Sunday, November 07, 2010

During our many discussions of the Arizona immigration law

I mentioned that I was concerned that damn near anything could look like "reasonable suspicion" to justify the sort of police stops allowed under the law. My example at the time was that if a woman were dressed up and headed to her favorite nightclub, there might be "reasonable suspicion" that a sexily-dressed woman walking down the street late at night was a hooker and that would be enough to stop her under the law*.

I was totally underestimating the creativity of our nation's law enforcement professionals. Police in Philly have twice arrested this poor bastard for loitering--at a bus stop.

So, yeah, my faith that the words "Reasonable suspicion" have any meaning at all in Arizona is pretty lacking.


*Somehow I doubt there has been a spike in the deportation of sexy people since, but it seemed like a good example at the time.


Robin Edgar said...

The term "reasonable grounds" apparently does not have much truth or meaning up here in Montreal either CC. . .

I must say however that I was quite gratified last Friday night when a blonde female police officer, who had sped to the Unitarian Church of Montreal sirens blaring and lights flashing, along with two of her fellow police officers in a second police squad car, decided that the complaint that some Montreal Unitarian had called in alleging that I was behaving aggressively in front of said self-described Unitarian Church was smart enough to figure out that they had been fed a line of bullshit by whoever called in the complaint. One of the last things she said to her tow colleagues before they left after determining that there were not in fact any "reasonable grounds" to believe that I had been acting aggressively or had done anything else of an illegal nature was -

"C'est les niaiseries."

This more or less translates to -

It's bullshit.

No if only *other* Montreal police officers would wake-up and smell the U*U BS that Montreal Unitarians have been feeding them for years now. . .

I was even more gratified when I protested for several hours in front of the Eastern Regional Conference of Canadian Unitarians that the Unitarian Church of Montreal was hosting on Sunday and the police did not show up at all. This is unprecedented in the last several years since, prior to Friday night. . . Montreal police pretty much always came to the Unitarian Church of Montreal within half and hour of me starting my protest.

Oh and let's not forget that the self-titled "Citizen's Police Officer" of the Unitarian Church Of Montreal known as U*U COP is on public record as alleging that my peaceful public protest constitutes "loitering". . . Personally I have much more "reasonable grounds" to believe that that U*U COP's repeated (dare I say obsessive?)tossing of my picket signs onto de Maisonneuve Boulevard constitutes *littering* at the very least.

Chalicechick said...

Given that the assumptions you've made about previous American cases have highlighted the differences in American and Canadian laws, I'm not certain what Canadian police believe is a reasonable stop is relevant.

That said, that someone called and said you were making trouble would certainly be excuse enough for an Arizona police officer to demand your ID under the law, so I guess you've provided one more example of how someone who wasn't breaking the law could have their documents demanded in Arizona without probable cause. That wouldn't have been lawful anywhere in America a couple of years ago.


Chalicechick said...

Ok, wouldn't have been lawful for REGULAR cops to do it. The border patrol has had that power for awhile.

Steven Rowe said...

I know of quite a few incidents where police have demanded ID from law obeying incidents. I had a friend who was stopped (around 11 AM) for apparently wearing a sundress - this was about 20-30 years ago in Charlotte. She was asked for ID.
2) I, a passenger in a car, was asked for my ID and then scolded! for not having a Tennessee licence (I didnt live in Tennessee and had a full time job in eastern SC at the time). My friend the driver, was a local newspaper reporter, and she suspected that had something to do with it (this was around 15 years ago).
I can think of more, sometimes for the crime of being young, sometimes for the crime of being dressed differently. etc.
Could we have sued the police?
could we have bet on who would have won?

Chalicechick said...

Sued them for money, probably not.

Sued them for an injunction to stop the practice of demanding IDs, maybe.

Called the police department and complained about them, of course, though they might not have even bothered to remind the officers not to do that.

Had you refused to show ID, could they have arrested you? Maybe, but most cops would know they had to decide you were resisting arrest or loitering or something.

That said, they were supposed to have probable cause to pull you over in the first place.


Chalicechick said...

Robin, the post you just submitted seems to largely be a repetition of the first post you made in this thread. Do you have any new points to make?


PG said...

I'm not great on the 4th Amendment, but didn't Hiibel in 2004 say states could arrest and prosecute people for refusing to identify themselves, if requested to do so by a police officer who find them in "suspicious circumstances"?