Peaceful Assembly and Personal Security – Re-upped

I know a number of you all are planning to join one of the various protests, actions, and/or demonstrations that will begin taking place as a result of the President’s family separation policy. So I wanted to re-up the post for anyone that missed it the first several times I posted it. I also saw a tweet, which I can’t find right now, from one of the protesters at the Vice President’s event last week in Ohio who said that the audience assaulted her and other protestors before event security came and escorted them out. So you need to prepare yourself that there may be violence if you protest at this type of event. I would recommend designating one member of your group to begin to record video as soon as the demonstration starts and for that person to do nothing but quietly stand and video events so there is a record and they don’t have to worry about being attacked. And one other person as the dedicated video recording person’s buddy so they can keep their head on a swivel and look out for that person’s wellbeing.

(Originally posted on 18 December 2016)

Congress shall make no law… abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. — Amendment 1, Bill of Rights, US Constitution

One of our readers/commenters emailed me about a week ago and asked if I would put up a post about personal security for those going to peaceably assemble to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. I put a list together and ran it past a select group of our Balloon Juice legal eagles (those I’ve corresponded with before/have corresponded with me, so if you didn’t get asked, don’t be insulted I didn’t want to just impose on you with a cold request) – thank you all for getting back to me. Here’s my list of what I think anyone going to peacefully assemble should do to enhance their personal security.

  1. Go with a buddy, that way you have at least one person looking out for you/watching your back and vice versa.
  2. Carry cash and make sure to carry a valid picture ID!
  3. Bring a pocket flashlight.
  4. Get and wear a go pro that is automatically updating to the cloud.
  5. Bring a pocket charger for your cell phone and go pro regardless of whether it is supposed to be a long day.
  6. Make sure your personal electronic devices all have sufficient password protection and encryption on them. And have them set to upload to the cloud at a regular interval.
  7. Turn off fingerprint access to unlock your phone and delete your finger prints from the memory. Some jurisdictions allow law enforcement to compel you to unlock your phone if it has finger print based access. Or get a disposable phone just for this occasion.
  8. Turn off your phone and other personal electronic devices option to connect to known wifi as it can be used as a way to fail your encryption.
  9. Bring a bandana or neck gaiter and water so you can make a make shift gas mask in case things get out of hand and tear gas or pepper spray is deployed.
  10. Bring a bottle of saline eye rinse in case you need to rinse your eyes out if tear gas or pepper spray is deployed.
  11. Bring plenty of water and some snacks to make sure you’re properly hydrated and you’ve got enough fuel in your system to get through the day.
  12. Dress in layers so you are prepared for the weather and make sure you have good shoes/boots and a change of socks in case they should get wet. A set of silk base layer undersocks is a good idea regardless of the weather. They’ll help keep your feet warm or cool as needed and they’ll provide some protection in case your shoes/boots and socks get wet. And something to keep the back of your neck and your ears warm if you’re going to be someplace cold.
  13. Bring/wear a hat to keep the sun off your head or to keep it warm depending on the weather.
  14. Bring/wear eye protection. Specifically sunglasses that are impact rated. (You should be able to pick up military surplus ones pretty cheap).
  15. Sunscreen, skin moisturizer, and lip balm. Even if its cold you’ll need these.
  16. If you need to take regular/routine prescription medication: bring it in its original container, with the prescription details on the label. If its a gel based application and comes in a packet, make sure you’ve got a hard copy of the prescription with you.
  17. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. You don’t have to be paranoid, but have a sufficient level of situational awareness. If something looks and/or feels hinky or the hair on the back of your neck stands up, head on home or go get a drink or go back to your hotel. Know who and what is around you, keep your valuables in front pockets or in secure/securable purses/bags, and keep those where they can’t be easily snatched or accessed.
  18. Have a contact plan for both linking up and communicating in case one gets separated from anyone you’re with.
  19. Have a contact plan to stay in touch with someone who isn’t at the march, but knows that you’re there and a regular set of contact times.
  20. Have a lawyer you can contact if necessary and that your outside contact could contact if you don’t check in. Make sure you have all of your contact’s phone numbers memorized in case your phone is damaged or taken by law enforcement should the worst happen and you’re arrested.
  21. Bring a sharpie to take down badge numbers if necessary. And if necessary write them on your hand.

Should the worst happen and you get caught up in a peaceable assembly that suddenly turns not so peaceable:

  1. Do not resist law enforcement. Just do what they say, let your arms go limp, and do what you can to avoid a reflex response to resist – that can get you charged with assault on a law enforcement officer.
  2. Be respectful and polite when dealing with the authorities – law enforcement, the National Park Service, whoever.
  3. If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer and then shut up. Do not say anything else or answer any other questions until your lawyer arrives. In fact let the lawyer do the talking.

One last item: some of you probably carry a pocket knife or multitool everywhere. Or everywhere that you’re normally allowed. I would recommend not carrying anything on your possession that could be construed as a concealed weapon or even an openly carried one. Even if you’re in a state/jurisdiction that allows for concealed or open carry of knives and/or other weapons – don’t. Being part of a march or peaceful assembly that turns ugly is not a good time to attempt firearms (or knife) normalization.

Stay Frosty!

165 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Matthew Yglesias
    Matthew Yglesias – Verified account ‏@mattyglesias

    National police union asks Trump to reverse ban on racial profiling, bring back federal prisons, end DACA, etc.
    11:42 AM – 18 Dec 2016 from Washington, DC

  2. 2
    Jon Gallagher says:

    Also, turn off your wifi, or at the very least turn off the option to automatically connect to “known” wifi hotspots.

    Your wifi represents an easy way to break into your phone, if you don’t have it locked down.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: That’s about a week old. At least they’re predictable…

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jon Gallagher: I’ll add that too the list. Good recommendation.

  5. 5
    Schlemazel says:

    Having been gassed the one thing I can tell you is that tear gas will not kill you, it isn’t fun but don’t panic.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    Affinity groups! I ended up alone on the last night of the Republican Convention action in Miami in 1972 and it was no fun at all. They bussed cops in from all over the south, the teargas was flying and no-one wanted anything to do with you if you were alone. I was lucky I didn’t get the shit kicked out of me.

  7. 7
    burnspbesq says:

    Take down badge numbers of misbehaving cops if you can (assuming they aren’t taped over). Bring a Sharpie so you can write them on your hand.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    @Schlemazel: That’s what my DI said while I repeated my service number!

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @burnspbesq: I’ll add it to the list. Next time I cold email you and impose!

  10. 10
    HinTN says:

    Yep, those were good things to consider when we marched on Washington in 1970 and they are equally true/good in the near present/future.

  11. 11
    Schlemazel says:

    @raven: I think this new stuff they have now is worse than the old tear gas. It is miserable but not fatal.

  12. 12
    burnspbesq says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Next time I cold email you and impose!

    We are Jem Hadar. We live to serve.

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @Schlemazel: CS was pretty debilitating but you are probably right.

  14. 14
    Yarrow says:

    Haven’t some states/cities passed bans on videoing cops from closer than X feet?

  15. 15
    Ohio Mom says:

    Sigh. Back when I was a teen in NYC protesting the Viet Nam War, all I took with me was my house key, my subway pass so I wouldn’t have to pay the fare (the pass was issued to me because I needed to take the train to get to high school), and a little pocket money. I did always go with friends though.

    Now that I am an almost old lady, I see the wisdom of this list, and thank you for it, Adam. I think I’ll print it out.

  16. 16
    Brachiator says:

    @Jon Gallagher:

    Also, turn off your wifi, or at the very least turn off the option to automatically connect to “known” wifi hotspots.

    A VPN service might be an option if using wi-fi.

  17. 17
    Yarrow says:

    Also, what’s up with the laws where cops can compel you to unlock your phone with your fingerprint ID? Any idea where that is in effect? Just read Florida also passed – or is trying to pass – a law saying they can make you enter your numeric ID.

    Would a burner phone be a good idea so that you have something with you that doesn’t have your entire life on it?

  18. 18
    celticdragonchick says:

    So how long until we have another Greensboro Massacre event where armed right wing militants gun down a progressive march event?

    I am fairly sure this will be coming.

    I also live in Greensboro…and nobody was convicted of the murders.

  19. 19
    Davis X. Machina says:


    Would a burner phone be a good idea so that you have something with you that doesn’t have your entire life on it?

    Dollar store has a wide variety. Less than a tank of gas if all you want is phone & SMS.

  20. 20
    Woodrowfan says:

    @celticdragonchick: January 21??

  21. 21
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: I have no idea, but I’ve added a recommendation to turn this feature off and delete the fingerprints from memory.

    And yes, a disposable phone might be a good alternative should you decide to go that route.

  22. 22
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Did you get my reply email a few days ago?

  23. 23
  24. 24
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Woodrowfan: Well, we have the bottom estimate :(

  25. 25
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @celticdragonchick: I did, thanks. Things got busy – I apologize for not replying. I’ll shoot a reply across tomorrow AM.

  26. 26
    Schlemazel says:

    The new stuff is much harder on your skin than the old stuff too. Probably should add “keep your cloths buttoned up & as much skin covered as possible. I put hand lotion on my face but I don’t know that it helps all that much

  27. 27
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Hope it helps :)

  28. 28
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I’d buy mine at an ethnic grocery — Sudanese, Somali, or Iraqi.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @celticdragonchick: I’ll fill you in tomorrow. I did appreciate the info.

  30. 30
    NotMax says:

    If a stranger to the area/location, make note of where public rest rooms are.

    Should it come to the crowd actively retreating (and no lethal force employed), walk briskly, don’t run. If others are fleeing by running, move aside as much as possible to let them by.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    raven says:

    And don’t be an idiot and take a kid.

  33. 33
    dexwood says:


    Or a dog.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @raven: My parents took me to the ’68 Democratic Convention protests and look how well I turned out.

  36. 36
    raven says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I was at Lewis getting ready to ship out. That summer there were flyers all over Seattle telling people not to go to Chicago because it was a set up.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:


    Don’t have a cellphone but would guess there’s some kind of app which pinpoints public rest rooms. If not, there ought to be.

  38. 38
    Ithink says:

    Good God, these m’f’ers already have a willing & standing racialized police state ready to eliminate democratic opposition from the face of the country and Combover Caligula hasn’t even been inaugurated.

    Dear God help us all over these four years unless something unthinkable happens to Him before the term expires. And God bless whatever anointed soul runs his sorry ass up out of Washington in 2020; hopefully, do tell, a Democrat!

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    Need it be stated?

    Leave the dang selfie stick at home.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @NotMax: “Rest Rooms” are a big challenge on the Mall on a normal day.

  41. 41
    Politically Lost says:

    Thanks Adam, I excitedly told my wife to surf over to Balloon Juice for our primer on getting ready for the march in DC.

    We’re both nervous and a bit overwhelmed at the thought of flying across the US and taking part in the beginning of our resistance to the Trump nightmare.

  42. 42
    John Revolta says:

    3. If you are arrested, ask for a lawyer and then shut up. Do not say anything else or answer any other questions until your lawyer arrives. In fact let the lawyer do the talking.

    This. Always this. Do Not Talk to Cops. Don’t go “Hey, I didn’t do anything, I don’t have anything to worry about”. Not even if they’re nice guys. Especially if they’re nice guys. Do. Not.

  43. 43
    NotMax says:


    All that ubiquitous bottled water has to end up somewhere. )

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Revolta: By not talking, you give criminal defense lawyers as much to work with as possible.

  45. 45
    raven says:

    @NotMax: We are talking about the Million Women March, no?

  46. 46
    trollhattan says:

    2016 is not done. R.I.P. Zsa Zsa

    FY 2016

  47. 47
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Politically Lost: You are quite welcome. Happy to do it for you all.

  48. 48
    Steve in the ATL says:


    Don’t have a cellphone

    is this your official entry for the BJ Curmudgeon of the Year contest?

  49. 49
    trollhattan says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    My diesel-powered analogue phone will impress and befuddle.

  50. 50
    NotMax says:


    Dunno, are we? January weather being what it is, hoping they have a clear, dry day.

    Do they still sell the little ‘pocket heaters?’ Used to have one that used lighter fluid* and worked for many hours until needed refilling – probably are battery operated ones now. Good for hand warming.

    *Brought to November Moratorium gatherings and such back in the day.

  51. 51
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @trollhattan: If Raven were still up, he’d weigh in with his two tin cans connected by a string

  52. 52
    Schlemazel says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I had a law class that was taught by the former County Attorney and he made a joke out of conversations he had when he was a defense attorney.
    Lawyer: “What did you say to the police?”
    client; “Stupid and or incriminating stuff
    Lawyer: “Did they read you your rights?”
    Client “Yes”
    Lawyer: “This is important, do you remember what they said?”
    Client: “You have the right to remain silent”
    Lawyer “STOP! STOP RIGHT THERE! They told you you had the right to remain silent, why didn’t you?!”

  53. 53
    NotMax says:

    @Steve in the ATL

    Competition is stiff; one makes us of what one has.      ;)

  54. 54
  55. 55
    Another Scott says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The Toe Warmers are excellent, also too.

    Thanks for the list. Here’s hoping that it won’t be necessary in January (or going forward…).


  56. 56
    Schlemazel says:

    BTW – the “keep your mouth shut” rule extends beyond the cops. When we lived in Florida the police used to perp walk suspects across the parking lot so as to give the news crews a chance to stick a camera & microphone in their face & ask “Why did you do it?” Some people were stupid enough to say why.

    There was a case of two guys jumping & beating a waiter. The guys were walked & said the waiter had jumped them (stupid but it gets worse). Their dates got walked next & when asked they stated the waiter had it coming because he was an uppity n****r who didn’t speak nicely enough to them.

  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: A request was made based on my expertise with security issues. Happy to oblige. And yes, the toe warmers are nice too.

  58. 58
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Schlemazel: I had an appointed criminal case where the client and I went to view the prosecutor’s video evidence.

    Me: Whatever you do, DON’T SAY ANYTHING.
    [Prosecutor plays surveillance video of crime being perpetrated]
    Client: Hey–that’s me!!!
    Me: [head/desk]

  59. 59
    PhoenixRising says:

    Your affinity group needs one of a bunch of those things for the 6-10 of you.

    You don’t have an affinity group, you say? Get one.

    If there aren’t 5 people who agree with you who have planned the action in advance, you’re not ready.

    We didn’t win citizenship for gay people, and our parents didn’t win the Voting Rights Act, by assembling as a bunch of strangers. The association rights buried in 1A are critical to its wise and effective use.

  60. 60
    EBT says:

    Free Speech Zones will seem downright quaint soon.

  61. 61
    Yarrow says:

    @EBT: Free speech will seem downright quaint soon.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Schlemazel: Exactly. It can be so frustrating.

  63. 63
    Mike in NC says:

    Fascism Winter is coming.

  64. 64
    mike in dc says:

    I’m imagining all of the type of crisis scenarios that presidents face:
    1. Mass shooting
    2. Terrorist attack
    3. Foreign crisis
    4. Police brutality incident and civil unrest
    5. Economic crisis

    I can’t imagine Trump responding well/appropriately to any of them. The China thing will just be Exhibit 2, right after the Russian hacks. Mass protest is definitely required, but it’s more targeted at recruiting public support and challenging media complacency than with any realistic expectation that top GOP leadership will be responsive(with the probable exception of stuff impacting seniors).

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Me: Whatever you do, DON’T SAY ANYTHING.
    [Prosecutor plays surveillance video of crime being perpetrated]
    Client: Hey–that’s me!!!
    Me: [head/desk]

    I am laughing so hard right now. It’s funny because it’s true.

  66. 66
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    @raven: My DI said the same thing.

  67. 67
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    @burnspbesq: Yay, Deep Space Nine

  68. 68
    Steeplejack (tablet) says:


    Hilarious bit from comedian Ron White: “I had the right to remain silent. But I didn’t have the ability.” YouTube his “Tater Salad” set.

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFBayAreaGal: I think it is part of the script.

  70. 70
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    @raven: I was stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA. 9th Supply and Transport

  71. 71
  72. 72
    Gravenstone says:

    @NotMax: Most contemporary hand warmers now use a redox reaction as iron filings turn into rust (seriously). Just tear open the plastic envelope and give them a good shake to mix the ingredients with air. They’ll keep giving off heat for several hours.

  73. 73
    SFBayAreaGal says:


  74. 74
    burnspbesq says:


    I still find it enormously impressive that Avery Brooks had the range to play both Sisko and Hawk.

  75. 75
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    @burnspbesq: Agree 100%. He is a great actor. To this day I have a big crush on him.

  76. 76
    burnspbesq says:

    Phone numbers to have with you at all times if you’re going to a protest in DC:

    (800) 341-2582 (DC Public Defender)
    (202) 208-7500 (Federal PD)

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: Program them into your phone.

  78. 78
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @efgoldman: It’s so true that it’s both funny and unfunny at once. Gallows humor in its (originally) literal sense. Arrested people totally lack the ability to remain silent, no matter how many times they’ve been told they have the right to remain silent.

    @Omnes Omnibus: Write them down as well so you have them if your phone is confiscated.

  79. 79
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    And write them on your arm with a Sharpie. You can get separated from your phone.

  80. 80

    Make sure the encryption on your phone is fully enabled. If the encryption does not cover the MicroSD card (for those that have them) remove the card and do not bring it with you.
    Do NOT use a pattern unlock or fingerprints.
    Use a PIN, or preferably a complex alpha-numeric password.

    My phone will wipe the memory and the SD card if the phone is rebooted and the password is entered wrong 3 times. I only need to hit the enter key 3 times (without entering any text) after reboot, and the phone wipes.
    Use a file-encryption app that works with your cloud, and configure it to automatically encrypt new photos, video, and audio. This should be done in addition to the device encryption.

    Get a VPN service. They aren’t generally expensive. Upload encrypted pictures or video to a cloud service that you only use for that purpose, and make sure that your offsite friend and your lawyer can access the cloud service and nobody else. Make sure the password for the cloud is different from your phone. Make sure the password for the file encryption is different from both your phone and your cloud. Lastly, make sure the password for VPN is different from all of them.
    Be sure you test and verify all these functions prior to going to a protest or other scheduled event.
    Change your passwords and PINs regularly.

    Practice entering your password/PIN holding the phone close to your body. You don’t want them catching your PIN from a surveillance video, and there WILL be surveillance at a protest.

    Park your car several blocks away and do not walk directly to or from it. Better yet, use public transport if you can.

    Do not carry bottled water. A water bottle could be used as a weapon and you don’t want that claim made against you. If you drop it, you could be arrested for littering. Get a Camelbak or similar.

  81. 81
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Drunk? Hopped up on goofballs? It wasn’t my weekend to watch her.

    OTOH, the Packers won again, I got a lot of X-mas shopping done, and got to watch World Cup skiing tonight. I am in a rather good place (comparatively, given the overall circs right now) at the moment.

  82. 82
  83. 83
    Botsplainer says:

    I’d carry a decent snorkel/scuba mask for eye protection and to cut back on gas going up the nose, once the canisters start flying. The mask will form a decent protective seal and the poly lenses will be more protective of eyes.

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:


    Better yet, use public transport if you can.

    The last three stations on the Metro Orange line–West Falls Church, Dunn Loring, and Vienna–all have massive parking lots.

  85. 85
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Botsplainer: I still have my army gas mask. OTOH, that makes it look like I came looking for trouble.

  86. 86
    Another Scott says:

    @burnspbesq: So, what’s the protocol on something like this, say on January 21 in DC? Suppose I’m herded into a police van and arrested. I don’t have a lawyer, I don’t know any defense attorneys, but I certainly make more than enough to successfully claim that I need a Public Defender. It’s kinda hard to do a Google search in a jail cell, I imagine. :-/

    I just say to the cops, “I want a lawyer” and shut up, and then what? Does calling my wife count as my “one phone call”? Does the spouse get the “fun” of figuring out how all this works?

    Seeing “The Good Wife” and similar shows on TV makes me think that having a PD is one step up from representing one’s self (because they’re overworked, have no time to talk with their clients, etc.). :-(

    Is there a “Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being Arrested at a Public Protest” out there somewhere? This has a promising title, but doesn’t seem to offer many helpful specifics.



  87. 87
    Botsplainer says:


    A rash guard/skin suit would be just the thing. Australians use them to avoid jellyfish tendrils. It’s essentially a lycra cover with an SPF factor.

  88. 88
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott: Generally, a public defender will do the initial stuff. When you price out of their services, you will need to find a private attorney.

  89. 89
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It wasn’t anybody’s weekend to watch me – which is why I had a brunch of Christmas cookies and rum and Coke, provided by our former next door neighbors. They offered Mr. Q coffee, understanding that one of us had to drive. And I still wish efgoldman had wondered where I was.

  90. 90
    EBT says:

    @Another Scott: An *actual* public defender has a much higher success rate than a private lawyer. Chances are you won’t get an actual public defender as these positions are rare and most localities don’t want to pay for them. What you get is someone drafted to defend you, who probably resents you.

  91. 91
    Mike J says:

    Clayton Cubitt ‏@claytoncubitt 1 hour ago
    Don’t pin your hopes on:

    3 lottery ticket
    2 The rhythm method
    1️ The moral compass of Republican electors to the Electoral College

  92. 92
    burnspbesq says:

    @Another Scott:

    I certainly make more than enough to successfully claim that I need a Public Defender.

    Don’t know for certain, but my guess is that when the shit is hitting the fan, they will act first and ask for a financial statement later. If they represent you at your first interaction with the system, and later find out that you are not sufficiently indigent, my guess would be that they will ask for reimbursement at some rate that doesn’t come close to adequately compensating them for the value they add–and you will pay it immediately and gratefully.

  93. 93

    @burnspbesq: If your car is parked in a transit parking lot, what are your rights? Here in UT, the UTA lots all have signs that parking there constitutes consent to search.

  94. 94
    John Harrold says:

    It may take a while but if you are unlawfully detained and you maintain your cool you can win in the end. I was in DC to basically do tech support for some protests back in 2002 (I was part of the Pittsburgh indymedia folks). I got caught up in a mass arrest and spent a day and a half on a bus and on the floor of a gym with my hand zip-tied to my ankle. It turned out pretty well in the end. After about 8 years I got close to $20k in the class action lawsuit.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): LAO is a pure defense girl. No prosecution taint. None of my even-handed clerk’s stuff. Don’t take it personally. Besides, it seems like things went well.

  96. 96
    Botsplainer says:

    Another thought – Construction masks, with. HEPA filters. 3M makes a good one. Wouldn’t be perfect for gas if eyes are exposed (maybe competitive swim goggles with the filter mask would be good).

  97. 97
    Steve in the ATL says:


    What you get is someone drafted to defend you, who probably resents you.

    Exactly–someone like me, a labor and employment lawyer who knows and cares little about criminal defense law and resents being pulled away from the lucrative practice I can do in my sleep to handle something I am totally unskilled at and which requires me to hang around dumpy local courtrooms, low end solicitors, and scummy (mostly) criminal defendants.

    And I can’t wear a nice suit to this sort of thing–I have to go get a shitty one from Men’s Wearhouse, and some Florsheim shoes…[shudder] the horror, the horror….

  98. 98
    trollhattan says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Ooh, the LG FLBJ model!

  99. 99
    burnspbesq says:

    ETA: It’s also highly likely that DC will be overrun by BigLaw white collar lawyers supervising small armies of associates working pro bono. That’s the closest a BigLaw litigation associate is likely to get to an actual courtroom for the first five years of his/her career.

  100. 100
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Crim defense is best done by people who want to do it.

  101. 101
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Indeed, and I try to gently remind the judiciary here of that fact….

  102. 102
    Yarrow says:

    @Botsplainer: Haven’t some places passed laws making it illegal to wear masks in public?

  103. 103
    Botsplainer says:

    @Another Scott:

    If you’re herded into a police van, keep your cool until processing. Silence is the rule, even with friends so long as anyone is in earshot. Speak nothing of your offense, but be cooperative on the processing end – let them know glfamilynmember names, employment, military service, income. The processing guys are just doing theirnjobs, and they’re not radicalized yet. They’re actually kind of the good guys in the system, and eliciting sympathy from them can get you to a release on recognizance or a lower bond.

    Insist on careful inventory of your personal items, partucularly jewelry. They won’t generally rip you off, but it identifies you as somebody who doesn’t really have a history of arrests – they’ll feel some sympathy for you and act accordingly.

    Once in custody with a number of prisoners, punch the toughest one in the face (just kidding)…

  104. 104
    burnspbesq says:


    the UTA lots all have signs that parking there constitutes consent to search.

    Might be fun to see whether that’s enforceable.

  105. 105
    EBT says:

    @Steve in the ATL: It’s like the start of Ghostbusters 2. Lewis Tully is a tax attorney, not a defense attorney with felony experience and he tries to tell them such and it goes to hell.

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: Someone who is used to a 60 hour week and is neurotic about winning. You’ll get best efforts if not expertise.

  107. 107
    Botsplainer says:


    A dust mask may not count. And a scuba/snorkel mask may not fit all the criteria.

  108. 108
    Botsplainer says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Entitled snot. *chortle*

    I still dabble in criminal work, but nowhere near what I used to.

  109. 109
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @efgoldman: Busted! I just wanted to whine. : )

    @Omnes Omnibus: In such a situation, I’d personally prefer expertise, but I’m kind of a biased sample.

  110. 110
    magurakurin says:


    Do they still sell the little ‘pocket heaters?

    I have one of these, Hakkin pocket warmer. $25 dollars at Amazon.

  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Botsplainer: Oddly, I like criminal work, but my career opportunities have moved me away from that direction. If I could move to a pure Crim D career, I would be happy.

  112. 112
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    A wicked-smart kid is better than nothing.

  113. 113
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:


    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Crim defense is best done by people who want to do it.

    And who know how

    Knowing how being the critical element, in my view.

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): I agree with you, but a BigLaw brain and “I want to be a partner; choose me” attitude can get results. I spent a bit of time at Baker-Hostetler

  115. 115
    Yarrow says:

    Have any of the organizers of the march in D.C. on Jan 21 addressed any of these issues? Is there a FAQ or anything? Seems like that might be a good thing to add to their list. Are they bringing in lawyers or connecting with local lawyers to be on call if needed?

  116. 116
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    Haven’t read any comments yet – but just want to say this is terrific, Adam. So helpful. I’m starting a group here based on Aleta’s info last night. and have bookmarked this for us.

  117. 117
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Wanting to and knowing how tend to be related.

  118. 118
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Fair enough. And attitude of that type is useful in a situation where experienced talent may be scarce on the ground.

    @Omnes Omnibus: Equally fair and accurate observation…

    With that, I’m off. And besides that, I’m calling it a night…

  119. 119
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Calling it here soon as well.

  120. 120
    Larkspur says:

    Lots of good practical advice and important legal issues being discussed. Thank you. Is there anyone in charge of chanting? What I mean is, we’re each in charge of chanting (it’s a DIY ad hoc kind of thing), so we should be thinking of catchier stuff than the usual “What do we want? When do we want it?” and “The people united / can never be divided!”

    I remember some real old ones, but they wouldn’t be appropriate. Actually, they were never appropriate. “Put down the bassinet! Pick up the bayonet! Put down detergent! Become an insurgent! The only solution is revolution!”

    One was so callow back then. Well, this one was.

  121. 121
    Jeffro says:


    Haven’t some places passed laws making it illegal to wear masks in public?

    Ah, but have they thought about longbows & a quiver full of arrows…next month, say, down at the Capitol…heritage, not hate!

  122. 122
    Larkspur says:

    Okay, well, good night.

  123. 123
    Botsplainer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    There is generally a predictability that I appreciate and the clients aren’t near as whiny as my entitled brat family law peeps.

    I occasionally get called on by the criminal guys in my shop to consult. I’m pretty respected as a technician on gyrations around the rules of evidence, and do really solid instruction work using phrases outside the box.

  124. 124
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Larkspur: I am a lawyer. I offer legal advice. Effective protests? Just be obviously opposed to the asshole, is all I can say.

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Botsplainer: I have had a guy come into my office and say “I got busted on a legit search. What can you do?” A pro asking for a pro’s work. Did a plea deal. Everyone was happy.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    skerry says:

    @efgoldman: Any meds should be in a properly labelled container from the pharmacy. A friend was arrested for carrying loose pills (in Maryland).

  128. 128
    FoxinSocks says:

    I actually protested in front of the White House last night. I joined the #turnout protest, then went back and protested by myself against Russian interference in the election (my sign said, “Nyet to Russia, Nyet to Trump, Yes to the USA).

    Protesting in DC is different than other cities. The police are used to it and the laws are set up to accommodate freedom of assembly. I walked up to one of the officers guarding the White House and asked if I could stand on the sidewalk and hold up my sign. The officer looked at my sign, seemed half-way between amused and supportive, and gave me a nod. I then stood, utterly quiet, for the next hour and a half. I was surprised by how successful it was. A lot of people took photos, which I asked them to share on social media. One lady interviewed me for Facebook Live. A group of little girls read my sign and started shouting, “No to Trump.” Plan on going back on Tuesday, my protest of one.

  129. 129
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: Good catch, I’ll update up top.

  130. 130
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Shiny, clean, and new open thread is up!

  131. 131
    opiejeanne says:

    @efgoldman: While I understand the impulse to be there, I hope you can convince them to stay home if they’re not going to be called as witnesses; nothing good will come of them being there.

  132. 132
    tobie says:

    @FoxinSocks: Thanks for this. I’m surprised at the sense of danger regarding the women’s march in DC on Jan 21 in this thread. The organizers have gotten a permit. This is not an illegal protest, and as long as you remain on the permitted route, you shouldn’t have any problems. At least not from the police. Will Trumpanzees show up? That would be my one worry.

  133. 133
    Origuy says:

    If you wear contact lenses, leave them at home and wear glasses. If you get arrested, they won’t have a case and solution. If you get gassed, contacts will just make things worse.

  134. 134
    opiejeanne says:

    @tobie: Your other worry should be anarchists. They cause major disruptions using violence, and the press flocks to them and will cover them rather than the peaceful legal marchers.

  135. 135
    Yarrow says:

    @tobie: I think everything is different if/when Trump is inaugurated. Everything. I have little confidence that typical norms that would protect people, like permits, will make much difference. The goal of authoritarians is to stifle dissent and consolidate control. They will use any means necessary.

    All it takes is some instigators to join the crowd. Suddenly violence breaks out and the police “have to” step in. The protesters are deemed violent and the police and any other authorities start locking them up. The actual protesters may not have started it, but they’ll be blamed. By design.

    Being aware and prepared is the best defense.

  136. 136
    Redshift says:

    @mike in dc:

    Mass protest is definitely required, but it’s more targeted at recruiting public support and challenging media complacency than with any realistic expectation that top GOP leadership will be responsive(with the probable exception of stuff impacting seniors).

    I don’t think anyone is expecting anything from the GOP. I agree the main goals are showing there is opposition, making connections, and perhaps stiffening the spines of some Democratic officials.

    We can’t have a resistance movement if we’re not willing to publicly resist.

  137. 137
    opiejeanne says:

    @efgoldman: I definitely understand their holding a grudge like precious diamonds, sometimes I’m that way for serious stuff, but this is something I don’t think I’d ever forgive. They could be at the sentencing, but if something goes wrong and the moron gets a light sentence or less, it will nearly destroy them if he smirks at them. Not that either would go down the road that Ellie Nesler took.

  138. 138
    Larkspur says:


    Your other worry should be anarchists. They cause major disruptions using violence, and the press flocks to them and will cover them rather than the peaceful legal marchers.

    This is a really important point to remember. Thanks for bringing it up.

  139. 139
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @opiejeanne: how’d it go? Did the Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! video clip help?

  140. 140
    Yarrow says:

    @mike in dc:
    Other types of crises scenarios:
    6. Major national disaster (large and damaging earthquake, tornadoes, hurricane)
    7. National tragedy (like the space shuttle exploding)
    8. Failed endeavor (like failed rescue of Iran hostages; Bay of Pigs)

    I’m sure there are plenty more but there are a lot of things that face a president. I can’t imagine him handling any of them well, with grace, calm, competence and reassurance for the nation.

  141. 141
    FoxinSocks says:

    @tobie: Thanks, tobie. I feel like a protest newb so sometimes I wonder if I’m off base. From my limited experience, unless Trump tries to violently suppress dissent right out of the gate, which is possible, there shouldn’t be any teargassing or arrests at the women’s march.

    It’s not even a question of an ‘illegal protest.’ I don’t think there’s such a thing and that’s not an approach DC seems to take. There’s only illegal tactics. To give some idea of the DC police’s attitude, the #turnout protest had a permit to march in the streets from the Washington Monument to the White House. Once there, a smaller group of us decided to walk to Trump Hotel, which we didn’t have a permit for.

    We marched along the sidewalk, which I learned is allowed unless you block people. A number of our group then decided to take to the streets again and impede traffic. At that point, those protesters were in violation of the law. What did the police do? Nothing. The wayward protesters made their way back to the sidewalk and we kept going.

    Now if the protesters had refused to vacate the street or hadn’t heeded a police warning, there would’ve been arrests. But the police seem to give you a couple of warnings before they do that. Again, not sure what it’s like in other cities, but in DC, the police seem pretty relaxed. Unless you rush a barricade. Don’t do that. That’s bad.

  142. 142
    opiejeanne says:

    @Larkspur: mr opiejeanne’s brother was in St Paul to observe protests outside the National Republican Convention for an online newsgroup, and he and a friend left just before the incident on the bridge when the cops were yelling at the protesters to get off the bridge, but blocked them at both ends and started arresting them and roughing them up. He said they started getting phone calls from people trapped on the bridge when they were at the airport.
    Before he left he had observed some anarchists putting on a show for the press on a side street that crossed the route of the protest and then joining the protest which had been peaceful if noisy until then.

  143. 143
    opiejeanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yes. Although I misidentified one attendee, and possibly a second. I called one guy Roger Moore but he may be James … can’t think of the last name. Dammit. I think that was James.
    James E. Powell!

    I blame the drugs.

  144. 144
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @opiejeanne: Glad it went well, more or less. Who are you again?//

  145. 145
    opiejeanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It went fine while we were there. It was identifying the people in the photo afterwards that went badly. Mnemosyne, NelDob (I didn’t hear her very well, thought she said Nora), James E. Powell, Cthulhu, Ruckus, and BillInGlendale. Nice people, I wish it were a little quieter because it was hard to hear the people farther down the table.

  146. 146
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @efgoldman: No one actually listens to anyone else here on the site. Why should they do it in meat world?

  147. 147
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m too bed. You all have a good night.

  148. 148

    Remember that many police departments have the Stingray cell phone tracker technology at their disposal. Your phone may be jammed or tracked, even broken into. This, however, must be balanced against the value of cell devices present at a demonstration. Cell phones, unfortunately, are insecure, and I doubt any of them resist breakins. Depending on your technical skills, it might be best to have other types of transmitters at your disposal; it is unlikely that all can be jammed. Film has advantages, too: while it can be taken from you, it at least cannot be remotely altered.

  149. 149

    @opiejeanne: Don’t forget provocateurs, police or security agents that provoke violence so as to provide excuses for the brutal shutdown of a protest.

  150. 150
    Redshift says:

    @FoxinSocks: Yeah, over the years, the DC police have learned from experience (and lawsuits), and have a lot more standard procedure for dealing with protests. They seem generally inclined to avoid making trouble for protesters unless they’re going out of their way to attract it.

    Now, if the media ignore mass protests as much as they did in the run up to the Iraq War, then we may need to make trouble, but until we get to that point, DC is probably one of the least hazardous places in the country to protest.

  151. 151
    tarragon says:


    I always though Deep Space Nice would be a better, but shorter, series with Hawk instead of Cisco.

  152. 152
    J R in WV says:


    If the nation’s capitol has policies and procedures for protests, it would seem to me that other cities expecting protests ought to consult with the nation’s DC Metro Police forces as how to best legally deal with protesters.

    If they don’t follow those procedures, or very similar procedures, they would fail to follow established best procedures, like doctors ignoring sterile procedure for surgery, that would be actionable. you would have an easy job showing that whatever the police did was wrong, not legal, not SOP as established by the best case protest handlers.

    My last big protest was November of 1969 in DC, one of the biggest anti-war movement actions. I was a marshal directing bus traffic at an organizing church… I was 18. Then I wandered around the city until I found the folks building the stage for the concert protest the next day, and worked all night with that bunch. Got a back stage pass, was allowed in the area immediately in front of the stage for staff.

    Got to meet the cast of Hair, saw Richie Havens, all the other performers, all a dazed memory as I missed a lot of sleep. It was really really cold that weekend… We used Noxema creme on our faces to prevent burns from the CS. I was never in the middle of that, but enough was used that it was everywhere.

    Then I got drafted… etc. Don’t remember how I got back to where ever I went afterwards, probably caught a ride with someone towards Carlisle, where I was in school.

  153. 153
    fuckwit says:

    We are all Occupy now.

  154. 154
    Baud says:

    @fuckwit: I hope we’re not that worthless.

  155. 155
    HeidiMom says:

    @J R in WV: @J R in WV: Dickinson College? I was in the class of ’73.

  156. 156
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Politically Lost: Good for you and the other BJ commenters who will be out there protesting Trump. I hope all of the anti-Trump protests get loads of publicity so that his supporters get the clear message that there is no wellspring of goodwill towards the Bigot-in-Chief. He doesn’t have a mandate and he will face fierce opposition when he starts to roll back civil rights.

    And a big “no” to Nicole Kidman, Steve Harvey, Mark Wahlberg and others who are trying to get us to accept Trump. No. He is not our President. #NeverTrump.

  157. 157
    sigaba says:

    Shoot, a guy could have a pretty good time in Vegas with all that stuff.

  158. 158
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    wear a bike helmet/hard hat to protect against nightstick attacks?

  159. 159
    maurinsky says:

    I am going to DC even though I really hate crowds and I have a physical disability. I will be at the back of the march, picking up the rear.

    I have also signed up to be an administrator for a chapter of Action Together Network (in Hartford CT).

    I’ve never been this motivated to cause trouble for an elected official before.

  160. 160
    Woodrowfan says:

    A DC meetup would be nice again. Maybe in Arlington

  161. 161
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Larkspur: From vague memories of the Sixties, civil rights marchers sang. A good song raises spirits, keeps a consistent message. It also prevents folks from editing things so you sound nastier than you really are.

  162. 162
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Patricia Kayden: They will. The protests are spread out this time so that everyone could participate. That means they will get at least local publicity, even if national TV wimps out. And C-SPAN will at least do radio coverage. And this time we have You-Tube, so I expect a lot of footage will be uploaded to the cloud for others to watch/hear.

  163. 163
    Feathers says:

    It does seem crazy to be reading these tips for a protest that I’m going to with fellow knitters (in Boston) wearing the hats we knit for the occasion.

    One thing about the Trump years is, how will the police behave? Between the BLM backlash and the FBI NY office coup to put Donald in office, it seems the country made a huge mistake in valorizing the police to the extent we do. I am a big film noir fan and there is a constant unquestioned assumption that the police are corrupt and as likely to be in cahoots with the gangsters as the upright citizens. Interesting how noir died out as a genre in the sixties as crime became “black” and the police became “law and order.”

  164. 164
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Actually I’m more worried about non-police actors. Women don’t have the gene for mindless aggro (throw a trash can through a window to start the revolution), but some guys may see an opportunity to start something anyway. Random deplorables may try to hassle lone women coming and going from the march, so travel in groups.

    Of course, you should ignore anyone who wants to start something violent or stupid. There will be undercover cops in the crowd, and maybe even a few folks who want to do something exciting to earn their pay.

  165. 165
    rikyrah says:

    #9 & 10 really disgust me- that they have to be included

Comments are closed.