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Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone else?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:20 pm
by Bee Gees Fan
Or have you ever had any kind of experience with the police or any other figure of authority in which you had done nothing wrong but were approached/questioned - even mistreated? - anyway?

I ask because this subject has been on my mind since an interesting thing happened to me last night. I'd got onto the last bus back to Huntingdon from Cambridge (it was about midnight and the bus was due to leave at about 00:05.) A couple of minutes after I'd sat down I noticed some police had shown up and after a few moments of standing outside, one of them came onto the bus, had a word with the driver and then, much to my amazement, headed straight for me! I wasn't expecting that at all. I'd been volunteering in Oxfam from 10:30 until 5:30 and after that I'd spent the rest of the evening/night with my friend Max, who also volunteers - and quite apart from that, I'm a good girl and don't do anything wrong.

The policeman addressed me as "Christiana" (or that's what it sounded like). I probably looked quite confused, so he asked me what my name was. I told him my name was Michelle and he asked if I had any identification, as they were looking for someone. I had my passport with me (I almost always keep it on my person) so I gave it to him, he had a brief look, then handed it back and left. I was wondering for a second if he might comment or make some kind of an issue about it being a foreign passport (I have an American passport, since I'm a dual national) but he didn't.

Anyway, I'm not really bothered about it, as I know the police were only doing their job, but I am wondering what would have happened if by some chance I hadn't had my passport with me? Obviously they thought it was possible I was someone else that they were looking for - if I'd had no ID could/would they have arrested me and taken me to the police station for questioning? A friend of mine told me that I would likely have been arrested and kept at the station until I could have proven my identity. If that had happened, I wouldn't have been very happy! It was past midnight and I had a 9:30 appointment this morning so all I wanted to do was get home and go to bed. Although, if such a thing *had* happened, you can bet I would have asked to use the phone to call the American Embassy (and then my father.) I know it's highly unlikely a US Embassy would send two big goons to Cambridge to help me out, but imagining it is quite funny!

So I'm very glad I had my passport with me. I have a healthy respect for the police and even though I knew I'd done nothing wrong, it did make me feel quite nervous to see the policeman heading straight for me and standing over me. He wasn't aggressive or rude or anything, I just naturally felt a little scared.

So the subject of false arrest/false accusation/mistaken identity has been on my mind a bit since. Has anyone been falsely accused of a crime or falsely arrested or mistaken for another person by the police? If so, what happened, how were you treated and how did it work itself out?

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:25 pm
by Dorset Girl
It would have freaked me out too, BGF! Your friend's right - if you'd had no ID, they could have legitimately taken you to the police station if they'd thought you were the person they were looking for.

It's very common for police to mistake the identity of people at first - after all, if someone has committed a crime and they only have a brief description to go on, it's natural that it will happen sometime. Perhaps they were looking for someone with similar clothes, or hair, or something, to you.

I'm curious - why do you carry your passport around with you?

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:43 pm
by Bee Gees Fan
Dorset Girl wrote:I'm curious - why do you carry your passport around with you?


Originally I started taking it out with me whenever I wanted to buy alcohol. I don't have a driver's license or a provisional license so my passport is really the only form of identification I have that they would accept. So I'd place it in my purse and then I just got into the habit of usually taking it with me whenever I went out. It's nice to have it handy if, for instance, I'm in Cambridge for the evening and decide I feel like drinking a bit, as I can just go to the supermarket and buy what I want.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:48 pm
by Dorset Girl
Bee Gees Fan wrote:
Dorset Girl wrote:I'm curious - why do you carry your passport around with you?


Originally I started taking it out with me whenever I wanted to buy alcohol. I don't have a driver's license or a provisional license so my passport is really the only form of identification I have that they would accept. So I'd place it in my purse and then I just got into the habit of usually taking it with me whenever I went out. It's nice to have it handy if, for instance, I'm in Cambridge for the evening and decide I feel like drinking a bit, as I can just go to the supermarket and buy what I want.


Fair enough. Also handy if you get mistakenly identified by the police, lol.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:39 pm
by insaneasperger
I'm always getting stopped by the police, its rarely a mistake though :D

I do like making them work hard for their pay!

Although I think the weirdest run in when I actually hadn't done anything was when I was walking home from Leon's at about 3am, and I was stoned, and a police car drove past me, turned round and asked me to pull my hood down. I did, they said thanks Vicky and drove off..... strange.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:48 pm
by woggle
Thats definatly a bit of a scary moment BFG ...once me and a mate Richard were on our way to work on our mountain bikes and a cop car pulled us over and said we fit the description of two people they were looking for when we asked who the copper said two young lads i then told em i was a girl then they left us alone .Not the same as yours but it was annoying more than anything.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:52 pm
by welshben23
woggle wrote:Thats definatly a bit of a scary moment BFG ...once me and a mate Richard were on our way to work on our mountain bikes and a cop car pulled us over and said we fit the description of two people they were looking for when we asked who the copper said two young lads i then told em i was a girl then they left us alone .Not the same as yours but it was annoying more than anything.


I'd imagine that would be scary for the Police! :lol: Sorry couldn't resist woggle.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:55 pm
by woggle
welshben23 wrote:
woggle wrote:Thats definatly a bit of a scary moment BFG ...once me and a mate Richard were on our way to work on our mountain bikes and a cop car pulled us over and said we fit the description of two people they were looking for when we asked who the copper said two young lads i then told em i was a girl then they left us alone .Not the same as yours but it was annoying more than anything.


I'd imagine that would be scary for the Police! :lol: Sorry couldn't resist woggle.


Hahaha that'll teach me for not checking what ive written before i post!

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:28 pm
by tenpercenter
yep once, cose they thought i was breaking into cars, i guess you cant have a beard these days!

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:06 pm
by barnaclelapse
I've had to talk my way out of getting arrested on several occasions, but I've never been accused of something I didn't do. I've heard accounts from close friends who have, and the worst stories, especially from those who are not always ranting about cops, tend to be pretty harrowing. I don't go in for the notion that all cops are crooked whores and bastards, and I never will, but I have heard and even witnessed enough to know that someone being a cop doesn't necessarily make them a good person, or someone you should just automatically and completely trust. That can be as dangerous as assuming the worst.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:18 pm
by Moon-Crane
Luckily you're just a middle class white girl, BGF. It could have taken longer and been more aggro were you not.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:32 pm
by Bee Gees Fan
Moon-Crane wrote:Luckily you're just a middle class white girl, BGF. It could have taken longer and been more aggro were you not.


Would it really?

I wouldn't say I'm middle-class, though - working class, really. My Dad certainly considers himself to be working class. I don't really go into the whole 'class' thing so much, but if I had do define myself, I'd say I'm working class.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:37 pm
by Moon-Crane
Bee Gees Fan wrote:
Moon-Crane wrote:Luckily you're just a middle class white girl, BGF. It could have taken longer and been more aggro were you not.


Would it really?

I wouldn't say I'm middle-class, though - working class, really. My Dad certainly considers himself to be working class. I don't really go into the whole 'class' thing so much, but if I had do define myself, I'd say I'm working class.


I use it as a general term. You're an educated suburban girl. You don't really fit the profile that gets a hard time.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:23 pm
by Bee Gees Fan
Moon-Crane wrote:I use it as a general term. You're an educated suburban girl. You don't really fit the profile that gets a hard time.


I suppose, but they wouldn't know that just by looking at me (although I did have a book in my lap.) I keep thinking I hadn't had my passport with me, I would have been in for a bit of inconvenience. I probably would have had to get off the bus and go to the police station with them, which would have been embarrassing and, like I said, inconvenient, since that was the last bus home.

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:46 am
by Wezzo
Police came up to me a couple of months back while I was waiting outside my office (on a trading estate) for Choni to pick me up after work. (Still can't drive..) Said it was odd for someone to still be there that late, there had been burglaries there, etc. I didn't have any ID (resorted to showing them the logged-in Facebook on my phone, haha), but they believed my story, even though I'm sure I looked dodgy as hell, haha. (You know me and my scraggy beard :P)

Re: Have you ever been falsely accused by police or anyone e

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:26 pm
by Hans the German Butler
A friend of mine used to work as an insurance agent and he had a regular round where he used to collect insurance money payments. Because he followed the same round every time he was out he'd fallen into the habit of stopping at the same place each day to eat his sandwiches, totally oblivious to where he was. One day the police approached his car and started asking him questions about who he was and what he was doing. They even asked him to report to the station for further questioning. They had apparently been watching him for several weeks after a complaint from a member of the public because his regular lunch date was outside a primary school. I remember when he told me the story I almost died laughing.