Use caution when denying police search, Little Rock attorney says

Local and federal authorities outside a North Little Rock woman's home. The woman says they threatened and harassed her because she wouldn't let them inside without a search warrant. (Photo: Rachel Salley)

After a woman in North Little Rock claimed she was harassed and threatened by police and U.S. marshals Tuesday morning, KATV is taking a deeper look into your rights.

Rachel Salley would not let police come inside of the home until they showed her a search warrant. Little Rock civil rights attorney Tony Walker said she was in the right -- but he added that you should exercise your rights at your own risk. Walker added that some situations could turn deadly.

On Tuesday, police and U.S. Marshals surrounded Salley's home on Dove Creek Circle in North Little Rock to serve an arrest warrant. Authorities told Salley they were looking for her brother. Salley said she feared for her life and recorded the encounter. In the video, which was posted on Facebook, she repeatedly tells police that unless they have a search warrant, they're not welcome inside.

“The arrest warrant allows them to arrest the particular individual on site, but it doesn't allow to enter,” Walker said. “Now, there are exceptions. If someone is armed and dangerous ... if police are pursuing somebody, the rules change somewhat."

Other exceptions might be an active pursuit, or if authorities see someone hiding in the home, according to Walker.

"The safest thing to do is to not waive your rights," he said. "Clearly object to them coming in if you don't believe their documentation is proper. But you don't want to have a situation with armed police. In a tense situation, bad things can happen. So I don't really recommend people refusing to let police in, even if they're right."

Walker said he believe Salley may have a case against authorities but proving they acted improperly could be challenging. He did commend her for recording the incident.

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