Know Your Rights: Reasonable suspicion and Probable cause

NYPDAfter reading an article about “Terry” stops by the NYPD, my inquisitive mind needed more answers.

“Police stop more than 1 million people on street” – http://apnews.myway.com/article/20091008/D9B75TA02.html

In the article above, they state that “The practice is perfectly legal” and then reference a Supreme Court ruling in regard to “reasonable suspicion”. This however, was not enough to ease my mind.

After digging around on wikipedia.org, I am still not so sure about the legality of what the NYPD is doing, and even more, I am concerned about further ramifications of continuing down this road.

Although it seems perfectly reasonable for a person to be required to state his name and purpose for being somewhere when that person is engaged in suspicious activities, where is the line between that situation, and a police officer being able to demand such information any time they want. Is there any line between such a law, and the presence of police checkpoints being commonplace on public streets? Florida’s “Stop and Identify” law is written in such a way that it’s vague language and subtle undertones leave the citizen with no power, and the “statue” (legislative power, judicial power, and police power) with the final word. Fl St 856.021 – (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0856/SEC021.HTM&Title=-%3E2006-%3ECh0856-%3ESection%20021#0856.021)

Now I’m not trying to get all “conspiracy theory” on you, and I am not about to scream “WE’RE LIVING IN A POLICE STATE!”, but any logical person must consider these topics at a time when we feel our rights are upheld. If we don’t question now, when the time comes and we need those rights, they may already have been pulled out from under us.

P.S. Always remember these five powerful words “Am I free to go?”

Further Reading

Reasonable Suspicion – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reasonable_suspicion

Probable Cause – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probable_cause

Stop and Identify statutes – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_and_Identify_statutes

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