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  1. #1
    Ripbrood is offline Junior Member Ripbrood is on a distinguished road
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    Can an officer detain you for no reason?

    From what I know I understand that there are cases where an officer could possibly unlawfully arrest someone, and that charges can be filed if this happens. However, is there a such thing as an "unlawful detainment"? Does a suspect have to actually violate some law to be detained? Or can an officer detain a person whenever he wants to?

    P.S. I'm a bit shaky on what being detained actually is. Do you actually have to be put in handcuffs to be considered detained, or are there other ways of detaining someone?

  2. #2
    retdetsgt's Avatar
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    I can't imagine ever stopping an detaining someone just for the hell of it.

    If I have reasonable suspicion that you might have been involved in something illegal, I can detain you for a reasonable amount of time. You may or may not know what my reason is right away, but that doesn't mean I don't have one.
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    You just gotta realize he is hard of hearing and cranky, and try to speak up more clearly next time and make it perfectly clear what you were saying so there is no misinterpretation. You gotta try not to get mad at the old guy, recognizing the issue at hand.

  3. #3
    Ripbrood is offline Junior Member Ripbrood is on a distinguished road
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    Haha you're right, I should have worded it better. Let me use an example. I live in Louisiana where open carry is legal. Can an officer detain someone who is open carrying for open carrying, even though open carry is legal?

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    G35 Mass is offline Veteran Member G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute G35 Mass has a reputation beyond repute
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    Does a suspect ACTUALLY have to have committed a crime to be detained? No.
    First, the "Actually Committed" standard of proof is absolute, and is higher and harder to prove the Proof beyond a Reasonable Doubt. It is the ultimate level of proof, and is just not a level we deal with - EVER.

    Does a police officer have to reasonably suspect a person has committed an OFFENSE to detain them: Yes. We can't just hold people for NO reason at all.

    I stress "offense" because not all things are crimes. I stop and hold people for civil motor vehicle infractions which by definition are not crimes, but still have the authority to stop and hold them (while writing a ticket, or investigating the offense).

    Is "open carry legal", or is there a licensing requirement prior to being able to open carry? Here in Mass, we have the statutory right to stop and demand a firearm license from someone carrying a firearm. That is a provision of being licensed they must comply with or be arrested.

  5. #5
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    While there may be many reasons for a detention and circumstances (case law) may vary from state to state, the general rule of thumb has been that a police officer is permitted to detain an individual for investigative purposes if the officer believes, based on a reasonable and articulable suspicion, that the individual is engaged in criminal activity, even if there is no probable cause to make an arrest. The ability to detain an individual under these circumstances is typically referred to as investigative detention.

    The officer is not obligated to tell you, justify or debate with you at the scene, why he has stopped you, or the merits of his reasonable and articulable suspicion. These are matters that get debated in court and not in the field. While you may believe you have done nothing wrong, you may very well fit the description of an outstanding criminal suspect, someone may have reported (correctly or erroneously) that you just committed a crime, or there could be a number of other legitimate reasons for stopping you. Until the officer satisfies himself that everything is OK, you may not be free to go.

    With respect to open carry, I'm going to bet that no matter what you look like, you closely fit the description of an outstanding robbery suspect somewhere in your community who used a weapon just like yours. While you may think I am being facetious, there are enough unsolved robberies in my state that arrests of this nature have not been uncommon in the past.

  6. #6
    Samuel is offline is out Samuel has disabled reputation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ripbrood View Post
    Haha you're right, I should have worded it better. Let me use an example. I live in Louisiana where open carry is legal. Can an officer detain someone who is open carrying for open carrying, even though open carry is legal?
    What are your statutes/codes regarding open carry/carrying weapons?

  7. #7
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    I'm not even going to "debate" open carry laws. I have mixed feelings towards it. I for one would rather know a person is armed with a handgun even if I always "assume" such.

    As for safety. I personally carry concealed and would never open carry even with my badge out. I don't want EVERYONE knowing I am armed. If someone plans to commit a crime or do me harm, open carry would just give the person the "upper hand". If someone wanted to commit a violent act, who do you think he would target first? The guy wearing a pistol on his belt or a non threatening person?

    As for "detention issues". Officers do not approach random citizens and detain them. It just does not happen. If you are actually detained then I can assure you that you have most likely done something worn or match the description of someone who has.

    And no, you do not have to be "cuffed" to be detained. I always advise the person that they are being "detained", however its not mandatory and if your not free to go you will be told not to leave etc.
    "TO PROTECT THE SHEEP FROM THE WOLVES, YOU HAVE TO THINK AND ACT LIKE A WOLF"

  8. #8
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    To determine if you are being detained, you can simply ask, "Am I free to go?" If the answer is no, you are being detained.

    The officer does not have to explain in detail why you are being detained. He can simply say he is investigating something. Such an investigative detention should not be excessively long, though "excessive" will be defined by a court at a later time, not by your judgment at the moment.
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  9. #9
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    An officer walking up and talking to you is not "detaining" you. Your question is too vague. Every circumstance of a police encounter is very FACT SPECIFIC. Obviously a 2 second search on google indicates that open carry in LA is legal without a permit, but concealed carry requires a permit. Just because an officer makes contact and initiates a conversation with someone open carrying does not mean he's violating anything. The courts would always look at the totality of circumstances involving the interaction. The officer may have information the gun holder does not know anything about.

    There's always two sides to every story. One thing you will learn asking such a question is that we will not MMQB another officer's actions. If you feel you were "detained" unlawfully, feel free to file a complaint with the involved agency.

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