You don’t have to show beach cops what’s in your cooler if they ask

rockaway beach
Have a nice day at the beach, but know your rights. via Flickr user Oscar Rohena

After an hour bike ride with an 18-pack on your back rack, you and a bunch of buds are drinking sudsy Buds on Rockaway Beach. As the noonday sun sinks slowly, singeing sunscreened skin, you think life could be no better. Your eyes closed, the bright backs of your eyelids turn tenebrous. A shadow has fallen upon your party. An eclipse? No, no. It’s the 5-o, come to step on all that is sacred about drinking on the beach. “What’s in the cooler?” they ask. You don’t have to show them, but as with all police-related matters, Gothamist reports, you should play it cool when you mention that.

According to the subversive leftist news site, the NYPD is stepping up enforcement of the open-container law on city beaches, but an NYCLU spokesperson says that legally you don’t have to show them what’s inside your Igloo. The prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures, provided by the 4th Amendment, extends all the way out to Queens beaches and you don’t have to open anything. Of course, if the police have “probable” cause they can look inside and they’re not usually ones to argue Constitutional law. But if you don’t want them bothering you at all, put your freaking alcohol in a cup, for summah’s sake.

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