Parker v. Commonwealth

In Parker v. Commonwealth, 255 Va. 96, 496 S.E.2d 47 (1998), a police cruiser followed Parker as he attempted to walk away from a suspicious activity. The cruiser followed him into a housing project, where an officer, in uniform and with weapons clearly visible, detained him. The Virginia Supreme Court held that such a display of authority clearly constituted a restraint of liberty. See id. at 103, 496 S.E.2d at 51. The investigating officer asked a suspect if he could "pat him down" and the suspect responded by putting his arms up in the air. Id. at 100, 496 S.E.2d at 49. After the first officer conducted this search, a second officer approached the suspect and asked if he "had anything in his crotch." Id. The suspect responded by moving his clothing around. Id. During this process, the first officer saw an object through the suspect's underwear. Id. The first officer placed his hand on the object, realized it was crack cocaine, and removed the item. Id. The Virginia Supreme Court concluded that it could not be inferred that the defendant had consented to the second search, id. at 105, 496 S.E.2d at 52, noting that the first officer never asked the suspect for permission to conduct the second search. Id. at 100, 496 S.E.2d at 49.