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favorite this post Suspicious people "or your interpretation there of" (el dorado county) hide this posting unhide

Calling the police on someone just because you think they look "suspicious " is a excuse to single out someone for how they "look" and put them, through more scrutiny than the rest of society,
treating them as they are guilty until proven innocent and subjecting them to unwarranted questioning and profiling which in essence is discrimination ,
The term "suspicious" is left far to open for interpretation by whoever wants to use it and can used many times simply because someone feels uncomfortable and not actually because someone is doing anything inherently wrong or illegal , and while some people are afraid of everything this makes them suspicious of practically everyone.
We are supposed to be a free country where someone should be able to go about their business without being harassed , questioned or detained without probable cause , ( thinking they look suspicious is not probable cause) ,,,,,someone who is not committing a crime should not have to prove their innocence , they should not even be subjected to questioning simply on your suspicion which is completely based on how they "look", this policy is obviously wrong by definition and should never be adopted by those who are supposed to serve the public.

Many ridiculous calls are made to the police that are really about somebody's own insecurity , and should carry the penalty of perjury for wasting the time of the police that could be doing something much more useful...

If it is a real crime or you are in real danger , by all means call the police , but use some sense and discretion ,and don't simply try to think you can judge someone on how they look, everyone doesn't have to look how you think they should ,

This is America where we are supposed to support diversity and freedom of choice and individuality, not communism ,repression or Nazi interrogations at anyone's will....,This kind of interrogation based on profiling people because of how you think they "look" is how someone might expect to be treated somewhere like communist north Korea but its not how people were mean't to be treated here in America,.... doesn't anyone remember the land of the free? or is everyone afraid of their own shadow?

More people could use a lesson on our constitution , its meaning and our inherent rights ,have respect for them , and prevent the abuse of them by anyone,

Here is some possibly relevant information for you......and the police.....

Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.


Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnaping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.
2921.45 Interfering with civil rights.
(A) No public servant, under color of his office, employment, or authority, shall knowingly deprive, or conspire or attempt to deprive any person of a constitutional or statutory right.

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of interfering with civil rights, a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Effective Date: 01-01-1974 .

2921.29 Failure to disclose personal information.
(A) No person who is in a public place shall refuse to disclose the person's name, address, or date of birth, when requested by a law enforcement officer who reasonably suspects either of the following:

( this does say disclose but does not state that it must be in the form of a identification card , verbal information should be sufficient as long as it is correct )

(1) The person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a criminal offense.
(about to commit should be in the process of , not "looking like they are going to"
(2) The person witnessed any of the following:

(a) An offense of violence that would constitute a felony under the laws of this state;

(b) A felony offense that causes or results in, or creates a substantial risk of, serious physical harm to another person or to property;

(c) Any attempt or conspiracy to commit, or complicity in committing, any offense identified in division (A)(2)(a) or (b) of this section;

(d) Any conduct reasonably indicating that any offense identified in division (A)(2)(a) or (b) of this section or any attempt, conspiracy, or complicity described in division (A)(2)(c) of this section has been, is being, or is about to be committed.

(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of failure to disclose one's personal information, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(C) Nothing in this section requires a person to answer any questions beyond that person's name, address, or date of birth. Nothing in this section authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person for not providing any information beyond that person's name, address, or date of birth or for refusing to describe the offense observed.

(D) It is not a violation of this section to refuse to answer a question that would reveal a person's age or date of birth if age is an element of the crime that the person is suspected of committing.

Effective Date: 04-11-1991 .


Because stopping a motor vehicle or preventing a vehicle from moving constitutes a "seizure," the 4th Amendment clearly applies to all motor vehicle stops. The 4th Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures requires that an investigative stop be supported by reasonable suspicion of misconduct.1 Under the 4th Amendment exclusionary rule, evidence obtained as a result of an unconstitutional seizure is not admissible in a court of law.2 However, the 4th Amendment and the exclusionary rule only apply when and if a person or motor vehicle is actually stopped by police.

Definition of "Stop" (Seizure): In defining what constitutes a "stop," courts have adopted an objective test. A person or motor vehicle is considered to be stopped within the meaning of the 4th Amendment if, by means of "physical force" or a "show of authority," a reasonable person would believe that he was not free to leave.3 Under the Minnesota Constitution, a "seizure" occurs at the point a peace officer orders a person to stop (verbally or by action),4 or does or says anything that would cause a reasonable person to believe he was not free to leave.5 Under the Minnesota rule, a seizure can occur even though the person does not immediately stop or otherwise submit to the officer's show of authority.6

Stop v. Contact: The mere act of an officer approaching a person who is standing on a public street, or sitting in a car that is parked, and asking questions does not require a "reasonable suspicion." Such inoffensive contact between a citizen and the police is not considered to be a "seizure." In other words, a peace officer can approach, seek the cooperation of, and direct questions to anyone they want without having a reasonable suspicion, as long as they do not turn the contact into a "seizure" by ordering the person to stop or by doing or saying anything that would cause the person to believe that she was not free to leave.7

Assuming the facts of your case do implicate the 4th Amendment, then step two of the analysis is ascertaining the general rule.


A peace officer can stop and temporarily detain a motor vehicle whenever an officer has specific and articulable facts which, when taken together with reasonable inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant the intrusion.8 In other words, to make an investigatory stop, an officer must have a "reasonable suspicion" that a crime has been or is being committed.9 While the standard is less demanding than probable cause or a preponderance of the evidence,10 it nonetheless requires "at least a minimal level of objective justification."11 The stop must not be based upon "mere whim, caprice, or idle curiosity."12 The threshold question in every motor vehicle stop is whether, under the circumstances, the officer acted reasonably. In order to properly apply this general rule a further understanding of "reasonable suspicion" is necessary.


"Reasonable suspicion" entails some minimal level of objective justification for making a stop.13 It is something more than instinct, unparticularized suspicion or "hunch," but less than the level of suspicion required for probable cause.14 The threshold for finding an adequate factual basis for an investigative stop is "very low."15 Although any traffic violation will justify a motor vehicle stop, an actual traffic violation need not occur.16 However, a peace officer cannot stop a motor vehicle without cause or reason, nor can the stop be based upon mere curiosity, suspicion, or assumption unsupported by facts.17 In order to determine if the stop was based on a "reasonable suspicion" the court must apply the proper legal standard.


In determining whether the stop was justified, the totality of the circumstances surrounding the stop must be taken into account.18 The process does not deal with "hard certainties," but rather with probabilities.19 Furthermore, the evidence must be viewed from the vantage point of those versed in the field of law enforcement. In other words, trained peace officers can make inferences and deductions that might elude untrained persons.20 For example:

a. Objective Determination: Ascertaining "specific and articulable facts" is an objective determination. It doesn't matter when or why a peace officer decides to stop a driver as long as sufficient objective facts justifying the stop exist at the time the stop occurs.21

b. Consideration of Past Criminal Conduct: A motor vehicle occupant's past criminal behavior is a factor an officer may take into consideration in forming a reasonable suspicion justifying an investigative stop.22

c. Reasonable Mistakes Made by Peace Officers: An investigative stop is invalid where the stop is based on an officer's mistaken interpretation of the law, whether or not the stop was made in good faith.23 However, the mistaken belief that the driver of a motor vehicle was a person whose driver's license was suspended is sufficient to justify an investigative stop, even though the driver turns out to be somebody else.24 An investigative stop was valid where a peace officer stopped a car the officer reasonably believed was the one they had been following which had engaged in "questionable" driving activity. The fact that police actually stopped the wrong car did not invalidate the stop.25

d. Innocent Conduct: The fact that the suspicion-arousing behavior eventually proves to be completely innocent will not invalidate the stop. The relevant inquiry is not whether the conduct in question is innocent or guilty, but the degree of suspicion that attaches to particular types of noncriminal acts."26
(the word suspicion used again and left open for interpretation)
e. Insufficient Reasons to Stop Motor Vehicle: The mere fact that a person is in a high-crime area, is a stranger, or appears to be lost does not constitute a sufficient basis to justify an investigative stop.27 Slowing down at a yield sign at the end of a parking ramp does not constitute an "articulable ground" for an investigative stop.28 An investigative stop of an automobile after the vehicle swerved once, but stayed in its lane, was improper.29

General Overview: The Fourth Amendment is reaffirmed under Article I, Section 13 of the California Constitution. Penal Code Section 1523-1542.5 outlines the various reasons for which a search warrant may be issued, including for the investigation of stolen property or property used to commit a crime. California law also includes numerous search warrant allowances that are directly related to firearms. For example, a warrant may be issued to seize an unlawful firearm from the possession of someone subject to a restraining order.
Conditions of Probable Cause: Under California Penal Code Section 836, an officer may initiate a search or seizure without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed in the officer's presence, or if there is a probable cause to believe that a felony has been committed (whether or not in the presence of the officer).
Unique State Laws/Rights/Restrictions: Anyone arrested without a warrant must be taken to a local magistrate "without unnecessary delay" so that a formal complaint may be filed. The officer may release the suspect if they determine that there were insufficient grounds for a criminal complaint or if the only crime was intoxication.

"be able to point to specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrant that intrusion."

The price of that effectiveness, however, is intrusion on individual interests protected by the Fourth Amendment. We have held that the intrusiveness of even these brief stops for purposes of questioning is sufficient to render them "seizures" under the Fourth Amendment. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. at 392 U. S. 16. For precisely that reason, the scope of seizures of the person on less than probable cause that Terry

Page 461 U. S. 365

permits is strictly circumscribed to limit the degree of intrusion they cause. Terry encounters must be brief; the suspect must not be moved or asked to move more than a short distance; physical searches are permitted only to the extent necessary to protect the police officers involved during the encounter; and, most importantly, the suspect must be free to leave after a short time and to decline to answer the questions put to him.

"[T]he person may be briefly detained against his will while pertinent questions are directed to him. Of course, the person stopped is not obliged to answer, answers may not be compelled, and refusal to answer furnishes no basis for an arrest, although it may alert the officer to the need for continued observation."

This is not mean't to be against the police or the often difficult job they do , only to try to remind both police and the public to do their best to stay within the limits of the law , and use proper reasoning and interpretation when enforcing it or making a complaint .

These are the laws even though they are left to much interpretation and discretion by authorities and those who enforce the law , they do show that there are a few actual "rights" the citizen can stand up for when they know them,

Overall, interactions between the police and the public could be better with effort from both police and the public with a little effort from both sides
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