Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival

After Michael Brown’s death, an important infographic, “10 Rules of Survival If Stopped by the Police,” was developed by David Miller, founder of The Dare To Be King Project.

In partnership with CTS, WFYI, and Trinity UCC (on the south side of Chicago), SALT took Miller’s rules and created an Emmy-nominated short film to bring this critical information to an even wider audience.

There’s a tragic character to this film, and to Miller’s rules: they’re both a) profoundly necessary, an act of practical wisdom and love, and b) an eloquent, devastating indictment of a society in which such rules would be necessary at all. And it’s also true, of course, that the realities of injustice and racism make following such rules no guarantee of safety.

When New York Times columnist Charles Blow shared this film, many pointed out that the rules effectively outline “the talk” many African American families feel they must have with their children. This fact alone, along with the rules’ continued relevance today, is cause for outrage, heartbreak, and galvanizing repentance.

Please take a moment to share this film with your friends, your family, your community of faith, your school, and so on. It’s available for free download here, for use in online worship (or any other use). Just look down and to the right for the “download” button.

With peace, love, anger, and hope,

The SALT Team


Here are the rules:

10 Rules of Survival If Stopped by the Police

1. Be polite and respectful when stopped by the police. Keep your mouth closed – remember that your goal is to get home safely.

2. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you and your parents have the right to file a formal complaint with your local police jurisdiction.

3. Do not – under any circumstances – get into an argument with the police.

4. Always remember that anything you say or do can be used against you in court.

5. Keep your hands in plain sight. Make sure the police can see your hands at all times.

6. Avoid physical contact with police officers. Do not make any sudden movements. Keep your hands out of your pockets.

7. Do not run even if you are afraid.

8. Even if you believe that you are innocent, do not resist arrest.

9. If you are arrested, do not make any statements about the incident until you are able to meet with a lawyer or public defender.

10. Stay calm and remain in control. Watch your words, watch your body language, and watch your emotions. Remember that your goal is to get home safely.
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