Originally posted by lastrebel
ll three examples are a situation where someone is being threatened by another person or persons. In that case the cop is doing his job
A BIG difference from someone just standing, not threatening anyone. In this case he is just being nosey.
I agree completely. The problem comes when you try to make a blanket definition of how to tell if someone is being threatening, since a criminal will
actively try to hide this fact from police and casual onlookers.
In one business district that I was responsible for, the local business association had specifically asked us to do "building checks" after
midnight, which was well after the last business was closed. What you are really doing is making sure the employees did a good job of locking up at
night, but you are also looking for the dreaded "suspicious activity." You walk around, rattling doors to see if one is unlocked. You look for
vehicles that aren't usually there, you look for a light on in a back room, when there isn't a car out front.
I used to do a building check in one area in the morning, when the inside of the bank wasn't open yet, but the drive thru lanes were. Once I saw an
older woman that I knew to be a teller carrying trash bags out of the bank and putting them in a car. I asked her if she was ok and she practically
JUMPED out of her own skin, but said everything was fine and that she was taking out the trash..... Now, is that a good time for a cop to be nosey, or
I'll tell you that one of the basic principles of police work is that criminals usually have a "shallow" alibi or story for the police. And the
way you find out what you really
need to know is by digging into the story a bit, and see if the story fits, or if it starts to come apart at
the seams. You don't ask polite questions (which a perp will be prepared for), you ask questions that are random, but hard to improvise coherent
stories for. It is irritating to an innocent person (which is another reason that people dislike police), but it quickly displays when a person is
not telling the truth.
Where do you live? Why does your car have an out of state license plate when you live in this neighborhood? Do you work here? Did you just come out
of that door? What's in he bag? etc.
(By the way, you'd be surprised at how often a criminal will tell you the truth, if you simply ask for it. I once aided on an EMS call in response
to an elderly man who had just come home from the hospital and had begun bleeding from the neck. The paramedic asked the wife when her husband started
bleeding that way. The wife said, "He started bleeding after I stabbed him in the neck with this knitting needle." Holy crap!)
When a person is lying, it becomes obvious when they cannot come up with a quick answer, like pausing when you ask them their birthday, or what kind
of car they drove here, when you are looking right at it. You ask them to repeat information they gave you a minute ago, and see if they can even
remember the phone number they just gave you, that kind of thing.
If I ask you who you are visiting ATSville, and you say your mom is in the hospital; then I ask you which one and you cannot name a single local
hospital, then I suddenly have a whole raft of questions for you. But if your mom really is
in the hospital, I seem like a nosey d-bag.
In the last example you seem to be saying just being a biker is reason enough to be considered threatening which does seem to be a common police
attitude these days.
A lot of the general public
consider any biker a threat, since they cannot distinguish the one-percenters from the rest (or don't believe
a 99 percent).
So.............A cop has the right to stop and question ANYONE for ANY REASON? I admit I dont know the legalitys of it but it surely doesnt sound
Where I worked, especially after we got cameras in patrol cars and microphones in tie-tacks, we were routinely graded on the way we interacted with
the public, over this exact question. There were times when you had the legal
right, based on the state's definition of probable cause, when
the department did not want you pestering the voters.
Examples like the nervous bank clerk, or a routine traffic stop where the person is so scared they pee their pants, but everything about them checks
out. Maybe the person has a weak bladder. Or maybe they are diabetic. Or maybe there is a dead body in the trunk of their car. Or maybe they were
about to cheat on their spouse, and are overcome with guilt...
One of those is a concern for the police as regards criminality. Some are just concerns for public health and safety (does this person need an
ambulance?). And the last one is just not the officer's concern.
The trouble lies in sorting each case out, without jumping to conclusions, when someone's life could hang in the balance. And without being rude.
I'm sure it comes as a total shock. But police frequently deal with people who are trying to lie to them, or cover up bad things they have done.
Sometimes, it is difficult to get down to the truth without being rude.