Right to Know Act

The interactions that people with disabilities have with police are too often potentially dangerous​​​. If you are stopped by the police, it is important to know your rights. This blog post will explain the law and what your rights are when you are stopped by a police officer. It is the police officer’s job to protect you, but unfortunately, for people with disabilities, police do not always act in a way that respects your rights. The best thing you can do when you are stopped by the police is to stay calm and not get angry with the police officer. Below are some important things to remember if you are ever stopped by a police officer.


What You Need to Know:


The Right to Know Act has been in effect as of October 18, 2019, and applies to everyone living in New York City. You have rights, including:


  • Police officers must tell you who they are at the beginning of certain interactions by providing their name, rank, command, and shield number.
  • Police officers must have business cards that have this information. These business cards must tell you where you can comment or complain about an encounter with an officer and where you may request any body-worn camera footage of the interaction.
  • You may always ask a police officer for their business card but police officers are only required to offer the card in certain circumstances, such as during a frisk, searches of your person, property, vehicle, or home, or at sobriety checkpoints.
  • If a police officer does not have a warrant to search you, your vehicle or your home, they should not search you unless they get your permission. The only times a police officer can search you is if:
    The police officer asks for your permission.
    The police officer tells you that a search won’t be done without your permission and checks to make sure you understand what they have said.
    And you gave permission to be searched.
  • If English is not your preferred language or you are Deaf or hard of hearing, you have a right to ask for appropriate interpretation services.
  • Police officers should always let you know how you can view a copy of the recording from the officer’s body camera. You can file for a copy of the recording .
  • If a police officer searches you without your permission, you should ask for their business card since this is a violation of your rights. Remember, they don’t have to ask for permission if they are arresting you or if they have a court summons.
    If you do not want to give permission for the police officer to search you, the best thing to say is: “I do not consent to this search.”
  • You are always allowed to ask “Am I free to leave?” if you are not being detained. The police officer should tell you that you are free to go.

**If you have any other questions about how you may be affected by the Know Your Rights Act, please reach out to us at 212-674-2300. **