The things you carry

If you are thinking about committing non-violent civil disobedience, or exercising your constitutional rights to free speech and expression of ideas, manifesting your dissent, participating in a peaceful protest in which you might be arrested, think about..


Do not take anything with you except your identification. Especially do not take

– cellphones
– watches
– jewelry

Other people will recommend that you DO take your cell phones and other possession with you. They reason that you can pass your cell phone to a friend who is not being arrested at the last minute, or that you can just get your cell phone back when you leave the jail or other detention facility. I respect other people’s opinions, of course, but..

I don’t agree. The intrinsic nature of arrests dictates that it is hard, if not impossible to predict, what will happen exactly when, and who will be standing next to whom, and whether it will or won’t be possible

Law enforcement officers, at the booking facility/jail if not before, will take your belongings from you and put them in safekeeping.

In Travis County, you are likely to get these things back, but wouldn’t you rather leave these at home or with a trusted friend? No, no one is supposed to look at your cell phone to check out whose called you and vice versa, or who is in your list of “contacts.” But why would you risk having all this private information right there with law enforcement? Do you really expect privacy in a jail??

See also:

You’ve got to know the territory
Know yourself
Know your colleagues

Return to: Thinking about committing civil disobedience?