MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Law enforcement officers can ask citizens just about anything they want, but does a citizen have to comply?
Attorney Leslie Ballin says if you aren’t doing anything wrong and do not pose any kind of threat you don’t have to show your driver’s license.
“You don’t have to give it to them,” Ballin said.
Roderick Walker was a passenger in a car that was pulled over allegedly for a broken tail light Sunday in Clayton County, Ga.
Investigators say when Walker refused to give his ID, he was asked to get out of a car that had the driver, Walker’s girlfriend, their five-month-old baby, and her 5-year-old son inside.
Walker ended up on the ground with deputies sitting on him and one deputy punching him several times.
The deputy said Walker bit him. Walker says he didn’t.
Even though a citizen does not have to give their license if they are not in the wrong or posing a threat, some prefer to err on the side of caution.
“I do what they say because I don’t want no problems. I teach my sons just do what they say so you can come home not to the morgue.” citizen Kynetria Robinson said.
Ballin and Memphis police point out that an officer can ask whatever he or she wants to ask. You don’t have to comply, unless you are the driver, if you aren’t doing anything wrong.
Ballin says that includes a request for an ID if you are not breaking the law and just walking down the sidewalk.
“You can say thank you, I’m going about my business,” Ballin said.
He adds if an officer asks you to get out of a vehicle, you do have to comply, and if the officer fears you may have a weapon, you can be patted down.
Ballin points out police body cameras have made law enforcement and citizens safer from false accusations.
“The body cameras are a good thing for everybody,” Ballin said.