Buck v. Commonwealth

In Buck v. Commonwealth, 20 Va. App. 298, 304, 456 S.E.2d 534, 536-37 (1995), the officers were in plain clothes and were patrolling a high crime area in an unmarked car. The officers observed the defendant, whom the police did not know, standing on a street corner talking to a group of men. When the police car passed, the group dispersed. The officers circled the block and upon returning, saw the defendant talking to a second group of men. This group also dispersed as the officers drove by. When the officers drove around the block a third time, they observed the defendant in the back seat of a car. The car drove around the block and returned a few minutes later. After the defendant exited the vehicle, one of the officers approached the defendant and announced he was a police officer. At that moment, the defendant quickly placed his closed fist to his mouth and began to run. The officers did not see anything in the defendant's hands or see him place anything in his mouth at the time, although it appeared from his motion that he was placing something in his mouth. Officer Baine pursued the defendant and tackled him within ten yards of the initial encounter. A scuffle ensued between the two of them. During the scuffle, the defendant was making a chewing motion. Id. at 301, 456 S.E.2d at 535. Based on these facts, the Court concluded: The facts support the finding that the police officers, having observed the defendant's activity, reasonably believed that the defendant was trying to eat and destroy drugs in his mouth. Therefore, they had probable cause to arrest the defendant based on the objective, reasonable belief that he had been or was committing a crime. Id. at 304, 456 S.E.2d at 537.