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LAS VEGAS -- A group critical of police is warning downtown visitors of what they're calling police harassment. The group known as “Cop Block” said it feels that police are overstepping their authority, so they want people to know their rights.
Cop Block is a nationwide movement, and their main goal is to be an advocate for individual rights, so the group likes to hand out flyers with a series of suggestions on how to handle interactions with police authorities.
However, this group, which said they're not an officer hating group, is highly controversial. Their websites have articles on it that talk about when it's ok to shoot an officer, along with ties to accused cop killers, Jared and Amanda Miller.
“I don't advocate violence. I've never advocated violence. I've never been in a violent protest, but there are steps that are essentially moved toward a police state,” Kelly Patterson, a member of the Nevada chapter of Cop Block said.
Kelly went on to say that the millers were two lone radicals that were not affiliated with Cop Block.
The group said it's handing out these flyers because of an increase in run-ins with police and the alleged harassment people see downtown.
“That flyer is basically a ‘know your rights' flyer. It's meant to educate people on what their rights are,” Kelly Patterson, a member of the Nevada chapter of Cop Block said.
Patterson said there's a systemic problem that exists between police and the public.
“I'm advocating for them to be accountable; for them to do reasonable investigations when things appear questionable,” Patterson said.
Patterson even showed 8 News NOW some video that was released on YouTube back in March of this year. It shows a man, who claimed to be a rapper approached by police as he walks along Fremont Street. Moments later, he was put into handcuffs. The man repeatedly asked the officer if he was being detained, however, the reason for the stop was never stated at any time on the video.
We reached out to Metro Police, but they didn't have anyone available to talk about the alleged harassment, or the flyers being handed out downtown.
A spokesperson did tell us that the department was aware of the flyers and they agree with the information on them. The flyers five suggestions for people to take in consideration when they come into contact with officers consist of:
Record your interaction on camera.
Do not talk to the police or answer questions.
Ask whether you are being detained, if not leave.
Never consent to a search.
Be polite, but firm.
We caught up with Stephen Stubbs, a local attorney, and he said that's sound legal advice.
“If you want to talk to police, talk to police. The fact is that you don't have to. The supreme court has said very clearly that you do not have to talk to police,” he said.