This guide was developed by San Jose families who lost loved ones
to police violence in order to assist families and their supporting communities through those critical first 24 hours of an officer-involved shooting. These steps come from shared personal experiences going through those dark moments.
1. ONLY ASK QUESTIONS TO THE POLICE. DON'T ANSWER.
You should be very careful if you are considering talking to the police, and you are under no obligation to speak to them. You may think they’re there to help you figure out what happened. Police are not your friend. Anything you say to or around the police can be used against you. It is important that you are aware of what you say around the police. They can be recording conversations without your knowledge.
Ask questions like names, badge numbers, ranks, who’s in charge, who are the investigators, and their phone numbers.
2. DOCUMENT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN, AS SOON AS YOU CAN.
Have a friend, family member, or community support come to the scene. Get names and contact information of witnesses. Try to remem- ber as much as you can from the scene. Get badge numbers of officers and record everything you see.
3. YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO TO THE POLICE STATION. DON'T LEAVE THE SCENE.
Police will try to lure you down to the station with promises of more Information. You don’t have to
leave the scene. But if you need to, you can also leave someone you trust at the scene.
4. DON'T GIVE UP ANYTHING WITHOUT A WARRANT.
Anything means cell phone, footage, surveillance footage and any footage. Law enforcement can tamper with the footage and destroy or alter evidence.
5. HAVE ONE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE FAMILY.
Have a spokesperson for the family -- it can be a family member, a friend, a community member from your family speak for you. Tell your loved one’s story before he/she is criminalized in the media. Only talk to the media if it’s a sympathetic reporter. It is important to have a consistent message.
6. IF YOUR LOVED ONE SURVIVES THE SHOOTING, POLICE MAY PLACE CHARGES ON YOUR LOVED ONE. CONNECT WITH YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE.
Don’t have your loved one talk to the police until a defense attorney is present. Protect your loved one from being interrogated by the police.