Reply To: Reasonable Suspicion and Officer Pat Downs


If you haven’t read Terry vs Ohio, the officer saw two men outside of a store that appeared to be casing the place for a robbery. They had been taking turns walking in front of a store and looking in the window. They were doing this repeatedly, and talking in between each run. A third man had shown up and left. The officer saw the three meet up down the street and approached them. He patted Terry down and found a gun in his jacket. He also found a gun in one of the other men’s pocket as well.

The court deemed it reasonable for the officer to suspect the robbery and pat them down.

NYPD’s policy seems to me to be just patting people down for being present in certain areas. I don’t find that reasonable at all. Courts have supported officers who pat down people after they put their hands in their pockets after an officer has asked them to take them out of the pockets. That is understandable, but a pat down just for being somewhere (TSA?) is not.