Do the police have rights too?

posted at 12:31 pm on September 23, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

At first glance it looks like something out of an Orwellian horror film. Police with high power weapons and riot shields shutting down an intersection on a busy city street, rousting families out of cars, handcuffing them all and lining them up on the pavement. But in this case, there was a method to the mayhem. An unknown individual wearing a beekeeper’s mask – hiding not only their identity, race, age, etc. but their gender as well – had robbed a nearby bank and the police were out to get the bad guy.

The Wells Fargo at Chambers and Hampden was robbed just before closing time on Saturday. Shortly afterwards police shut down the intersection of Buckley and Iliff just southeast of the bank, corralling nearly two dozen cars in search for the suspect.

Police Chief Daniel Oates on Monday apologized to the innocent bystanders that got caught up in the search for the suspect. Oates also said the ends justify the means since the suspect was caught.

The police are still apologizing for the inconvenience and trauma to all of the motorists caught up in the sweep, but insist that there was no question of the location of the suspect.

“We had a virtual certainty that the bank robber was in one of those cars,” Oates said.

Officers did find the suspect in one of the cars, and he will likely face bank robbery charges in federal court, Oates said. Investigators also found a beekeeper mask they say the man wore during the robbery as well as two pistols connected to the crime, he said.

So how did they have a “virtual certainty” that the bank robber would be found at that location? The bank teller had inserted a GPS device in the bag of money they gave the suspect and the police were tracking him. When it became obvious that the getaway car was approaching a choke point in the traffic, officials moved in, shut it down and began methodically going through every car at that intersection. And they found the guy, who the police described as “extraordinarily dangerous.”

But now some of the motorists are raising questions as to whether their civil rights were violated with the mass detention. And adding insult to injury, the lawyer for the suspect is already claiming that his client initially refused the police demand to search his vehicle until he felt “pressured” to do so and that all the evidence obtained from the search – money, guns, beekeeper mask – should be thrown out. (No link on that portion of the story yet, but CNN is covering it on their morning lineup.) Seriously?

I hope there is a judge out there with the common sense to toss this notion out to the curb. Yes, many people were inconvenienced, and the police have already offered an apology. But the cops were in the process of quickly apprehending a violent, heavily armed felon right in their midst. And as to the suspect’s claims of some sort of illegal search… how high does that bar have to be? If you can narrow down the location of the evidence to a group of twenty or so cars, is that not “probably cause” enough?

If this guy walks, the world has truly gone mad.


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Sounds like the police acted stupidly.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

rousting families out of cars, handcuffing them all and lining them up on the pavement.

Asking people to get out of their cars is one thing, but handcuffing????

Wethal on September 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Guilty until proven innocent: it’s the new American way.

shawk on September 23, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I have a question… What if one of the individuals or more ended up getting busted for non related crimes because the police had done this? Say someone had a joint. Another person a broken tail light. Someone else was driving with out a license and so forth…

They could not have tracked the perpetrator better since they had the GPS device and pinpointed exactly which car it was? I would think they could have. So what purpose was served by doing it the way they did do it?

Sorry, I am all for a secure life. But I think the police state is already overbearing as it is.

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 12:38 PM

It must have been a pretty darned poor GPS device if it wasn’t accurate enough to locate the exact vehicle the guy was riding in.

I hope the police get sued into oblivion over this. It IS a police-intimidation tactic, and one that needs to be stopped right now.

What would have happened if, with all these cars stopped, and all these innocent folks standing around, men women & children, the guy had pulled those two weapons and started a gun fight with the cops?

We already saw what happened in NYC when the cops started blazing away and shot 19 innocent bystanders in order to kill one guy.

Enough. Follow the GPS to a more remote area and take him down then. This was beyond stupid on the part of the cops.

TKindred on September 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

If this guy walks, the world has truly gone mad.

Bingo. The cops were 100% in the right on this one. They had probable cause, and they knew the location for the search. The search was not a pretense for any other motive.

The motorists who are complaining are in the wrong, and need to recognize that being part of a civilized society means sometimes serving the public good includes being inconvenienced in one’s own life. They were not falsely arrested, nor were their possessions seized by police. They were detained until they were cleared.

The robber’s complaints are even more ridiculous. You committed the crime. The fact that they searched your vehicle does not absolve you of the culpability stemming from your thievery. I hope you serve the maximum sentence possible.

Stoic Patriot on September 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

I’m kind of tending to side with the police on this one, but…

If they had the guy tagged with a GPS, why not wait until they had him a little more isolated?

trigon on September 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

We have become a nation of perpetual grievance

workingclass artist on September 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM

“inconvenienced”

I wonder if this is the word you’d use if you and your family happened to be among those subjected to…

Police with high power weapons and riot shields shutting down an intersection on a busy city street, rousting families out of cars, handcuffing them all and lining them up on the pavement.

glockomatic on September 23, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Sheesh, have you read some of the comments in the accompanying story? These people are really up in arms over this. Perhaps it shouldn’t have taken the police two hours to find the suspect, but c’mon; this guy was an armed robber.

dalewalt on September 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

The police give not one damn about any citizens’ rights, property, or lives, or those of their families and children.

How much of this do we have to watch.

Fight back intelligently against the near constant police state.
Know the law.
Act within your rights but no further.
Do not provoke the police, they will do that themselves just fine.
Settle it in court.
Get involved in local politics on the side of personal liberty. You’ll be surprised how many police officers will declare themselves your enemy when you do so.

rightwingyahooo on September 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

What does this have to do with “police have rights”?
The police had probable cause.

Count to 10 on September 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

We have become a nation of perpetual grievance

workingclass artist on September 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM

*shrug*

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Police Chief Daniel Oates on Monday apologized to the innocent bystanders that got caught up in the search for the suspect. Oates also said the ends justify the means since the suspect was caught.

I always get warm fuzzies when I hear/read that phrase.

Left Coast Right Mind on September 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Nope. I am for law and order, but they could have done better.

popup on September 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Enough. Follow the GPS to a more remote area and take him down then. This was beyond stupid on the part of the cops.

TKindred on September 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Unless the robber happens to go to a crowded shopping mall to get rid of the evidence; then you’re talking about hundreds of people at risk. As some have said, the tracking device could be better, but GPS on the scale of something that can fit into a bank bag (presumably unnoticed) cannot be accurate to within a few feet.

dalewalt on September 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

When this country finally dissolves into chaos, (pray that doesn’t happen because most of the people hurt will be the innocent) the police WILL BE on the side of the oppressors, GUARANTEED.

And so will more than 50% of the US armed forces. Also guaranteed.

So, the people will be divided and afraid, and will likely accept tyranny.

So, just pray it never gets that far.

rightwingyahooo on September 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Well as a retired officer I can’t say “handcuffing” all the motorist was a smart move. Yes it restricts movement and essentially greatly increases their odds of not getting shot in the back. The handcuffing all is excessive. A simple pat down should suffice with other officers standing behind the motorists who had been through the pat down. You only need one or two officers for the search of vehicles.

The GPS device gives them them reason for the search of the vehicle(s). I think most judges would agree that that meets the threshold in an exception to search warrant rule.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Nope. I am for law and order, but they could have done better.

popup on September 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Perhaps, but there is no indication that the police didn’t do it as well as they knew how at the time.

Count to 10 on September 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Slippery slope. Anyone ever wonder if integrity of the establishment of probable cause for car searches might be compromised by drug sniffing dogs eager to please their handlers and reponsive to hidden cues? What are the protections against that? Do we simply rely on the integrity of LEO handler?:)

a capella on September 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

The cops were 100% in the right on this one. They had probable cause, and they knew the location for the search. The search was not a pretense for any other motive.

For the suspect, I agree wholeheartedly. For the general population that was handcuffed, not at all. They were not suspect, therefore not subject to search, seizure or custody (and yes, placing someone in handcuffs is custodial).

Without a warrant or permission, the police didn’t have a valid reason to search any other vehicle or place the populace at large in handcuffs. Exigent circumstances could be a possibility, but again, using such a broad stroke is like using a machete when a scalpel is called for.

And for the Chief of Police’s information, “the ends justify the means…” is a Machiavellian cop out (pun intended).

Chappy on September 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

I think this likely was proper police work except for the handcuffs. Now for the indiscriminate road blocks used to identify drunk drivers I have a real problem. In regards to the situation in the article is it not similar to a suspect going into a an apartment building? Can the police go into every apartment without a warrant or permission?
Any lawyers or attorneys?

CW on September 23, 2012 at 12:50 PM

For the record, the Fox News analyst (former law enforcement) was saying later that the GPS tracker is nice and very helpful, but to answer some of the earlier comments, no. They couldn’t pin it to the exact car. They were lucky to get it down to a one block area and were still not 100% sure they had him, but it was a high enough probability to go for it. And they got him, so apparently it worked.

Jazz Shaw on September 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM

What would the Warren Court do? Prob toss him to freedom.

I sincerely hope we have moved past Earl’s pendulum swing to the Left . . .

BigAlSouth on September 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM

The police had probable cause.
Count to 10 on September 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

What did these people do?

whatcat on September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

I think handcuffing might have been extreme but everything else was fine. They had probable cause.

As for people talking about the GPS not giving them the exact car, pleases top watching NCIS or CSI, GPS devices are good but they can only give you a location especially when time is of the essence, it’s harder to pin it down to an exact car.

NerwenAldarion on September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

If this guy walks, the world has truly gone mad.

Bingo. The cops were 100% in the right on this one. They had probable cause, and they knew the location for the search. The search was not a pretense for any other motive.

The motorists who are complaining are in the wrong, and need to recognize that being part of a civilized society means sometimes serving the public good includes being inconvenienced in one’s own life. They were not falsely arrested, nor were their possessions seized by police. They were detained until they were cleared.

The robber’s complaints are even more ridiculous. You committed the crime. The fact that they searched your vehicle does not absolve you of the culpability stemming from your thievery. I hope you serve the maximum sentence possible.

Stoic Patriot on September 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Hurray for you… Benjamin Franklin would pat you on the back and tell what a swell patriot you are… NOT

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin 1775-

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

That;s right. Any time the police trot out the old “the ends justify the means”, they are rubbing your face in their own untouchability.

They are buffoons.

Anyone who uses a quote like that, especially in the open, has no right to authority.

rightwingyahooo on September 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Do we simply rely on the integrity of LEO handler?:)

a capella on September 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Yeh we never do that.
/

CW on September 23, 2012 at 12:53 PM

For the record, the Fox News analyst (former law enforcement) was saying later that the GPS tracker is nice and very helpful, but to answer some of the earlier comments, no. They couldn’t pin it to the exact car. They were lucky to get it down to a one block area and were still not 100% sure they had him, but it was a high enough probability to go for it. And they got him, so apparently it worked.

Jazz Shaw on September 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Surrender your own damned Constitutional Rights Jazz, not everyone else.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

They were lucky to get it down to a one block area and were still not 100% sure they had him, but it was a high enough probability to go for it. And they got him, so apparently it worked.Jazz Shaw on September 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Carpet bombing works the same way.

a capella on September 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Enough. Follow the GPS to a more remote area and take him down then. This was beyond stupid on the part of the cops.

TKindred on September 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Unless the robber happens to go to a crowded shopping mall to get rid of the evidence; then you’re talking about hundreds of people at risk. As some have said, the tracking device could be better, but GPS on the scale of something that can fit into a bank bag (presumably unnoticed) cannot be accurate to within a few feet.

dalewalt on September 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Current GPS accuracy is to within 20 to 30 meters.

Del Dolemonte on September 23, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I think handcuffing might have been extreme but everything else was fine. They had probable cause.

NerwenAldarion on September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Like hell they did. At any given hour of any given day the police could under your logic cordon off a square block of any major city and say, we have probably cause to believe that someone in here has committed a crime, and then proceed to search every single individual caught in their net for evidence of a crime.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

To answer your question CW, no they would not be able to search apartments with that scenario. Your home has much greater protections on searches than a vehicle does. They need a search warrant since the house can’t move, a vehicle can.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

say it with me statist republicans:

The state is my shield and will never betray me…
The state is my shield and will never betray me…
The state is my shield and will never betray me…

rightwingyahooo on September 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

This.

rightwingyahooo on September 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Your home has much greater protections on searches than a vehicle does. They need a search warrant since the house can’t move, a vehicle can.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Wrong answer, according to the SCOTUS your car has the exact same expectation of privacy as your home or your person.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Cons4Ever….thanks.

Also, a blast from the past about cops putting GPS units on vehicles without a warrant.

http://www.minnpost.com/christian-science-monitor/2012/01/unanimous-supreme-court-get-warrant-installing-gps-tracking-device

CW on September 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

As for police dogs and searching for drugs, there are numerous court cases to peruse that affirms their (dogs) use.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

As far as the police using handcuffs; I’m unsure of whether it was proper or not. But imagine you have your grandmother by your side, and all of a sudden someone grabs her in a choke hold and threatens to break her neck if not set free.

Would you have wanted everyone in handcuffs then?

IMHO, a tough call on the cops part.

dalewalt on September 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I think handcuffing might have been extreme but everything else was fine. They had probable cause.
NerwenAldarion on September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Like hell they did. At any given hour of any given day the police could under your logic cordon off a square block of any major city and say, we have probably cause to believe that someone in here has committed a crime, and then proceed to search every single individual caught in their net for evidence of a crime.
SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Yup. As I asked above – what had these people done?

whatcat on September 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM

“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.”

whatcat on September 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

We (truchers) were told that the GPS in our electronic logging systems (QualComm; PeopleNet) are accurate to within one meter.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

CW I followed that case. I actually agreed with the results. Even if I was also was at the other end of it. I won’t confirm or deny of being part of the now illegal act. :-)

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

“In the news tonight, the police are apologizing for the people they had to mow down during this afternoon’s search at a local intersection, but insist the ends justify the means since a potential shoplifter was caught….

“A review of the incident by the department of internal affairs has already ruled cops acted appropriately.”

rightwingyahooo on September 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Go a step further. What if the police found illegal drugs, or an unregistered weapon on some of those searched? Arrest them? What about expired licenses? Or expired tags? Requirements for search warrants are there in part to check those in power from overstepping. When they do, they risk having their case thrown out. I have been on the wrong end of law enforcement making a mistake and covering it up to save face and screw someone innocent. If someone refuses a search, you have to get a warrant. Period. Common sense has nothing to do with it.

JeffinOrlando on September 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM

What’s truly mad is that someone with the power of the pen on a conservative blog is promoting illegal search and seizure among innocent people for “the greater good”. where does it stop? Next time will there really be an alleged bank robber among those searched?

Is this a test of the people by the police state to see what the people will let them get away with?

bearpaw on September 23, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Also, a blast from the past about cops putting GPS units on vehicles without a warrant.

http://www.minnpost.com/christian-science-monitor/2012/01/unanimous-supreme-court-get-warrant-installing-gps-tracking-device

CW on September 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Putting a GPS on a car is one thing, but putting it in a bag of stolen money is another. A thief has no expectation of privacy with a bag of stolen money.

The banks also often put timed dye pacs in the bags, too. The teller sets the timer, and the bag explodes with indelible red dye landing all over the thief and the money after a certain time period.

If you’ve ever gotten some bills for the ATM with red ink stains on them, they’re likely from a heist.

Wethal on September 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM

The Wells Fargo at Chambers and Hampden

Hello journalism 101 JS – even though you are quoting the story – as much as pseudo-journalism gets rightfully disparaged here at HA – could you not MODIFY the quote to indicate what city is involved??

Not everyone knows where ‘Chambers at Hampden’ is…………..(I’m a former Denver resident so I did have an inkling)

Katfish on September 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

reddevil on September 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Wrong answer, according to the SCOTUS your car has the exact same expectation of privacy as your home or your person.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Have they banned dui checkpoints yet?

CW on September 23, 2012 at 1:07 PM

a tough call on the cops part.

dalewalt on September 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

A tough call my ass, this was a no brainer, and the police made the intentional choice to violate the constitutional rights of hundreds of innocent law abiding citizen to apprehend one criminal. This action would have offended the Founding Fathers beyond anything you are apparently capable of comprehending.

The mentality that you and others like Jazz are showing, is the direct result of decades of subtle Marxist indoctrination in the public education system and through the media.

This in not a mentality even remotely conducive to the United States Constitution nor the ideologies of the Founding Fathers. Me, who through their voluminous writing made it abundantly clear that tactics such as this were the antithesis of their ideologies and beliefs.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 1:08 PM

SWalker you are incorrect on that. A car doesn’t have the same protections. Think Deleware v Prouse, then put that person in a home. Which can be searched w/o a warrant and which can’t

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:08 PM

As for police dogs and searching for drugs, there are numerous court cases to peruse that affirms their (dogs) use.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Do they address the issue of handler influence over canine signalment?How is objectivity insured in a system dependent on handler dominance?

a capella on September 23, 2012 at 1:09 PM

We (truchers) were told that the GPS in our electronic logging systems (QualComm; PeopleNet) are accurate to within one meter.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 1:03 PM

As is the GPS in my cell phone.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Sounds like the police acted stupidly.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Only if any of the innocent suspects were black.

This is much ado about nothing. It’s like locking down a room where you know there’s a violent felon. They were outdoors, so they had to use handcuffs. *yawn*

Paul-Cincy on September 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Hurray for you… Benjamin Franklin would pat you on the back and tell what a swell patriot you are… NOT…

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin 1775-

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Franklin was also a dirty old man who fornicated with French women. I’ll take that as a compliment.

Stoic Patriot on September 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

We have become a nation of perpetual grievance

workingclass artist on September 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM

*shrug*

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

*snicker*

workingclass artist on September 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

The point of a government police force is to make sure that society operates smoothly by making sure no one disrupts it by breaking the established laws. If the police need to upend and disrupt society themselves then they have already FAILED at their job even if they caught an individual criminal.

Resolute on September 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

So if the guy had put the stuff in a backpack, got on a bicycle and rode away while the cops were checking cars, he would have been caught? Or not? Were buses stopped? Foot traffic? People with backpacks? And how did they know the person was using a car? How can you have knowledge that someone is using a car to get away and not even know what the color or make/model it is?

Police are granted limited powers and the concept of ‘reasonable’ is one that comes down to statute and what individuals will accept. Since we pay good tax dollars (and I hear how the Left harps on such necessary spending for police and firefighters) that power is something that the POLICE need to respect and not deploy for their convenience. The more this is harped upon, the greater the POLICE need to respect the limits of their powers and work hard, very hard, not to impose upon the innocent public in the search of the guilty. Expedience for the convenience of the police is not a good reason to stop so many especially when you have a relatively accurate tracking device that should be good within 10′ – stop the traffic, get the coordinates and just walk until you are within the accuracy of the tracker and you will have at most 3 cars and one that is closest to the given coordinates.

So is this sort of thing justified? Is being in a car ‘probable cause’ when you have relatively accurate tracking to get it down to a couple of vehicles? That is up to the public to decide in civil forums and for those who have undergone this if they wish to take it to court. You would think that the better the tracking the less inconvenience… not more.

ajacksonian on September 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Yes, many people were inconvenienced, and the police have already offered an apology.

Having a shotgun muzzle in your face is a bit more than an inconvenience. They should have simply escorted the cars away from the intersection one at a time until they figured out which one the tracker was in. This was ridiculous.

Pablo on September 23, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I have numerous questions about this. Were the police pointing their weapons at the innocent bystanders? Once they cleared someone how do they justify continuted detainment to the point of handcuffing the innocennt bystanders? Did any of the innocent bystanders have legally concealed weapons and if so, how was that handled?

I don’t object to their concept of cordoning off an area to search for the bad guy. This happens not infrequently when a bad guy is confined to a limited access area. In that instance yes, I would consent to a vehicle search to help LEO more quickly eliminate me and my vehicle so they can focus on getting the bad guy assuming they asked rather than demanded. Point a gun at me and handcuff me and I am launching into “why am I being detained” “what is your probably cause to handcuff me”, etc.

deepdiver on September 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

So what right does this column suggest the cops have, they they are potentially being denied?

The right to mass-handcuff?

I have not read a serious Jazz Shaw column in a good while, and I can see that won’t be changing anytime soon.

Pantywaist statist RINO unworthy of his constitutional rights.

rightwingyahooo on September 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

As for police dogs and searching for drugs, there are numerous court cases to peruse that affirms their (dogs) use.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The police cannot search your car without probable cause or your permission.

However, they can detain you, get a K-9 unit there, and if the dog hits on something, they now have probable cause.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

If this guy walks, the world has truly gone mad.

Indisputable.

Worth noting — we are well onto the slippery slope with police power here, and we need to watch our footing very, very carefully.

Jaibones on September 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

SWalker I should also mention Border Patrol check points, legal road blocks, ect….. A home doesn’t have something called “motor vehicle exception” which in of itself means there are exceptions to searching a motor vehicle. Which also means a motor vehicle doesn’t have the same protections that a home has.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Putting a GPS on a car is one thing, but putting it in a bag of stolen money is another. A thief has no expectation of privacy with a bag of stolen money. The banks also often put timed dye pacs in the bags, too. The teller sets the timer, and the bag explodes with indelible red dye landing all over the thief and the money after a certain time period. If you’ve ever gotten some bills for the ATM with red ink stains on them, they’re likely from a heist.

Wethal on September 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I understand that. I just thought the GPS story I linked to as being very interesting in today’s day of technology. It seems crazy to me that without a warrant police could track someone using such a device.

CW on September 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

A neighbor in Texas called the police about kids playing outside…and the cops arrested the mother who was watching her kids play outside.

yeah…This happened in Texas the same week an old man was harassed for lynching his chair in his front yard.

workingclass artist on September 23, 2012 at 1:15 PM

We have become a nation of perpetual grievance

workingclass artist on September 23, 2012 at 12:40 PM

*shrug*

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM

*snicker*

workingclass artist on September 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Glad you found it humerous, too.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 1:15 PM

…cool with it!…but the cuffs?

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

If the role of the police could be redefined from fund-raising using traffic laws and ruining the lives of innocent 19-year-olds for drinking a beer, they could count on more support from citizens.

If the police were held accountable when they commit crimes instead of having their buddies cover for them, they could count on more support from the citizens.

If the police supported citizens’ rights (especially 2nd and 4th Amd. rights) they could count on more support from the citizens.

Except for hancuffing all the non-bank-robbers (WTF is up with that?), it seems like the police did the right thing in this case. What about all the other cases where the police didn’t do the right thing?

And no, the police don’t “have rights”. They are government enforcers. They have powers granted to them with a very strict responsibility to exercise those powers justly. Governments don’t have rights.

Kohath on September 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

…cool with it!…but the cuffs?KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Minor inconvenience. You’ll get used to them after while. Remember the frog in boiling water?

a capella on September 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

SWalker you are incorrect on that. A car doesn’t have the same protections. Think Deleware v Prouse, then put that person in a home. Which can be searched w/o a warrant and which can’t

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Wrong answer, absent exigent circumstances a warrant is required before a police officer can search your vehicle. In other words, probable cause is required, the exact same level of probable cause required to enter your home without a warrant.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

At first I was like “Sure officer, I’m not the bank robber, have a look. Happy to help.”

Then I was like “No, I won’t get handcuffed and sit on the curb with my wife and kids while you look for an armed robber somewhere in my vicinity just to make your job easier.”

I’m not going to be forced to sit there helpless. The police turned a robbery into a hostage/mass shooting scenario. You have a GPS, follow it to a safe location.

Mord on September 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

SWalker I should also mention Border Patrol check points, legal road blocks, ect….. A home doesn’t have something called “motor vehicle exception” which in of itself means there are exceptions to searching a motor vehicle. Which also means a motor vehicle doesn’t have the same protections that a home has.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

When I was team driving OTR, at a Border Checkpoint the Boarder Patrol would wake up the sleeping driver and ask him if he was an American citizen.

To me that was like the police waking you up at two in the morning at your house to ask you some question.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

The police cannot search your car without probable cause or your permission.

However, they can detain you, get a K-9 unit there, and if the dog hits on something, they now have probable cause.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Exactly where did I say the “police can search w/o probable cause?”

I will save you the time. I didn’t. You are projecting. I know many liberals who do that routinely.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I’ll split the difference here:
1) No, dood you don’t get the evidence tossed, you get 5-15.
2) But, NO, you can’t just pull people out of cars and handcuff them.
a) How about this instead, “Ma’am/Sir we have reason to believe that an armed bank robber is in the this intersection, in one of these cars.”
b) “May I see some identification and may I ask you to step out of the car and may I search it?”
c) Most people will probably agree. You don’t have to treat everyone like John Dillinger. And act like EVERYONE is guilty, because we know they aren’t.

What the cops did is the Law Enforcement equivalent of “Kill them all, God will recognize His Own.”

JFKY on September 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Anyone can armchair quarterback after the fact. Police are called on to make life and death decisions without the benefit of hindsite. Handcuffing everyone does seem extreme but they had to control a large group of people and keep everyone safe. We don’t know all the facts about what was going on on the ground. I’m sure the likely lawsuits will hammer that all out. The only thing we know for sure is that we don’t have all the facts. A good friend who is a cop can attest to that. His department uses past cases for training purposes, especially the high profile ones. What gets reported is only part of the story and not always accurate. There are always bad players in any occupation including police forces. Most cops just want to do their jobs and get safely home to their families.

hopeful on September 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Well as a retired officer I can’t say “handcuffing” all the motorist was a smart move. Yes it restricts movement and essentially greatly increases their odds of not getting shot in the back. The handcuffing all is excessive. A simple pat down should suffice with other officers standing behind the motorists who had been through the pat down. You only need one or two officers for the search of vehicles.

The GPS device gives them them reason for the search of the vehicle(s). I think most judges would agree that that meets the threshold in an exception to search warrant rule.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 12:47 PM

.
I am willing to go along with this general outlook. Yes, they had probable cause and therefore reason to search cars within the contained area.

I also agree the “handcuffing everyone” is excessive and may actually be grounds for dismissal of the charges since:

Police with high power weapons and riot shields shutting down an intersection on a busy city street, rousting families out of cars, handcuffing them all and lining them up on the pavement.

.
Is Orwellian and over the top – The police should have had sufficient resources on hand to methodically have people step out of the cars, be frisked and then moved to a place of safety.

For those who would speculate about the bad guy’s ability to cause mayhem, that’s where SWAT sharpshooters come into play.

As for the police chief … if he really did say “the ends justify the means”? Anyone at that level that insensitive needs to be excused from his role and encouraged to take his retirement options into consideration.

PolAgnostic on September 23, 2012 at 1:22 PM

During a potentially deadly ongoing crime this happens.

No particular recourse for those caught up in the sweep.

profitsbeard on September 23, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Jazz Shaw on September 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Surrender your own damned Constitutional Rights Jazz, not everyone else.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM

He cannot surrender his own. In so surrendering, he surrenders everyone’s. The cops were wrong. They endangered those people’s lives, they stole their freedom when they did nothing wrong.

astonerii on September 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

From this story the police had to have had some description of the suspect even with a beekeeper’s mask. Was the suspect male or female? Was he elderly? Was he young? There had to have been some notion of what type of person they were looking for. However in this photo I see women, and even children and teenaged girls sitting on the ground handcuffed. Sorry, if you’re looking for a male suspect of normal size, why are they cuffing women and children? I’m not with this broad brush approach to law enforcement. I respect the police. They have a tough job. But they have to do better than this. And since when to the police apologize for doing the right thing? If they are so certain they were in the right why did the chief apologize. Never knew a cop to apologize for doing his job the right way.

Mr A on September 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

I blame the free and easy access to beekeeper masks.

Rebar on September 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Wrong answer, absent exigent circumstances a warrant is required before a police officer can search your vehicle. In other words, probable cause is required, the exact same level of probable cause required to enter your home without a warrant.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

You are wrong on this issue. There is a “motor vehicle exception.” A home has more protections for searches than a motor vehicle. You might not wish for that to be true, but there is plenty of cases to prove my point. Go back to law school, if you ever were at one, that is. Someone failed to educate you on motor vehicle exceptions.

One more time, a home has more Constitutional protections for searches than a motor vehicle has.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

If they put a GPS in his bag, why not wait till he was in a less populated place to confront him? He could have opened fire in he middle of innocents, he could have taken hostages.

Sounds like the fuzz was a little bit over zealous.

Akzed on September 23, 2012 at 1:24 PM

And no, the police don’t “have rights”. They are government enforcers. They have powers granted to them with a very strict responsibility to exercise those powers justly. Governments don’t have rights.

Kohath on September 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I was just getting ready to post a follow-up comment saying that very thing. LEO only have rights as individual citizens. Acting in their capacity as an LEO they are an agent of government which has no rights, only constitutional restrictions or power specifically granted them in the constitution.

deepdiver on September 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM

hopeful on September 23, 2012 at 1:21 PM

It is my understanding that there is some difficulty in getting cops to turn in or testify against dirty cops. That old thing about snitches? I always wonder where their main loyalty lies.

a capella on September 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM

What did these people do?

whatcat on September 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM

What did anyone do that gets brought in for questioning about a crime they didn’t commit?
You are asking for a system that is “guilty until proven innocent”, if you demand that only the guilty can be detained.
Effectively, everyone that was detained there was a suspect, with reasonable suspicion that they had just violently robbed a bank. Sure, only one of them actually did it, but there is no way of knowing before they are searched. Even the parents with children.

Count to 10 on September 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM

The point of a government police force is to make sure that society operates smoothly by making sure no one disrupts it by breaking the established laws. If the police need to upend and disrupt society themselves then they have already FAILED at their job even if they caught an individual criminal. Resolute on September 23, 2012 at 1:11 PM

It’s not the police’s job to make sure no one breaks the law.

Akzed on September 23, 2012 at 1:26 PM

The motorists who are complaining are in the wrong, and need to recognize that being part of a civilized society means sometimes serving the public good includes being inconvenienced in one’s own life. They were not falsely arrested, nor were their possessions seized by police. They were detained until they were cleared.

Being handcuffed is not an inconvenience. You treat this as if it is no more serious than a checkpoint looking for DUIs. The police were looking for one person. ONE. Where is the line between “inconvenience” and constitutional violation? Suppose tomorrow the police respond to a burglary call in your neighborhood. They decide to remove every person in every home in a 4 block radius, handcuff them, and then justify it by saying….”hey, we knew one them was the bad guy, so we rousted all of them. Made our job a lot easier, and we got the bad guy.” Tell me this doesn’t cross the line.

They were wrong. In addition, the police created this entire fiasco by deciding to use the populace as a tool to make their job easier.

They had information that the individual was armed and dangerous, yet they chose to make their move at a crowded intersection instead of a more remote or less populated area.

So here’s what they really did: they knowingly put innocent bystanders in danger, then handcuffed them for having the bad luck of merely being there.

BobMbx on September 23, 2012 at 1:26 PM

…cool with it!…but the cuffs?
KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Just having people pull over, stop and sit in their cars would have been more than enough. Note if one tears off instead, otherwise go from stopped car to car, look in, ask a few questions until you hit paydirt. That would have inconvenienced citizens – but without violating their rights or causing a mass of lawsuits. The taxpayers are going to end up footing the bill for the police dept’s stupidity.

whatcat on September 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM

As far as the police using handcuffs; I’m unsure of whether it was proper or not. But imagine you have your grandmother by your side, and all of a sudden someone grabs her in a choke hold and threatens to break her neck if not set free.

Would you have wanted everyone in handcuffs then?

dalewalt on September 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Obviously everyone in the world should always be in handcuffs. Something bad might happen otherwise.

Kohath on September 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

If memory serves, the 4th Amendment says “the right of the people to be secure in their persons… against unreasonable searches and seizures…” The police don’t have the right to seize you just because you might be near the bad guy they are looking for. And what if other contraband or weapons were found while searching innocent bystanders? And how about that innocent bystander who could have had their beekeeping gear in their car? There’s a reason the police have to get a warrant for a search, it’s for probably cause you did something, not just because you were in the area. You can say this was “your guilty until I prove you innocent.”

TulsAmerican on September 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Even the parents with children.

Count to 10 on September 23, 2012 at 1:25 PM

OH Puh’LEEEEZE….I think it would have been also useful to have tased them into unconsciousness, just in case of them was the subject, I mean even the kids/

JFKY on September 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Sure… and why not just round entire neighborhoods up because police have “virtual certainty” that a thief/murderer/bank robber/Bush supporter is living in that neighborhood. Drag all the people out of their homes, handcuff them in the street and do a house to house search.

Why not just close down Times Square right now this instant. The NYPD I am sure have “virtual certainty” that someone dangerous is among that many people. Do you realize how many crooks could be caught if the police did random strip searches on the sidewalks? I am sure with “virtual certainty” that bad people would be caught if we just turned America into a police state. Mussolini devastated the mafia in Fascist Italy. I read in the Daily Mail that it was said Hitler rid Germany of crime. I read some old guy wrote that before Hitler, you could never leave your bike unchained. After Hitler you could leave your bicycle unchained all week long and nobody would ever touch it.

JellyToast on September 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

If they had the guy tagged with a GPS, why not wait until they had him a little more isolated?

trigon on September 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Mass detention is just the tip of very poor police work. Isolate the subject – not provide him with dozens of hostages. What if they guy had come out of his car shooting and hit a handcuffed innocent person sitting legs crossed on the sidewalk.

The police basically used innocent people as a Spike Strip to stop a fleeing suspect. “To Serve and Protect” as it says on the doors of LAPD. To Serve (the police) and Protect (the police).

kurtzz3 on September 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Wondering what the reaction would have been if the police had chosen not to act when they did and lost the opportunity to catch the bank robber (who, according to the story, had two guns with him–meaning anybody in his path as he made his escape was in danger)…I’m guessing the police would’ve taken a lot of heat for that call, too.

The only thing they had to identify the guy with was the tracking device; the mask hid everything else about him–age, race, etc. Once he ditched the bag, there was no way to find him. I recall an unnerving bank-robbing spree (same robber hitting multiple places) in the D.C. area a few years ago where it took a while before the robber was caught–and every bank in the area (and every bank customer) was on pins and needles waiting to see who would be robbed next. That’s also a bad scenario.

Tough call. (But the handcuffing…that probably could’ve been handled better.)

butterflies and puppies on September 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Exactly where did I say the “police can search w/o probable cause?”

I will save you the time. I didn’t. You are projecting. I know many liberals who do that routinely.

Conservative4Ever on September 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Where did I say that you said … .

I was just expanding on your comment.

Paranoia is often found in liberals.

davidk on September 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM

The number of imbeciles on this thread responding that this was in any way shape or form acceptable is a perfect demonstration of how Obama got elected and why America is doomed. Indoctrinated into Marxism without their even being remotely aware of it, utterly unaware of the ideological beliefs of the Founding Fathers, and to damned fat and lazy to even care. In other words… 100 percent perfectly and completely happy to surrender their essential liberties for a little false security.

SWalker on September 23, 2012 at 1:31 PM

And how about that innocent bystander who could have had their beekeeping gear in their car?

Well you’re gonna be detained…sorry dood/doodette…the police may not have rights, but neither are they powerless, and at that point they’d have RAS to detain you, sorry about your bad luck…

Handcuffing everyone and sitting them on teh curb is excessive, but the idea is sound…
and for all you “Follow to a less congested area…” types:
1) This was a choke point, the bad guy couldn’t get away, your idea gives them the chance and
2) As someone said, what if they NEVER go to a less congested area…what if they drive to Cabrini Green, hundreds of apartments to chose from

JFKY on September 23, 2012 at 1:35 PM

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