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4th amendment question on Freddie Gray

Lord Sega

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
Messages
311
Location
Warrenton, Oregon
My question for lawyers / LEOs (I am not either one) referring to the stop and arrest only…

4th Amendment / Terry Stop: What was the police’s reasonable articulate suspicion (RAS) for the stop in the first place? What crime did they suspect that Mr. Gray had / was / was about to commit?

From what I have read, Mr. Gray made eye contact with a police officer and then ran off. While somewhat suspicious, IMO not suspicious by itself for a stop / detain in that there is no law being broken at that time.

Now, after the (illegal?) stop and detain, a safety outer pat-down / frisk for weapons is allowed via Terry. While the knife may or may not have been legal by itself (is it or is it not a switchblade), that would be argued in court so the arrest would be legal. Then, with Mr. Gray being a felon, even if the knife was legal (i.e. not a mechanically assisted switchblade), the possession of the weapon by a felon may be illegal (depending on his probation rules), so the arrest would be legal.

But, my point is: prior to the stop and frisk the police did not have RAS to chase down and stop / detain Mr. Gray in the first place, so if this had gotten to a court the switchblade (or not) evidence would have / should have been thrown out.

Thoughts on this?
 

Citizen

Founder's Club Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
18,276
Location
Fairfax Co., VA
My question for lawyers / LEOs (I am not either one) referring to the stop and arrest only…

4th Amendment / Terry Stop: What was the police’s reasonable articulate suspicion (RAS) for the stop in the first place? What crime did they suspect that Mr. Gray had / was / was about to commit?

From what I have read, Mr. Gray made eye contact with a police officer and then ran off. While somewhat suspicious, IMO not suspicious by itself for a stop / detain in that there is no law being broken at that time.

Now, after the (illegal?) stop and detain, a safety outer pat-down / frisk for weapons is allowed via Terry. While the knife may or may not have been legal by itself (is it or is it not a switchblade), that would be argued in court so the arrest would be legal. Then, with Mr. Gray being a felon, even if the knife was legal (i.e. not a mechanically assisted switchblade), the possession of the weapon by a felon may be illegal (depending on his probation rules), so the arrest would be legal.

But, my point is: prior to the stop and frisk the police did not have RAS to chase down and stop / detain Mr. Gray in the first place, so if this had gotten to a court the switchblade (or not) evidence would have / should have been thrown out.

Thoughts on this?

My main overall thought is that the legality/illegality of the detention will only slightly affect the homicide issue. If the detention was legal, no effect. If the detention was illegal, more animosity from the citizens, little effect on the case unless the exact cop(s) who started the detention were part of the homicide. The family might get more money out of the federal lawsuit, I might guess.

As to making eye contact and then running, I agree that cannot possibly be justification for detaining him. However, the law may see it differently. Seems to me that running after seeing cops while in a so-called high-crime area might be enough for the courts. Or, doing it in a known drug area.
 

Lord Sega

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2010
Messages
311
Location
Warrenton, Oregon
Ok, someone on a different blog site pointed to Illinois v. Wardlow LINK

"The US Supreme Court reversed both the Appellate and Illinois Supreme Court decisions, with the Supreme Court stating that fleeing in a high crime area at the sight of police is enough to create reasonable suspicion. Indicating that reasonable suspicion rest heavily on normal human behavior, stating that flight at the mere sight of police is a sign that there exists reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot."

I personally disagree with SCOTUS on this one where the RAS is being applied in a general non-specific way.

Lots of people work, live, and travel through areas that are "high crime area" that are not committing any crime.
IMO RAS has to be fairly specific as to what law is thought to have been broken, not just general criminal activity that might be happening.
 

WalkingWolf

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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
11,912
Location
North Carolina
My main overall thought is that the legality/illegality of the detention will only slightly affect the homicide issue. If the detention was legal, no effect. If the detention was illegal, more animosity from the citizens, little effect on the case unless the exact cop(s) who started the detention were part of the homicide. The family might get more money out of the federal lawsuit, I might guess.

As to making eye contact and then running, I agree that cannot possibly be justification for detaining him. However, the law may see it differently. Seems to me that running after seeing cops while in a so-called high-crime area might be enough for the courts. Or, doing it in a known drug area.

Every time I go to the store I make eye contact with people, I also believe there was a Washington state detention, and arrest because the person was looking at the ground(not making eye contact). Here it is in a nutshell, breathing will be claimed as RAS, some cops make it up as they go. You can't win on the street, the police have to broad of authority, and the courts only fix it if you live.
 
Last edited:

Citizen

Founder's Club Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
18,276
Location
Fairfax Co., VA
Ok, someone on a different blog site pointed to Illinois v. Wardlow LINK

"The US Supreme Court reversed both the Appellate and Illinois Supreme Court decisions, with the Supreme Court stating that fleeing in a high crime area at the sight of police is enough to create reasonable suspicion. Indicating that reasonable suspicion rest heavily on normal human behavior, stating that flight at the mere sight of police is a sign that there exists reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot."

I personally disagree with SCOTUS on this one where the RAS is being applied in a general non-specific way.

Lots of people work, live, and travel through areas that are "high crime area" that are not committing any crime.
IMO RAS has to be fairly specific as to what law is thought to have been broken, not just general criminal activity that might be happening.

I'll have to read the decision; but, for the moment, the decision as presented in the wiki article is just absurd.

In Terry v Ohio, Detective McFadden had extensive observations of Terry casing a (jewelry store?) for a robbery before seizing him. Now, if the rabbit bolts, give chase and lets see if we can find something.
 
Last edited:

sudden valley gunner

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Messages
16,689
Location
Whatcom County
Every time I go to the store I make eye contact with people, I also believe there was a Washington state detention, and arrest because the person was looking at the ground(not making eye contact). Here it is in a nutshell, breathing will be claimed as RAS, some cops make it up as they go. You can't win on the street, the police have to broad of authority, and the courts only fix it if you live.

I can't remember the case but there was a decision similar to this "stop". The courts ruled if I remember correctly that walking/running away when you see police does not create RS/PC.
 

1245A Defender

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Joined
Jul 7, 2009
Messages
4,365
Location
north mason county, Washington, USA
Last edited:

OC for ME

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
12,453
Location
White Oak Plantation
My question for lawyers / LEOs (I am not either one) referring to the stop and arrest only…

4th Amendment / Terry Stop: What was the police’s reasonable articulate suspicion (RAS) for the stop in the first place? What crime did they suspect that Mr. Gray had / was / was about to commit?

From what I have read, Mr. Gray made eye contact with a police officer and then ran off. While somewhat suspicious, IMO not suspicious by itself for a stop / detain in that there is no law being broken at that time.

Now, after the (illegal?) stop and detain, a safety outer pat-down / frisk for weapons is allowed via Terry. While the knife may or may not have been legal by itself (is it or is it not a switchblade), that would be argued in court so the arrest would be legal. Then, with Mr. Gray being a felon, even if the knife was legal (i.e. not a mechanically assisted switchblade), the possession of the weapon by a felon may be illegal (depending on his probation rules), so the arrest would be legal.

But, my point is: prior to the stop and frisk the police did not have RAS to chase down and stop / detain Mr. Gray in the first place, so if this had gotten to a court the switchblade (or not) evidence would have / should have been thrown out.

Thoughts on this?
You wabbit, cops dog...dog sees wabbit run, dog chases wabbit...this is how nature works.

Also, to some folks, the mere sight of a cop, activates their flight response...survival instinct?
 
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