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September 21st, 2012
10:05 PM ET

Did police cross the line after robbery?

Police stop 19 cars and handcuff innocent citizens in an effort to find a bank robbery suspect. A judge may throw out the evidence due to the way the search was conducted. CNN's Ted Rowlands reports.

 

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Gary Wolf

    You are very misguided. The worst police work ever.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  2. Eric

    Big government and the replacement of rights for protection. The suspension of state and federal constitutional rights for the protection and well being of all. There is only one purpose for government and that is to protect our rights. Your apathy asked for it and now you have it. Police for profit entities that militarized while we slept and watched our favorite TV shows. It's only going to get worse and these stories are going to become numerous. The violations will become worse and the approach skillfully planned by legal authoritarians who declare it is for the best interest and safety of the public. Our rights slowly eroding away for our best interest right before our uncaring eyes. Well done America, you may go back to sleep now.

    September 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  3. John

    What happened to "do not point a gun at something you don't intend to destroy"? This isn't Hollywood; in the real world police have to know basic firearms safety.

    September 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  4. Ron

    Totally amazing!
    Cross the line huh.....I think they went right out of the ball park.
    Too many incompetent leaders and way too many followers willing to do the bidding.

    September 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  5. Prakash

    WOW, this type of thing is done by the Police in My Country. I Thought America Was Different.

    September 24, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  6. Diego

    Sure the police went too far. I suggest to all these people to sue the police, these people were violated and they appeared on TV like criminals.

    Please sue, that is the only way to correct stupid police behavior like this one.

    September 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  7. naline

    They crossed the line and that should be on the RIdiculist!

    September 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  8. louis Maldonado

    No one was hurt, the bank robber was caught. The police did a good job.

    September 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Mike

      I wonder what the police supporters would be saying had the robber tried to shoot his way out of this and killed some of the innocent people handcuffed on the side of the road? Is that what it would take for you to realize that this was over-stepping authority? The whatever it takes attitude has to go.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
      • Josh

        There was a GPS tracker putting an armed man that just robbed a bank at that intersection, definitely a whatever it takes moment. Im sure the Officers, having been one myself for the last 4 1/2 years, had the individuals that were removed in a safe location away from where gunfire could have happened. Even if the gunman tried to shoot his way out, Im sure they had both an inner and outer perimeter set up to prevent the incident from escalating out of hand.

        September 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  9. Mark

    So I guess we should just let the criminal get away and not inconvenience anyone? The police did what they needed to do to protect themselves and the people around them. Would you rather of had a shoot out or a high speed chase? As far as probable cause, they had plenty of it. The GPS indicated that the money was at that intersection, that should give them the right to search any car in that area, it is no different than DUI check points, only in this case there was an armed man who may be intent on shooting his way out of the situation. Im sorry, I'm all for people rights and I am against excessive police force, but I think these officers were doing what they needed to do to protect themselves and arrest a dangerous criminal. I'm sure no one would have mind if the police had checked every car pulling into see batman a few months ago after getting a tip that a man was going there with a gun.

    September 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Joseph

      It's just money. FDIC insured money. As mentioned in the article, they had a GPS on the money. This is over the line, and I am as right-wing, God fearing NRA card carrying as can get. They severely overreacted here.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Taggart

      You're correct in that this is little different than those intrusive DUI checkpoints which infringe on our Fourth Amendment rights and which our Founding Fathers would be appalled to learn are tolerated by American citizens and our courts. The cops had no right to detain anyone who wasn't a suspect in the robbery – just being on the same street as the robber doesn't make one a suspect.

      September 26, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  10. Newsme

    They went way over the line. Who ever was in charge of this charade, should be put behind a desk permanently, and given a course on the correct protocol. Obviously he doesn't even know the law, since he messed up the evidence to begin with.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Allah

      no they should go to prison

      September 24, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Al

      It's unfortunate that there were innocent people inconvenienced. People need to look beyond that and realize the Police were ensuring the administration of justice was taken place and a job needed to be done. Let's say you were a patron or employee within Wells Fargo having a firearm pointed at your face, not knowing whether or not you would leave alive. We need to look at that situation and expect the Police to do what they are paid to do. I do feel sorry for the people who were detained for some time. Job well done officers! Keep up the great work you do to protect and keep the people safe within your community.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Mark Hartman

    The Police had no probable cause to detain these people much less treat them as armed suspects. The information they did have along with the GPS signal would have allowed them to track the actual suspect and isolate or identify the vehicle originating the GPS and then they would have had probable cause to further investigate it's occupants. Each of these people had their constitutional rights violated. There may have been probable cause to investigate the actual robber and once the Police approached and found visible evidence further search was unrestricted. The Police are not protected by any Federal Law which allows illegal search and seizure. Non of these people matched the description nor were they doing anything which indicated any criminal actions. There was no cause to detain them. I have experienced this treatment first hand with my wife in Riverside, Ca. by Riverside Police. This has been happening for a long time. There is a misunderstanding of authority by authority figures in this country which must be addressed legally. The Police will lose in Federal court and these people will win based on grounds of Constitutional infringement. Just like police cannot search every house on a block for a fleeing felon just because he went that way. There must be probable cause to make entry. Here there was none.

    September 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Mark

      So you are an expert on GPS? Usually my GPS is only good for a general area and cannot pin point my exact location. if the transponder is 8 feet off then it would point to the car next to the suspect and he would have gotten away. As soon as you take away the police authority, you take away their ability to protect us. Yes they make mistakes, but I am sure you do to. The police don't care about you being inconvenienced, they care about making it home to their family and protecting their community. Sorry, but your feelings are not on their to do lists.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
      • Jay

        Mark,
        I think the point the other Mark was trying to make was that it seems likely that the police could have narrowed the list down to a single target vehicle by tracking the GPS beacon for 5-10 minutes, instead of converging on the intersection where they initially found it. There were 19 possible suspect cars at the first intersection, how many of those cars would still be in the vicinity of the GPS beacon when it was at the next intersection? The intersection after that? Statistically, I doubt that would have taken very long at all.

        Of course, it's easy to armchair quarterback when you're not in the midst of pursuing an armed suspect. I can very easily understand the impulse of whoever was making that call to just sweep in and secure the intersection. And once that call was made, the officers on the ground were absolutely in a very dangerous situation of not knowing which of the 19 cars they had contained the armed felon. The logistics of clearing each car must have been a nightmare. As it happened, this guy didn't decide to shoot it out or commit suicide by cop, but they absolutely had to be prepared for that to happen.

        That being said, while a citizen's feelings may not be on a police officer's to-do list, a citizen's constitutional rights most certainly are. And while I agree with you that we should never ask our police officers to put our convenience ahead of their safety, I disagree that its something they shouldn't care about at all – I suspect a lot of police officers would disagree with you as well.

        Regardless, based on a couple of minutes of edited video summarizing a two hour event, I don't think anyone can say for sure one way or another whether or not any lines were crossed here.

        September 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
        • Gary Wolf

          You are so wrong. Wait. Evidence will be suppressed. Cops will be sued. I have been a criminal lawyer for 32 years. This crazy and dangerous and unconstitutional. Wait and get out your checkbook.

          September 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
      • Taggart

        Your mistake is your incorrect assertion that the police "protect us." The police do not exist to protect anyone (courts have ruled as such), they exist to find and apprehend criminals... and they are required to do that without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.

        September 26, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  12. Scott

    Did the police cross the line, absolutely. Is this our corpocracy in action or just an unfortunate police decision?

    September 22, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  13. Bill Murray

    Well, "justice at last", here's one white guy who completely disagrees with you. I know African Americans suffer an inordinate amount of harassment at the hands of police officers, but that doesn't mean we all thinks it's justifiable. I have become increasingly disgusted with the growing trend of police forces grossly exceeding their mandate and authority. It is getting to the point where my trust in "all" police has been almost completely eroded. We need to get better trained officers back on the street to start setting a proper example so that "all" citizens can truly feel safe again. Only then will a healthy respect for law enforcement return to our nation.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm |