'10 Rules for Dealing with Police' seeks to teach constitutional rights

DIRECT: The film dispenses free legal advice with no-holds-barred dialogue.
DIRECT: The film dispenses free legal advice with no-holds-barred dialogue. (Rich Winkler -- Flexyourrights.org)
By DeNeen L. Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 25, 2010

The short film "10 Rules for Dealing With Police" opens with an unfortunate but common scene: A young black man in a little red car, rap music blasting, is driving down a gritty highway at night, minding his own business, thumping to a beat.

A police car pulls behind him. The man becomes agitated as he stops, muttering under his breath, "I am tired of this [expletive]."

By the time the officer gets to his window and shines the flashlight, the man, having done nothing but switch lanes, is projecting much attitude. He rolls down his window halfway.

"Yeah, I know the drill," he says, this being the fourth time in a year he has been "pulled over for nothing."

"Excuse me?" the officer says.

The man grabs his registration out of his glove box.

"No need for the attitude, bro," the officer says. "I'm looking out for your safety and everyone else on this road."

The man mutters some obscenity.

The officer asks him to step out of the car.

In that instant, he has violated the film's rule No. 1 for dealing with police.

"As soon as you opened your mouth, you failed the rule with your attitude," says narrator William "Billy" Murphy, a former Baltimore judge and defense attorney, best known for his role in "The Wire."

"10 Rules," a docudrama produced by the D.C. nonprofit Flex Your Rights, dispenses free legal advice with no-holds-barred dialogue. The producers, D.C. residents Steven Silverman, 33, and Scott Morgan, 30, created the film to help people in urban areas understand their constitutional rights.

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company