“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.
You can stop someone with reasonable and articulable suspicion a crime has been committed. You can perform a cursory search of the individual and the immediate area for “officer safety.” (See Terry v. Ohio) But if this amounted to RAS I’ll eat my hat.
“Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,” Fania said. “They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.”
So you cuff them first, then ask for permission? I would have told them to f**k off and let me go or get a warrant, but I think most people, in that situation, would just want to get it over with.
The really sad part is, from some brief research, whether handcuffing incident to a stop turns an encounter from a stop to an arrest is of mixed precedent. That means qualified immunity should hold. But that assumes they had RAS to stop at all, and here I think it can be argued that RAS does not exist. Thus, every once of these folks had their Forth and Fourteenth Amendments rights violated, and someone should be held to account for it.