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Thread: officer safety

  1. #1
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    its been a while since iv been to the peoples republic, but i was just thinking about when i used to live there and how i always got harassed by the cops. when i was 15-17 me and my friends would always just hang out, not causing any problems and we didnt look like bad kids but the sheriffs would always come up and tell all of us to get up against the wall and they would conduct an "officer safety" check which was just a pat down unless they felt something in our pockets then they would pull it out for us (whether it be keys, wallet, phone, etc)

    now, i know the 4th amendment should come into play here but i have seen this numerous times where they would pull out a bag of weed or something and the charges would stick in court even though it was a completely random and unnecessary search.

    so i guess my question is, is this "officer safety" search legal? everytime i had a pocket knife clipped in my pocket they would immediately put me against their car or a wall to secure it and further check my pockets to see what else they could find.

  2. #2
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    edit!
    When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

  3. #3
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    Only a Terry patdown is allowed for officer safety.

    More commentary to follow this post (from other members)

  4. #4
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    it was always the same story "we got a call about teenagers up to no good" which wasnt true and i am almost positive no one called on us. and i have said before i do not consent to a search and the cop just said "this isnt a search its for officer safety" and continued to empty my pockets

  5. #5
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    so if i have a pocket knife that is visible because the clip is showing outside of my pocket, they can legally restrain me and secure it?

  6. #6
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    r6-rider wrote:
    so if i have a pocket knife that is visible because the clip is showing outside of my pocket, they can legally restrain me and secure it?
    They shouldn't be able to, but an officer could quite easily say that in "good faith" they thought they recognized the clip/end of the knife housing as being a knife they knew to be illegal. In reality, at most, they should just check the knife for legal status but I'm sure you'd get a pat down and likely a full search of all your pockets.

    This isn't to say officers are likely stopping people and checking their knives all the time. My ex-girlfriend worked at a knife store and carried around 2 Kershaw Shallots and a Ka-Bar folder with the clips plainly in view for months around the mall and in general travels and never got stopped.

    I'm sure how you look would play a big role in the likelyhood of being stopped for OCing a knife.

  7. #7
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    trust me im very professional and clean cut, where im from every cop was just corrupt and looking for any reason to arrest or cite a teenager. small hick town, what can i say.

    but i wasnt OCing anything, the sheriffs up there are just incredibly paranoid about every single thing that they feel its necassary to eliminate ANY chance for them to get injured. which makes sense to me and thats why i never really complained but being detained and running our names while searching everyone for no reason was just unnecassary.

  8. #8
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    Also, these searches are generally for weapons. I think it would be tough to argue that they were searching for weapons in a plastic baggie. Not saying people aren't convicted for it...

  9. #9
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    Lomic wrote:
    ... an officer could quite easily say that in "good faith" they thought they recognized the clip/end of the knife housing as being a knife they knew to be illegal.
    "Good faith" is not in the language of the Terry decision.

    In order to even detain you, the officer has to be able to articulate what crime he reasonably believes has occurred or is about to occur. "Up to no good" is not RAS (Reasonable, Articulable Suspicion) to detain for investigation.

    Even if the officer is investigating criminal activity, (s)he can NOT conduct any type of search at will. In order to do a "pat down" the officer must articulate why they reasonably believed the subject is BOTH armed AND an immediate danger. This search is limited to patting the outside of the clothing for WEAPONS only.

    Anything beyond the Terry pat-down is a search that must be justified by further criteria. The officers can conduct warrantless searches in very limited circumstances. In order to search for contraband other than weapons, the officer must articulate two things:
    1. How (s)he reasonably suspected a crime was committed or is about to be committed.
    2. How (s)he reasonably knew evidence of that crime was present in the place being searched.
    3. What circumstances existed that required immediate seizure of the evidence without obtaining a search warrant; the following are the two exclusive circumstances recognized by the SCOTUS in 2008 (see Arizona v Gant):
      1. The officer is outnumbered or otherwise unable to control the suspect's ability to gain access to a weapon.
      2. The officer is outnumbered or otherwise unable to control the suspect's ability to gain access to and destroy the evidence.
    Any searches or seizures that do not fall into the three aforementioned categories is a violation of the 4th Amendment, and all evidence gathered in such a way must be suppressed.

    ================================================== ======

    I realize this is 'how it is supposed to work' and doesn't necessarily relfect how LE operate, and how the trials courts allow 'fruit of the poisonous tree' to be admitted regularly.

    Further, CA PC 12031(e) - a direct slap in the face to the Terry court - was upheld by the CA Court of Appeals in 1970 (see People v DeLong).
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