Can the Police Exercise Restraint Over An Individual for Reasonable Suspicion of His Involvement In Criminal Acts ?
In People v. Harrison (57 NY2d 470, 443 NE2d 447, 457 NYS2d 199 ), two police officers observed three men in a dirty rental car.
The officers followed the car and, after it stopped, parked behind it.
As they approached the car on foot, one of the passengers opened the door and tried to get out.
The officers told the passenger to get back in the car and directed another passenger to "sit up." (Id. at 473.)
After checking to see if the car had been reported stolen, an officer observed one of the passengers in a crouching position.
When he shined a flashlight into the car, he saw a gun.
An additional gun was recovered following a search (see People v. Harrison, 57 NY2d at 473-474).
The Court upheld the suppression of the guns.
The Court found that:
"If the police escalate the encounter as they did here by exercising restraint over the individual as opposed to his vehicle, even out of concern for their safety, a more substantial predicate is required. In other words, before the police can forcibly stop or constructively stop an individual as was done here by the order to remain in the car, there must be some articulable facts, which initially or during the course of the encounter, establish reasonable suspicion that the person is involved in criminal acts or poses some danger to the officers" (People v. Harrison, 57 NY2d at 476).