When dealing with police, there is only one tried and true method to retain your rights: the silent treatment. And one Richmond man did just that in a video that has gone massively viral on Facebook.
And he got to finish his breakfast, too.
On March 25, Roy Leeshun Williams, 25, was in the parking lot of a motel he had rented for the evening trying to enjoy some oatmeal he had just picked up at McDonalds when he was approached by a Richmond police officer at his window.
The officer requested Williams’ identification, but would not provide any reason as to why. The motel maintains that they did not call the police on their customer.
Since Williams had not been involved in any crime, he sat calmly inside his vehicle, not rolling his window all the way down, providing the officer with a view of his identification through the car window. He also made sure to record the entire encounter, an 11-minute video that is worth the watch from beginning to end, if not for the lesson in civil rights, but the comedy factor as well.
“If you don’t have a reason, I’m not passing you my ID.” Williams informs the officer.
“I’ve got a reason,” the officer responds.
“What?” Williams asks.
“Once you get it then I’ll let you know.” The officer states.
Shortly after, Williams rolls his window all the way up and finishes his oatmeal and his bottle of Vitaminwater. The officer begins petulantly knocking on Williams’ vehicle window around 1:46 in the video and continues for nearly 4 minutes as Williams narrates the scene to his viewers on his camera phone, ignoring the officer.
“I’m not talking to y’all. Y’all have no reason to be talking to me right now,” Williams persists.
“So why am I over here talking to you?” the officer asks.
“Because you’re being a police officer,” Williams answered.
An argument ensues about the officer shining his light in the man’s face as he demands to know what room Williams is staying in. Eventually, Williams returns to the silent treatment.
“Do you have a firearm in here, Mr. Williams?” the officer asks.
“Plenty,” he responded as he showed the officer his concealed carry permit.
“Plenty?” The officer asks seemingly surprised.
“Dozens.” Williams boldly states.
“Hm? the officer asks.
“Dozens, dozens of firearms.” Williams asserts once again.
As Williams reclines back in his seat, we hear the officer saying that he is probably armed, no warrants, license and tags were good, and Williams jumps out of his vehicle after laughing in their faces. He walks into the motel front desk and sees the officer who had just been harassing him as his partner stands in the doorway.
The officer seems to confirm Williams was a guest and the officers are on their way, recorded by Williams over his shoulder with a proud look on his face.
Claire Gastañaga of the ACLU told the local NBC affiliate the following:
“If the person is ‘operating’ the vehicle (even while parked on private property) while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the VA Supreme Court has held that they can be arrested under VA law. There’s also a requirement that, if you are operating a vehicle on a public highway, you have to show your license and registration to a police officer who asks… and private property owners can ask police to enforce motor vehicle registration requirements on their property, so all of this might give the officer the ability to ask a person sitting behind the wheel of a car for his license and registration.”
Williams maintains that the way to talk to cops when approached is very simple. Just don’t do it.
UPDATE: We spoke to Williams this afternoon on PINAC Live to get the full story of the video. Turns out, he is a licensed security guard.