A couple was sitting inside their car in a legal parking space when two cops drove towards them. The officers claimed that they saw the couple moving things around inside the parked car. The cops started questioning the couple and looked through the windows but did not see anything illegal. They then asked the couple to step outside of the car and were further questioning them. The cops then claim they saw the handle of a gun inside the female passenger’s purse and arrested them.
Police Officers are allowed to escalate their encounters with the public only after they pass a certain threshold of knowledge or suspicion of criminal activity. In order for an officer to forcibly stop or detain someone they need “reasonable suspicion” that person is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime.
The court rightfully found that there was no credible reason for the police approaching the couple’s vehicle, as they were not breaking any laws and were in a lawful parking space. The officers did not gain any further knowledge or have reasonable suspicion that the couple was committing, has committed, or was about to commit a crime when they ordered them out of the vehicle. The Court rightfully suppressed the gun and dismissed the charges against the Defendant.