The Unfair Psychology Behind Police Interrogations

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why does anyone confess to the police while a plea bargain in court might lower your punishment confessing to police can only hurt you yet people do it all the time what did you do i killed bridget harrison and caleb harrison guilty or wrongfully accused an officer’s first step in an interrogation is to pretend they’re your ally so before mentioning anything about the case police will try to build rapport by bringing you something to drink or bonding over commonalities the goal is to make you feel relaxed and unthreatened watch this next clip you would never guess from his behavior that the detective already has hard evidence that the guy in front of him is a murderer i’m a big coffee guy i don’t know if you’re a coffee guy or something i didn’t want to drink in front of you so no i appreciate that all right go ahead uh russell just to avoid any confusion because people do get confused when they’re talked to by the police is that you’re obviously not under arrest here today okay anytime you feel uh you want to leave here you feel free to do so the door’s not locked teresa will walk you down the lobby anytime you want okay once they built rapport with you the next step is what police call a positive confrontation they tell you they already know you’re guilty and they just want to know why you did it this is where things get interesting whether it’s true or not interrogators will tell you they have so much evidence that your guilt isn’t in doubt this can involve legally lying to you about fake witnesses fingerprints dna or video footage in this next clip an officer tries to get a confession from an innocent man notice the confusion and doubt that starts to creep in when he’s faced with false evidence there’s a number the number of witnesses great one of them had a video camera perfect yeah yeah so view the video camera i have okay that’s why the old guilt isn’t in an issue here that doesn’t even make sense to me because if i’m on the video camera while faking evidence is extremely effective at getting guilty people to confess it can unfortunately result in innocent people confessing as well one of the more heartbreaking examples of this is marty tancleff at 17 years old marty woke up and found his mother stabbed to death and his father bleeding and unconscious marty called 9-1-1 after bringing him in as a suspect and interrogating him for hours without success an officer lied to marty that his father had woken up and identified him as the attacker marty knew he was innocent but didn’t realize that police can lie during an interrogation so suddenly he started to doubt himself thinking maybe he did it while in a blackout marty then gave a false confession that he immediately took back saying he was coerced while in a state of shock but that confession led to his conviction and he spent 17 years in prison before being deemed innocent and set free part of the reason these positive confrontations are so effective is because the police are trained to speak with complete certainty when presenting the evidence to you in this next clip police are looking for a missing woman they’re interrogating a co-worker who claimed he hadn’t seen her the day she disappeared listen to how the officer’s tone conveys no doubt about whether or not the missing woman was caught on camera in this guy’s car okay well tell us when you left with her in the car because that is what is shown we can’t make up that we can’t falsify video camera lee i’m not lying to you because you know i’m telling the truth because you know that’s what’s on the video now in this case the video camera was real but they had no way of proving the missing girl got into his car just a car that looked like it might be his yet because the detective says it with such conviction he confesses that he’s been lying to police and admits he was the last person seen with the missing woman ultimately this led to him confessing to police that he murdered her because this confrontation with evidence is often the first time you’ll realize you’re a serious suspect it’s very common for people to push back and deny their guilt this is where the next psychological trick comes into play police interrogators shut down denials immediately before you can even state them this pattern interrupt make sure you don’t build up confidence in your ability to stand up for yourself here’s a i did not have quick fire on my mind we can prove that we’re beyond that point buddy we’re beyond that man the goal is to create the feeling that there’s nothing you can do to convince them you’re completely innocent here’s another example notice the cut off comes as soon as the man tries to deny hurting his missing family i don’t know how much i could tell you right now like i did not it’s not even it’s not an option right now because you did not pass the polygraph so i know you were being deceptive so that’s not even an issue right now the issue right now is what happened to shanann bella and celeste now that you’re feeling trapped beaten down and hopeless the next step is to give you a way out of this mess with minimization the goal here is to get you to confess by minimizing the perceived evil of the crime one way to do this is to say that you did what anyone would have done in your situation watch officer george burch explain how this alone can get a confession i had a sexual assault case i had to talk to the guy how hot the woman was and i understand where he was coming from and when that when i said that we were buds and he started talking to me and he’s still sitting in prison another trick is to let you think there’s a chance you can shape the story that gets out believe it or not the questions you’re about to see are what finally convinced this man to confess to murder when stuff gets out that you guys left and all that together and all that stuff stuff you want people to remember you as a guy who said okay look i’m gonna do the right thing or do you want your family and everybody else to think that you’re some evil heartless person who won’t tell us where she is please tell me where to go that’s how people remember you during this minimization process police will often use what they call alternative questions basically they’ll present you with a story where you’re guilty of the crime but in a way that’s more sympathetic or justifiable returning to the case of chris watts his wife and two daughters are missing and he’s already failed a lie detector watch how the interrogator first tries to minimize the crime as a mistake and then poses an alternative question to make chris feel like he can confess without being the bad guy we have no doubt you love these girls with all of your heart i have no doubt but we make mistakes i did not do that all three of them not doing anything what did she do tell us chris chicks are crazy can i talk to my dad or something chris desperately wants to get out of this interrogation and he latches on to the idea that he can lie and say his wife was hurting his kids i forgot just like that the police have him confessing on tape for murder you may think this is actually smart of chris because at least he’s only getting convicted for one murder instead of three but in reality his minimized confession hasn’t done his case any favors because the police don’t actually buy it did not hurt these girls are you okay with the public knowing that shenanigans yes because i did not have these girls i’m not sure minimizing a crime during an interrogation is very effective at getting the guilty to confess in hopes of a less harsh penalty unfortunately it can also be effective on the innocent here’s an example that isn’t as clear-cut as chris watts this man says he’s innocent the police say he’s guilty he’s being accused of shooting a police officer after seven hours of telling the police he didn’t do it and being told he’s lying you can imagine how this alternative story suddenly becomes appealing it could have it could have been a [ __ ] accident it could have been an accidental discharge okay but when you don’t when you’re completely denying that then then i gotta think another way bro now we need to know if you try to kill that deputy or did you just discharge a firearm and that’s the misdemeanor imagine that’s you the police have thrown a mountain of real or fake evidence against you told you they’re absolutely certain you’re guilty and shut you down instantly whenever you try to deny it you feel like everything is stacked against you and fear you’ll get wrongfully convicted for shooting a police officer then the interrogating officer tells you that confessing is your way out of this mess with as little penalty as possible it’s suddenly easy to understand why police are phenomenal at getting criminals to confess unfortunately it’s also easy to see why some innocent people falsely confess if you want to learn more about false confessions and the dangers of talking to police even if you’re innocent i highly recommend you check out professor james dwayne’s audiobook you have the right to remain innocent which you can get for free thanks to our sponsor for this video audible it really hammers home why you should always get a lawyer if the police call you in for questioning one of the lessons from professor dwayne is that even if you don’t confess police will try to get you on the record with seemingly harmless details so they can potentially use them against you later for example he shares the story of a man who told police that an ex-girlfriend of his lived in a certain neighborhood and that piece of information voluntarily shared got him falsely imprisoned for 20 years for a rape it turned out he did not commit you have the right to remain innocent as a number of incredible and shocking stories of people being imprisoned for a variety of small things they said or did while being interrogated you can get it for free by going to charisma or texting charisma to 500 500. audible is my favorite audiobook platform and something i personally use all the time it’s a great way to take time that’s normally dead time like doing errands around the house and transform it into productive time where you’re learning and improving yourself by joining audible you get a credit every month to use on any title in their premium selection regardless of price you also get access to their plus catalog with thousands of titles you can listen to for free again if you want to try it out you can go to charisma or text charisma to 500-500 and get a free 30-day trial including any audiobook you want one other quick note a lot of the interrogations i studied to make this video seem to follow something called the read technique if you want to watch the read technique being used in full length interrogations i recommend the youtube channel jcs criminal psychology either way i hope you like this video i want to thank our video editor therese for working so hard to edit it thank you so much for watching and hopefully we’ll see you in the next one



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  1. A polygraph (lie detector) only scientifically shows life signs. I know in canada theyre not admissible in court. Its the psychology before and after that theyll use against you.

  2. The diabolical 9 Step Reid Technique of Interrogation has been around since the 50's and is the gold standard for police interrogations. Don't sign a Miranda Rights form. Demand an attorney. Invoke right to remain silent. Then shut up. Period.

  3. An interrogator once said, "A provable lie is just as good as a confession." That's why they ask you the same question dozens of times in hopes you will change one small element of your story. Hence, you're lying. May be innocent but will get nailed with a perjury charge (3 years in prison).

  4. The Reid technique only works if you start "Blabbing" to the police officer. If you say nothing it falls flat on its face.
    1) Say NOTHING and do nothing..Sign nothing…. Tell them your name/address and date of birth (Which they will know anyway) then shut up until a lawyer is present in the interview room…The police will have loads of papers and documents on the table… It is all just BS to give off the persona they know more than they are letting on..
    2) Ask for a lawyer to be present in the room and say NOTHING until the lawyer is present in the room
    The police officers will try to "Butter you up" and act like they are your best new pal… They ONLY want a confession.

  5. In the uk if you can’t afford a top notch lawyer “no comment” is all you need to say, I have been caught on camera but my “no comment” got me a NFA😅

  6. In Australia respond “no comment” till your lawyer arrives, your lawyer can establish what case they have against you, (police could just be fishing for information) plus if you have not been charged then leave the police station.

  7. I left the thumbs down, because one title says something about getting innocent people to confess which is what I'm here to look at. But the video then says, how police get confessions, which is two entirely different things.

  8. The thing to do if cops are questioning you is, shut your mouth. The only thing you should say is, "I'd like a lawyer." After that keep your mouth shut. Nothing you say is going to help you.

  9. So the police by tricking the innocent party to confess to a crime they genuinely didn’t commit they let the real criminal to have the opportunity to go on to commit more crimes. This isn’t just a crime against on person it has many potential repercussions

  10. This is why police interrogation techniques are useless when trying to determine if an alien abductee is telling the truth. I want interrogation techniques to determine the truth, not police interrogation crap.

  11. Police shouldn't be allowed to lie about what evidence the have in an investigation. That just makes it more likely that dishonest police will be promoted to positions of power.

  12. Modern police are basically kids who grew up watching Dirty Harry movies and fondling themselves. What they didn't realize when they became cops is that it's just like high school they have to do their homework. They don't want to do their homework. So they cheat on their homework.

  13. Easy fix, "I invoke my right to remain silent and I invoke my right to an attorney. Am I free to go?" They can't force a false confession if you keep your mouth shut, and if they have actual evidence they don't need a confession.

  14. Long before we had police forces, we had the Bill of Rights. Most importanty, the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments, requiring a warrant for a search, giving you the right not to incriminate yourself, and the right to an attorney. Police take an oath to the Constitution. But to do their job they have to not defend these rights but get you to give them up. What legitimate function can be served this way? Also, that sixth amendment doesn't say you may have a lawyer, it says SHALL.