Can Police Stop Someone Based Solely on a Pedestrian Citizen's Tip ?
In Commonwealth v. Collazo, 692 A.2d 1116 (Pa.Super. 1997) a police officer was exiting the police station when he was approached by a man who told the Officer that there was a man selling drugs at a nearby intersection.
The man specifically described the individual as "wearing a black hat and blue shirt and riding a gold bicycle." Id. at 1117.
The officer immediately proceeded to the intersection and observed an individual, the defendant, who was wearing a black hat, a blue shirt, and straddling a gold bicycle.
The officer approached the defendant and engaged him in conversation.
The officer told the defendant that he had information that he was selling drugs.
The defendant denied the allegation.
The officer then asked the defendant if he could search him and his bicycle.
The officer explained to the defendant that he could stop the search at any time.
At that point, the defendant gave his consent for the search to proceed.
The search yielded a knife and some marijuana, and, as a result, the defendant was arrested. Id.
The defendant sought to have the evidence of the search suppressed; however, the trial court denied the suppression motion, and this denial was affirmed by our Court.
Our Court rejected the defendant's argument that the stop and questioning was not justified based solely on the pedestrian citizen's tip.
However, in arriving at this conclusion we expressly noted that the description of the person involved in criminal activity given by the citizen to the officer was very detailed and specific. Id. at 1118.