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Stop and search: Jay Z’s eye-opening story

In this eye-opening video, Jay Z shares his personal experiences with stop and search and the importance of knowing your rights. This powerful message sheds light on the realities of this controversial practice and empowers viewers to understand and assert their rights. Don’t miss this must-watch video!

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Speaker 1
00;00;00;01 – 00;00;00;26
Hi, everyone. Today, we’re going to talk about Jay-Z’s song, 99 problems. And it should be fun. This is Christina Williams, with Just Criminal Law.
Speaker 2
00;00;09;08 – 00;00;10;17
And this is David Mann, legal storytelling specialist. Well, Christina, when you introduced me to the idea that we would be talking about this, I have to say, I haven’t heard this song but now I have, because I’ve heard it just, you know, to prepare for this. And yeah, this really depicts a traffic stop where he’s doing all the things we reccommend. So what was your inspiration for this?
Speaker 1
00;00;31;29 – 00;00;34;26
Well, I was just doing a workout playlist and it came up and the second verse just made me laugh, because it’s the perfect interaction between law enforcement and someone who’s been pulled over and has something illegal in their car. So I thought, you know, this will be a video where you can just break down what happens in the song and talk about what the person did right.
Speaker 2
00;00;56;27 – 00;00;57;11
Okay. Well, let’s…I’ve printed out the lyrics here. We will be omitting a word or two here and there, so we’ll just do the first…do sort of a section at a time here and you can tell us, like, what he’s doing, you know, what’s going on here. So here’s his lyrics:
00;01;14;16 – 00;01;17;01
“Now the year is 94 and my truck is raw. In the rearview mirror is the something something law. I got two choices, ya’ll pull over the car, or bounce on the devil put the pedal to the floor. And I ain’t trying to see no highway chase with Jake. Plus, I got a few dollars, I can fight the face.”
00;01;31;17 – 00;01;32;21
Okay, So, you know, apologies to Jay-Z, but that’s what he says in that part.
Speaker 1
00;01;36;03 – 00;01;36;29
Right. So the person, you know, in their mind is like, ‘Should I run? I know I’ve got something illegal, or should I just pull over?’ Well, he pulls over and he does the right thing, obviously.
Speaker 2
00;01;45;24 – 00;01;46;05
Okay. So now, moving through the song here: “So I pull over to the side of the road, I heard, ‘Sonny, do you know why I’m stopping you for?’ Cause I’m young and I’m black and my hat’s real low. Or do I look like a mind reader, sir? I don’t know.” He says, “Am I under arrest or should I guess some more? And the cop says, ‘Well, well, you was doing 55 in the 54.” So, what about that exchange?
Speaker 1
00;02;09;27 – 00;02;10;13
Right. So, you know, he’s wondering, he’s kind of putting it on the officerm like ‘Are you arresting me or what’s going on here?’ And, you know, that always is going to make a law enforcement officer step back a little bit. And so, the officer tells him, ”Hey, the reason I pulled you over,’ and it’s funny because he says “You were doing 55 in a 54.” So, you know, that’s like ding ding ding. There is not a valid stop here. So this case is going south pretty quick,
Speaker 2
00;02;43;14 – 00;02;45;29
So it technically really Jay-Z, the character Jay-Z could probably drive away at that point, right? Because he’s…there’s no reason for this stop.
Speaker 1
00;02;53;20 – 00;02;55;11
Well, no, he’s going to have to, you know, stay there. Listen to what the officer says. But, you know, he’s probably going to hire a lawyer and that’s the first thing we’re going to go after. No valid stop.
Speaker 2
00;03;05;27 – 00;03;06;10
Okay. So in the real time of the stop here, as Jay-Z is talking about in the song, the next thing that happens is, “The cop says license and registration and step out of the car. Are you carrying a weapon on you? I know a lot of you are,” is what the cop says. And then Jay-Z says, “I ain’t stepping out of this, all my papers legit. And then the cop says, ‘Well, do you mind if I look around the car a little bit?’ And he says, “Well, my glove compartment is locked, so the trunk is in the back. And I know my right, so you’re going to need a warrant for that.
Speaker 1
00;03;37;06 – 00;03;38;16
Right. So what happens here, basically, you know, he’s got his license, registration, everything that he needs. And he’s going to hand it over to the officer, and the officer should go back and run his license, his registration, and make sure his insurance is valid. But he jumps ahead and says, ‘Hey, you know, do you have any weapons on you?” And so he’s improperly expanded the scope of the stop. Now, it was just an alleged speeding traffic violatio nstop. And now he’s wanting to get into, “Do you have any weapons on you?” well, he skipped the important part of going and checking the license and registration, coming back, and giving him a speeding ticket or not, and not letting him go on his way because of a traffic stop is suppoes to be very narrow and only for the purpose of the original contact with law enforcement, which is to write the speeding ticket. So now, he’s inappropriately expanded the scope of the stop and he’s asking him about weapons.
Speaker 2
00;04;43;02 – 00;04;43;10
Yeah. And I wonder, another thing that’s happening here and it’s about to accelerate in the song, is the cop is clearly trying to sort of intimidate him because he says, you know, he implied “a lot of you,” you know, wink wink, carry guns and, you know, acting kind of brash with the guy. And now he says this: “The cop says aren’t you sharp as a tack. You some type of lawyer or something? Somebody important or something? Is what the cop says. So really intimidating language, which has got to be, you know, realistic. And then Jay-Z says, “Ha, I ain’t passed the bar, but I know a little bit enough to know that you won’t illegally search my blank. And then the cop says, “Well, we’ll see how smart you are when the canines come.” So the cop is really escalating the temperature here in the exchange. But Jay-Z’s doing all the right stuff isn’t he?
Speaker 1
00;05;35;07 – 00;05;35;20
Right. He’s just holding steady. The officer asks him, he’s, I think during that part, he says “Do you mind if I look around your car a little bit?” And, you know, he says “Nope, everything’s locked up. I know my rights and you are going to need a warrant. You don’t have consent to search my vehicle.” And so now, the officer has to go on to, like, Plan C in this whole thing. “Okay, well I guess we’re just wait for the K-9,” and I love it because I can’t tell you how many times it takes way too long for the K-9 to get there. And you know, the court finds that the person was unreasonably detained; they were kept on the side of the road too long and they didn’t have probably cause to search. And they were trying to get it by having a drug dog alert on the car. But you can’t keep the person waiting on the side of the road. So, again, it’s something that, you know, just through the course of this second verse, we have basically, you know, a seoncd reason to suppress the evidence, that being key, it’s unreasonably expanded the scope of the stop and now, potentially, a third way to suppress the evidence if it takes too long for the canine to get there.
Speaker 2
00;06;45;29 – 00;06;47;08
Wow. Okay. Well, a lot of things going right for the driver of the car, and sort of wrong for the police. So he handles himself really, really well and people don’t always. And so they might need a lawyer, and that might be you. So how do they get in touch with you?
Speaker 1
00;07;03;24 – 00;07;04;16
Sure. We’ll include a link to the song and a link to our website, where you can call, text, or chat with a member of my team anytime, day or night. Here at Just Criminal Law, we know you only get one shot at justice. So make yours count!

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