Did a Suspicious Movement In a Parked Car Create a Reasonable Belief That Criminal Activity Was Afoot ?

In People v. Mills, 115 Ill. App. 3d 809, 810-11, 450 N.E.2d 935, 71 Ill. Dec. 247 (1983), the arresting officer saw the defendant, who was parked in a municipal parking lot, quickly move towards the floorboard of his car. This court found this furtive movement insufficient to create a reasonable belief that criminal activity was afoot because such behavior could be nothing more than an innocent act. Mills, 115 Ill. App. 3d at 814-15. In People v. Gottenborg, 41 Ill. App. 3d 8, 10, 354 N.E.2d 30 (1976), the officer saw the defendant "slinking down" in the driver's seat of his car. The appellate court determined that the defendant's act did not give the officer a basis to search the defendant's vehicle following his arrest because such behavior "could just as easily be consistent with innocent actions, when the conduct of young men during a warm summer evening is considered." Gottenborg, 41 Ill. App. 3d at 10. Although, as the Court noted in Mills, probable cause to arrest is different from reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop, the "slinking down" still could have been an innocent act that did not justify a stop. Mills, 115 Ill. App. 3d at 815.