The Four Magic Phrases

digital video, 2 minutes & 29 seconds, 2010

In collaboration with members of Rose City Copwatch, I created this training video called The Four Magic Phrases.  Rose City Copwatch in Portland, Oregon is an organization that observes and documents police activity in order to prevent police misconduct and police brutality.  Rose City Copwatch has developed a set of four “magic phrases” for people to learn so that they are better equipped to interact with police officers and other representatives of the state.  The Four Magic Phrases shows fourteen people all shouting or stating the four magic phrases to the camera.  The repetition creates a rhythm that I hope will help viewers learn and remember these four phrases.

The four magic phrases are:

1. “Am I free to go?”
2. “I do not consent to a search.”
3. “I don’t want to answer any questions. I want to talk to a lawyer.”
4. And when you are copwatching: “I am here to observe.  I do not intend to interfere.”