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policeSix years after he was shot and paralyzed during a traffic stop, the tragedy of Michael McCloskey continues to serve as an object lesson for motorists in places like Delano and Bakersfield.

In 2009, an Ohio police officer shot Mr. McCloskey because he feared that the man was reaching for a weapon. In reality, however, the nervous motorist simply did not keep his hands on the wheel. At the officer’s trial, his lawyer pleaded with jurors not to use “20/20 hindsight” in the matter. But they found him guilty after about six hours of deliberation; his conviction for 10 years in prison is pending a review after being overturned on appeal.

Both Mr. McCloskey and his mother now regularly speak at community gatherings about proper behavior during a stop by the motorist.

Comply Now, Complain Later

Mr. McCloskey followed his first instinct, which was to reach for his drivers’ license and other documents and have them ready for the officer. While this act may seem like the courteous thing to do, edgy officers may misinterpret such moves and think the suspect is reaching for a weapon.

One element of “comply now, complain later” is to only comply with instructions. Do not anticipate them. When you’re pulled over, and we all are at one time or another, turn off the car and wait with your hands on the wheel at 11 and 1.

Note that “compliance,” at least in this context, does not necessarily mean that you need to answer the officer’s questions as to why you were pulled over. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea say as little as possible about the incident. Let a lawyer sort out the details later.

Remember that officers are human and they can make mistakes. Try to make the streets a little safer by making their work easier if pulled over.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger and Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.

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