Bulge in Defendant's Pocket Was a Credible Reason for a New York Police Officer to Question Him
In People v. Crawford, 89 AD3d 422, 931 NYS2d 313 (1st Dept, 2011), the defendant was observed "walking on the street, adjusting something in his right pants pocket by cupping his hand over the outside of the pocket and pulling upward...the object in defendant's pocket created a bulge and looked heavy."
The officer asked defendant to approach, and when he did, the officer could see that the bulge in the defendant's pocket "appeared to be made by a hard, five-or six-inch-long, oblong-shaped object, which the officer could not identify." 89 AD3d at 423.
The First Department ruled that "based on the object in defendant's pocket, the officers may have had an objective credible reason to request information from defendant...but the officers were not justified in forcibly seizing defendant by chasing after and apprehending him. Defendant's flight, when accompanied by nothing more than the presence of an object in his pocket that was unidentifiable even at close range, did not raise a reasonable suspicion that he had a gun or otherwise was involved in a crime." 89 AD3d at 423 .
Thus, in Crawford, the Appellate Division ruled that the observation of a "hard, five-or six-inch-long, oblong-shaped object" that "created a bulge and looked heavy," even after a defendant was observed "adjusting something in his right pants pocket by cupping his hand over the outside of the pocket and pulling upward" only gave the officers an objective credible reason to question that defendant.