Photo and story by Daniel Shaw-Remeta / Contributing Writer
The final installment of a three-part series called “Can Police Do That?’ took place Tuesday evening in the Student Union Building on campus. Murfreesboro attorney Scott Kimberly and his father, retired attorney Richard Kimberly, reviewed the topics discussed during previous weeks of the program, which covered two primary subjects: searches and seizures. They brought pizza, cookies and other snacks for attendees to enjoy during the presentation as a final treat for the last event in the series.
“Tonight is pretty informal,” Scott Kimberly said. “In week one, if you were here, I told you the main purpose of this presentation is to emphasize to you guys it’s not disrespectful to exercise your rights, and to do that, you’ve got to know them.”
Since the topics of searches and seizures were divided into two separate sessions, they explained the difference between a search and seizure and explained how both are related to the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“A seizure is just when you are not free to leave,” Scott Kimberly said. “When you are in handcuffs, you’ve been seized. When you are at a traffic stop and an officer has his lights on behind you and you can’t go, you’ve been seized.”
He continued with a key question that can help people avoid incriminating themselves during interactions with law enforcement officers: “Am I under arrest?” He explained that asking the question informs the seized subject of the nature of the stop if they don’t already know. Also, it allows the subject to express if they would like to leave if not under arrest or request an attorney if they are.
“We’re gonna make it really easy for you,” Scott Kimberly said. “Fair warning: there are only two ways a traffic stop is going to end. You’re either going home, or you’re going to jail.”
Both of the speakers continued by explaining that just because someone is arrested doesn’t mean they’ll go to jail. If they are cooperative, respectful and exercise their rights, they will often only receive a citation for minor offenses. Both agreed that receiving a citation is better than spending the night in jail, and they each shared stories about cases they had seen where a traffic stop was escalated negatively and how it could’ve been done correctly.
The men concluded their presentation by taking questions and thanking the MTSU sponsors for inviting them back to host the event.
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