Let me see your ID

The words ‘Let me see your ID’ are synonymous with oppression. In the 1980s the Artists United Against Apartheid (best known for Sun City) even wrote a song of the same name, in protest at apartheid-era South Africa’s Pass Laws, one of the ugliest manifestations of that country’s apartheid policy. In brief, all black people had to carry internal passports, and any black person found without a valid document could be imprisoned without further charge. Resistance to the Pass Laws led to many thousands of arrests and was the spark that ignited the Sharpeville Massacre of March 1960.

The Pass Laws were finally repealed in 1986, one of many small steps on the road to the ending, in 1991, of apartheid itself.

Today in Bucharest, a woman was aggressively handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car for refusing to show any ID. The video is genuinely shocking:


Not perhaps as shocking however as the fact that a number of people who really ought to know better have defended the police.

We are well aware of the fact that we come from a very different kind of society, but to us the matter is simple: if a policeman or policewoman has good reason to suspect a crime has been committed then he or she should make an arrest. If not, leave people alone. Refusing to hand over ID should – in a free society – NEVER be an offence.

A sad day.

Meantime, be aware that as in apartheid South Africa, you can be arrested in Romania for not carrying and presenting ID as requested. Until this spiteful, communist-era law is repealed, we suggest you make sure you do.


20 thoughts on “Let me see your ID

  1. Police don’t randomly ask for ID then arrest people for no reason. There’s more to this story and she probably deserved it.


    1. She crossed the street without waiting for the green light.

      The bankrupt mafia state of Romania wanted to take her money for crossing on the red light. And they ended up arresting her. The same way in which they break into peoples homes for alleged tax evasion and/or money laundering.

      Leave this country while you still can!

      In regard to human rights violations Romania is already getting worse than Syria has ever been under Assad.


      1. “Leave this country while you still can! Sell everything and leave!”…………..Go where? Romanians don’t sell anything. They hoard everything because they believe that one day, their tranny Sam Fox vinyl album will be worth something.


      2. So she broke the law and made things worse for her by being a pain in the ass.
        Guess she shouldn’t have broken the law then…


  2. It’s clearly off it’s rocker! What if half the population in Bucharest decided to sit down in the middle of the street/sidewalk and act like a zombie hmmm?


  3. Being a pain in the ass is a civil right. Some even say a civil duty.
    Only in Northern Ireland and in my own Belgium are people (adults) also required to carry an ID at all times, and forced to present it to police whenever asked. And yes, it is widely known that police can do that to harrass (f.e. controlling anyone at the entrance of a business until the owner caves in).
    There are, in most law systems, steps in ‘breaking the law’, in which tresspasses like jaywalking are at the bottom of the ladder.


  4. Asking a person that crossed a red light for her ID is not the same as asking a random person to do that. The police had every right to ask for her ID in order to give her the ticket(although in my opinion she could have just gotten away with a warning if she would have admitted her mistake). I think that your comments make sense only when the police officer would ask for your ID with not reason, but this is not the case here. If you are breaking the law and you deserve a ticket, you should cooperate and give your ID. Considering what you are saying, everyone could start ignoring a lot of laws(not just traffic rules) and the police couldn’t do anything about it if they didn’t have any identity information about those persons. I also think that your phrase “Today in Bucharest, a woman was aggressively handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car for refusing to show any ID” is incomplete. The complete and accurate one would be “…and placed in the back of a police car for refusing to show any ID after breaking the law/traffic rules”


  5. ‘The Law’ thing has got to stop. Nobody asks ordinary people when they make ‘The Law’.

    Having ‘The Law’ in your corner doesn’t give you the right to overreact and restrict civil rights and freedoms.

    Ok she broke the law. Cops should have told her that and they should have shamed her. Not drag her on the middle of the street and arrest her. She didn’t kill anybody.


  6. I actually have a question about this (relocating from NYC, where we have our own issues with ID). For foreigners, is there a specific form of ID we need to carry? I prefer not to carry my passport, nor a copy of it, but we don’t have national ID cards. Anyone know?


      1. For legal purposes a copy is not enough. If they want to pick on you, they will.

        Romanian institutions act just like terrorist: they do a horrible abuse against human rights and then they take pride and brag about it in the media.

        Like this guy who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for stealing $3500:



    1. Stay away from this country.

      Two Sky News journalists from Britain will face trial in Romania because they produced and aired a material about weapons trafficking from Romania to Syria.

      Apparently they had paid some actors to illustrate their material.

      The bankrupt mafia state of Romania wouldn’t eat that. They are placing accusations of endangering the national security of the country by spreading false information. The two journalists are facing 5 years in prison.


    2. Romania became what the United States always wanted to become, but couldn’t because of [still] strong human rights activism.

      The United States are proud of Romania: secret CIA prisons used to torture people, phone tappings, home searches and perquisitions, judges who obey prosecutors, punishments of 20-25 years in prison for petty crimes, a lack of banking secrecy, asset seizure and forfeiture without any need for solid evidence, ministers who claim that “civil rights are a luxury”, militarized institutions enforcing their will without any possibility for civil society to hold them accountable, political parties being elected but without being given any real power etc etc etc… I could go on forever.


  7. To be fair, the same person would have probably been shot dead or arrested in less than 20 seconds in the USA.

    She is being arrested for breaking the law, not for not carrying her ID. And the comparison with apartheid in South Africa is far-fetched.

    Look at it from the other side: the Romanian police suffer from a major loss of public trust and credibility (ironically, part of it is its abusive practices during the Communist era and afterwards, but also suspicions of corruptions). It is almost impossible for a decent policeman (the one that doesn’t bend rules and doesn’t take bribes — probably a hypothetical case, anyway!) to enforce the law. Police will me mocked and threatened by aggressive drivers or irresponsible pedestrians (I’ve personally witnessed this). By-standers will often support the “victim” and further mock the police, even if they are just doing their job. The general argument of the crowds is always: “Why don’t you pick up on real criminals, like… [insert any example of a more serious crime here]”.

    I’ve personally witnessed a surreal scene a few months ago in the exact same spot: Unirii Square. There were 6 policemen and 3 police cars supervising the pedestrian crossing in full daylight, to make sure no pedestrians cross on red light and no drivers drive on red, either. Still, the policemen were overwhelmed. They couldn’t fine everyone that was crossing on red. There were people who saw other people being fined, but still crossed on red. The policemen couldn’t be fast enough. Most people just became aggressive and rude when they were being pointed out by the Police that they’ve just broken the law. Law and rules are generally something to be mocked in Romania, and the fact that the Police do their best to enforce them shouldn’t be treated as an abuse or a joke. Of course, every time a policeman becomes heavy-handed when trying to enforce the law, the discussion about Securitate and past abuses of the secret and regular police in Communist times starts. Those days are, hopefully, gone.


  8. “He broke the law and should receive a fine, I reckon.”
    “Yeah, but he says he doesn’t have any ID on him. Who am I gonna write the ticket to?”
    “I dunno, man. I guess we’ll just gonna let him go…”


  9. At least the Bucharest Police switched back to using VWs in October 2015 after a 10 year hiatus with the Dacia Logan–an absolutely deplorable car for police work. . . Most cars driven by Romanians these days will outrun a Logan in a matter of seconds.


  10. In Romania, I’ve only been stopped by the police for doing street photography as Romanians remain paranoid after Ceausescu. When I was first here, I’d be the only one walking around Bucharest with a camera. If you tried to take a picture in a Turabo cafe you’d be stopped as you raised your camera and told that it was a private place and no pictures were allowed. These tight rules disappeared with the advent of smart phones and hipster cafes. . .


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