Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 10:14 AM
Subject: Social Security #
I would like to know as a civilian, what are my rights as a witness to a bar fight? Do I have to give the police my statement? Do I have to give them my social security #? What if I am harassed by them?
If you were part of the fight and considered a suspect then yes, they have a right to obtain your information and statement. If you were just present during a common bar fight and not involved, you don’t have to give any information. But if there was a serious injury or death and they know you were there and probably saw something, they’d probably press you a bit more for information and might even take you to the station for a statement. Where I work, we ask for drivers license numbers of the people we talk to. Some departments may ask for Social Security numbers but the only time we ask for one is when we book someone into jail or try to figure out if someone is lying to us.
If you don’t want to give a statement you can be like a lot of people we contact at crime scenes; "Nope, didn’t see a thing".