How would police typically respond if one did not respond to their question?
Probably depends on how one did it.
Running away is likely to escalate things to the next level. There are all kinds of reactions that can give a cop reasonable suspicion to detain you, depending on the circumstances.
Rudely glaring at the cop while deliberately walking past her might not be an escalation so far as the law is concerned, but might turn it into a “contempt of cop” situation in the officer’s mind. She could escalate things regardless of whether it was lawful to do so. It would suck to be you, regardless.
Declining to engage with non-confrontational body language is much more likely to be met with the appropriate level of restraint.
Thanks (for the response and the great series)!
What sort of body language would be appropriate in such a circumstance? In other words, what form constitutes “non-confrontational”? A quick wave of the hand and a shake of the head? A shoulder shrug?
Would a polite “No, thank you” be sufficient for situations like this? Not to ask for legal advice, but what is the most accepted way to politely refuse that doesn’t expose one to physical or legal liability?
Confrontations with police have never happened to me, so I am asking mainly out of curiosity.
Or is this about to be covered in the coming installments?
Sorry about the numerous questions on this, but as with so many in this blog this topic is fascinating! :)
If a cop stops you and questions you, I don’t know if many people would feel free to walk away – or how many cops would actually let them, for that matter.
Frankly, declining to reply to what seems to be an officer’s reasonable, innocent, non-accusatory question (which is probably the best you can expect, of what an officer could ask), without an obviously good reason (“sorry, I’m in need of a restroom, but I can answer afterwards if you like”), might itself be odd enough to warrant further discussion.
A comment, though (cops are people too), you could probably ignore with a nod, followed by finding an excuse to not stand there anymore.