The Magic Words Are “Reasonable Suspicion”


PJ Tatler:

Legal Experts Weigh In On Whether Bloomberg’s Security Guard Really Had ‘Security Jurisdiction’

Earlier today, news broke that NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg refused to disarm his security detail in the interests of gun control. The answer came when journalist Jason Mattera confronted him and asked him to disarm, while the mayor was visiting Washington DC for the US Conference of Mayors on January 18.

Bloomberg answered, “Uh, we’ll get back with you on that.” Then later, after Mattera had left the area, an Officer Stockton followed him down the street.

Officer Stockton asked Mattera to present his drivers license. Mattera refused, and asked Stockton if he had jurisdiction to ask him any questions.

Stockton replied that he had “security jurisdiction.”

I asked PJ Media’s legal experts, Hans A. von Spakovsky, and Christian Adams, about this question of “security jurisdiction.” Both formerly worked as lawyers in the United States Department of Justice.

Spakovsky replied:

Police officers who are outside of their normal jurisdiction but who are acting as protection for a public figure like Bloomberg certainly have the ability to act to protect their principal from a threat of imminent harm. But no such officer has “security jurisdiction” that allows him to harass a member of the press or a member of the public who is not physically threatening his principal. There is no law justifying what the NYPD officer was doing.

Even a Washington, D.C. police officer assigned to help protect Bloomberg while he is in Washington would have no right to engage in such harassment. And it is clear from the video that Mattera wasn’t doing anything other than asking Bloomberg a legitimate question about a political issue that Bloomberg has taken up publicly in a very pronounced way. The NYPD officer was acting far beyond his authority.

And you can quote me on that.

Adams’ reply regarding “security jurisdiction” was a bit more succinct:

No such thing.


The magic words are “reasonable suspicion”. A cop can walk up to you in public and ask you questions any time he wants. But you don’t have to talk to him and you are free to walk away – unless he has reasonable suspicion to detain you.

Defined: “Reasonable suspicion” is information which is sufficient to cause a reasonable law enforcement officer, taking into account his or her training and experience, to reasonably believe that the person to be detained is, was, or is about to be, involved in criminal activity. The officer must be able to articulate more than an “inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch of criminal activity.” (Terry v. Ohio (1968) 392 U.S. 1, 27 [20 L.Ed.2nd 889, 909].)


The purpose of the detention is to investigate. If the investigation reveals probable cause then the detention becomes an arrest. Of course you never have to talk to cops, so even if they have reasonable suspicion to detain you they can’t force you to answer questions. If after a reasonable time they cannot develop probable cause to arrest, they must release you.


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About The Klown

I support same-sex marriage and voted against Proposition 8 but I will no longer use Firefox nor any other Mozilla products. Tolerance is a two-way street.
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53 Responses to The Magic Words Are “Reasonable Suspicion”

  1. DandyTiger says:

    I’m shocked that Bloomberg and others wanting gun control would be crazy, authoritarian bullies looking to eliminate everyone else’s rights. Shocked, I tell you.

    Gun control is about control, not the gun.

  2. DandyTiger says:

    I have Obot friends that are still defending the arrest of the guy who made that anti-islam video. And they say the same crap about people with guns. They want us to all be subjects of the king. They desperately want it. Is this some sort of S&M thing going on? Do they want spanked too?

  3. driguana says:

    Who’s gonna bodyguard against the bodyguards???

  4. HELENK says:

    brought from downstairs

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/s-inine-bloomberg-a-article-1.1249432

    he needs the bodyguard to keep away the women who want to slap him silly for his insults

  5. myiq2xu says:
  6. myiq2xu says:
  7. Constance says:

    So looks like “60 mins” got 11.5 million viewers last night. I think there is something like 320 million people in the USA.
    http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2013/01/tv-ratings-pro-bowl-gives-nbc-a-sunday-ratings-win-while-the-good-wife-falls.html

  8. myiq2xu says:
  9. myiq2xu says:
  10. HELENK says:

    heard some academic idiot spouting off about why we no longer need the Constitution on tv tonight.

    question
    do the obots want us to reinstate slavery
    not let blacks and women vote?

  11. driguana says:

    howlin’ at the wolf moon…the first full moon of the new year….

  12. myiq2xu says:

    Watching The Following.

    Now I see why they wrote Winona out of Justified.

    • HELENK says:

      winona did nothing but whine in justified. she got on my nerves

      I am watching Dallas. I really did not get much chance to watch when it was on before because I was usually working when it was on.
      It is fun. talk about a screwed up family

  13. HELENK says:

    http://weaselzippers.us/2013/01/28/report-obama-to-announce-his-own-immigration-reformamnesty-plan-will-be-more-liberal-than-senate-agreement/#disqus_thread

    ever get the feeling that backtrack goes out of his way to screw things up? Cause as much anger as he can. he is like the instigator we all know who starts trouble and then says ” who me?”

  14. 49erDweet (D) says:

    OT sort of. After three episodes of the third year of Downton Abbey it suddenly dawns on me this is the first show in decades that simply tells a story of how things really were in those times. No preaching, no altering history to reflect today’s political correctness, no excuses for stupidity or mistaken public attitudes, just an honest presentation of how things were. And thankfully it doesn’t come from the BBC. I don’t understand it. Have the Brits gone totally mad? Or did they somehow secretly switch film industry principals with us a couple of decades ago? I can’t recall the release of one major Hollywood film since Bullit that wasn’t a propaganda flick for one stupid cause or another. /rant/

  15. myiq2xu says:
  16. myiq2xu says:

    The internet is like a ghost town at night.

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