A federal judge this week ruled that the New York City Police Department's controversial stop-and-frisk practice violates the constitutional rights of minorities in the city. But the ruling still leaves ordinary citizens with an often confusing array of law-enforcement practices to contend with. So, in simplest terms, what are your rights?

  • During an interrogation, a police officer may not force you to stop playing the trumpet, though he is within his rights to slap that harmonica out of your hand.
  • You are legally entitled to pretend you are a robot whose circuitry has overloaded due to aggressive police questioning.
  • If you are pulled over and the officer asks to look in your trunk, you are required to let him. But you are also allowed to trick him into getting into the trunk and leave him there for as long as you want.
  • You are within your rights to ask a police officer for her badge number. Or you can guess it and win the badge.
  • If an officer makes the mistake of asking you if you're armed, you have the right to force him to announce to anyone nearby that he asked if he could kiss you.
  • However, if a police officer really asks if he can kiss you, you have the right to say no.
  • You cannot eat your own car keys without first telling the on-scene officer, "I am about to eat my own car keys."
  • You may refer to an arresting officer as "Officer," "Policeman/Policewoman," "Monsignor Cop," "Joey Handcuffs," "Lady Law," or "Dad."
  • While administering a body cavity search, an officer is legally allowed to beat your skull in with his or her baton if you say, "Hey, how 'bout you buy me a drink first?"
  • Police may taser you for any reason or no reason, sorry. Just don't put the idea in their head.