"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." U.S. Constitution, Amendment IV
"The security of one's privacy against arbitrary intrusion by the police-which is at the core of the Fourth Amendment-is basic to a free society. It is therefore implicit in 'the concept of ordered liberty' and as such enforceable againt the States through the Due Process Clause. The knock at the door, whether by day or by night, as a prelude to a search, without authority of law but solely on the authority of the police, did not need the commentary of recent history to be condemned as inconsistent with the conception of human rights enshrined in the history and the basic constitutional documents of English-speaking peoples." Wolf v. Colorado
"Because New Mexico law allows individuals to openly carry weapons in public—and Mr. St. John had done nothing to arouse suspicion, create tumult or endanger anyone's well-being—there were no articulable facts to indicate either
criminal activity or a threat to safety. Accordingly, Defendants' seizure of Mr. St. John violated his Fourth Amendment rights." 08cv00994 (St. John v. McColley) (District Court)
I'd recommend that everybody read the St. John case here: http://www.nmcourt.fed.us/Drs-Web/vi...429-0000000000
Some more money quotes:
"A seizure under the Fourth Amendment occurs when "a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to
leave." Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567, 573 (1988)"
"Those factors, which are non-exclusive, see, e.g., United States v.
Griffin, 7 F.3d 1512, 1518 (10th Cir. 1993), require the Court to consider:
1) the threatening presence of several officers; 2) the brandishing of a weapon
by an officer; 3) some physical touching by an officer; 4) use of aggressive
language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with an officer's request is
compulsory; 5) prolonged retention of a person's personal effects . . .; 6) a
request to accompany the officer to the station; 7) interaction in a nonpublic
place or a small, enclosed place; 8) and absence of other members of the
The behavior of the Santa Fe Police would have easily led a reasonable person to believe they weren't free to go. The guy recording the video was one of those unusual right-wing extremist types, and was aware of his rights. Many people are not, and would have been railroaded into giving away rights.
The SF police were lucky to have encountered this man instead of somebody else.