The Wisdom of “The Festival Lawyer”

As a criminal defense attorney, the constitutionality of police activity is an issue that comes up repeatedly in my practice.  It is also an issue that is just as important for my clients to understand it is for me to understand.  I recently stumbled upon a blog that addressed a type of situation where it is especially important to know your rights vis a vis the police: the crowded public event.  “The Festival Lawyer” is a contributor on the blog Showbans, a blog dealing with concerts and music festivals.  The post I’ve linked to does a great job of detailing what to do if you’re stopped or approached by police while at a concert, music festival, or pretty much any event that draws a large crowd.  This advice is important for a few reasons.  First, while a police encounter can be a frightening and intimidating experience in general, it can be even more so when it takes place in the context of a crowded event.  Police are inclined to be more agressive and close-minded when they are involved in crowd control.  As a result, someone attending an event where there is, say, widespread alcohol consumption and/or illegal drug use needs to be aware that the police might be highly assertive and combative.  Second, it is important to know that a person’s right to be free from unreasonable police conduct is not diminished simply because the police have an interest in crowd control.  For example, a police officer cannot stop a person unless they have a reasonable suspicion that that person has engaged in a criminal act.  This is true whether the person is walking down the street on a Wednesday afternoon, whether they are tailgating at a Packers game, or whether they are checking out the main stage at Summerfest.  To learn more about what to do if approached by the police at a crowded event, check out “The Festival Layer”:

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