Question: Can police officers lie to you?

Benson Varghese: Police officers can absolutely lie to you. That’s important to know, because we’re all taught to respect police officers and they stand in our community for justice. But when you are a suspect or you’re being accused of a crime, it’s important for you to be aware that officers can ask you anything and tell you anything to further their investigation. A great example might be: they’re investigating a murder charge and they tell you that they have found a body and they believe you are linked to that body. They can absolutely tell you that, even if there is no body, to see what your reaction is; because if you acknowledge that this person, who might just be missing, was killed and that you knew where the body was, or you acknowledge something about those facts that you had no other reason to know, they will certainly use that against you.

Another common tactic employed by police officers and detectives is to ask an individual to come down to the police department to give their side of the story. It’s important to know that anytime a police officer contacts you or a detective contacts you, you’re already the subject of an investigation and they’re already looking at you and they believe they have a strong case against you. The reason they ask you to come down is not necessarily so that you give them information that they did not otherwise know. They know that when you voluntarily come in, they don’t have to inform you of your rights. You don’t have the right to have an attorney present, and by being nice to you, they will get information out of you that might simply corroborate what they already know. They will often lie to you and say, “I haven’t made an arrest decision yet. If you come down and just give me your side of the story, I’ll take that into account.” That is, in most cases, far from the truth and they are allowed to do that.