Polynesian Community Gets Workshop in Dealing with Police
In wake of Tasi shooting, lawyers explain basic rights
ANCHORAGE - A workshop called “Know And Use Your Rights When Dealing With The Police” was held at the Boys and Girls club in Mountain View Thursday night.
The Polynesian Community Center organized the event and about 30 people came to listen to Anchorage lawyers talk about basic rights.
Both police and groups within the Polynesian community have been working together to create a better relationship after the June 9 shooting death of 26-year-old Shane Tasi by an Anchorage police officer.
“We find that often when somebody knows their rights and is able to express them in a polite but appropriate way, often a situation that could become problematic is often diffused,” said attorney Jeff Mittman with the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU is helping people in the Polynesian community better understand how to engage with police.
“Any one of us driving down the road, we see those flashing lights go off and they pull us over, we're nervous we're stressed out,” said Anchorage attorney Barbara Brink.
At the meeting the most basic of rights were discussed.
“Lets say the police officer says ‘where are you going, where have you been what are you doing?’ You might choose to answer all those questions, but if you don't want to you don't have to,” said Brink.
The right to privacy was a main talking point.
“In general, unless the police have probable cause to believe that you have committed a crime and they get a search warrant, you don't have to let them search anything and that includes your car,” said Brink.
One community member talked about his son who he says was shot and killed by police in California. He was there with family and friends to learn more about their rights in Alaska.
“We do believe that education is the number one tool that we can use in preventing violence,” said Georgine Aumoeualogo with the Polynesian Community Center.
“We want to make sure they know what their basic rights are so they can be comfortable with police,” she said.