no one can be so held against his will without good cause. But what is “good cause.”

There is also a principle of necessity. One can commit a tort on another if it becomes necessary (to avoid death, etc.) However, compensation must be paid. It seems that if you were detained due to action by agents of the US gvt, your recourse would be to claim any losses you suffered in the Court of Claims.

That’s what happens when you build a city on a swamps…

That said, I loved the Metro when my wife and I were in DC. Great system, even if it closes at obscenely early hours and on Sunday, for some nutcase reason.

I endured 30 film productions in the street in front of my house (in downtown LA) over a period of 2 years, so I checked into the applicable laws. I was particularly incensed at rentacops preventing me from driving down my own street into my own private driveway. It turns out that LA film permits only allow the cops to block a road for 60 seconds. So after that, every time I encountered a roadblock, I drove up to the cop, started shouting “one thousand one, onethousand two…” and when the time was up, I drove right down the street to my house, right in front of the cameras. It pissed off a few film crews and rentacops, but I laughed all the way up the driveway. To quote my birth-state motto, “Our Liberties we prize, and our Rights we will maintain.”

JosephFinn writes:

> That said, I loved the Metro when my wife and I were in
> DC. Great system, even if it closes at obscenely early
> hours and on Sunday, for some nutcase reason.

It most certainly is open on Sunday. Early closing? Well, perhaps. It runs 5:30 AM to midnight on Monday to Thursday, 5:30 AM to 2 AM on Friday, 8 AM to 2 AM on Saturday, and 8 AM to midnight on Sunday. Hours are extended on July 4th and a few other occasions.

John Bredin writes:

> That aside, the best way to get around DC as a tourist –
> or even on business – is the Metro. Don’t even think of
> renting a car and trying to park it in DC!

Actually, it’s reasonably easy if you only have to park in DC in the evenings or on weekends. I live just outside of DC and I park there several times a week. Luckily I don’t work downtown. There’s a couple places where I know I will have to walk two or three blocks even in the evenings or on weekends, but it’s possible to learn the best place to park for those areas.

I think they don’t let you go outside for your own good. Many of the foreign dignitaries there have bodyguards with machineguns that don’t have a problem with shooting first and asking questions later.

Oh, and a quick note to Chas.E: It’s my understandign that rentacops have NO POLICE POWERS WHATSOEVER. They can make a citzen’s arrest like any civillian, but they can’t blockade roads or tell you to leave anywhere or “Turn that damn camera off!”. Well, not legally, at least. I’m waiting for the episode of the Tom Green show where Tom takes advantage of this often-overlooked fact :slight_smile:

I assure you that they DO. Or at the very least, the end result is the same. I have been arrested twice by film set rentacops on trumped up charges. Their philosophy is to arrest anyone who even threatens to disrupt a film shoot, toss em in jail, and hope they can’t bail themselves out before the film crew gets off the set, then drop the charges once they’ve finished filming. It is definitely an abuse of police powers.