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I have a question...

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Gunshine, Aug 31, 2011.


  1. Gunshine

    Gunshine
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    A question for my law enforcement friends. And a story to tell. Sorry if it's a little long.

    A near neighbor came over yesterday and told me he had a visit from the police. I wasn't home and missed the whole thing. He was at home alone when there was a very loud knock at his door. He was in his underwear so he looked out his window. Two city cops were in his front yard with their guns drawn. They did not identify themselves as police when they knocked. And they started yelling for him to come outside.

    He told them he wasn't wearing pants and he would be there in a minute. They demanded he come out right now. He said he went to the bedroom and put his pants on then went outside with his hands up.

    It turns out that they were attempting to serve a warrant for a class 3 felony on his adult (about 30 yrs old) son.

    He explained to the officers that it was his son and he hadn't lived with him for some time. At this point they asked him for ID. He refused saying he obviously wasn't who they were looking for and he had no idea where the young man lived.

    At this point the officer threatened to arrest him if he didn't show his ID. So the question is does the law require him to show ID. We talked about this at length. The house is in his name and as he says it's not his fault the information they have is old. Anyone could find out who he is. Home ownership is a matter of public record. The name on the warrant had no real connection to the suspect. Could he have been arrested?
     

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  2. Patchman

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    And what was your conclusion. And the reasoning?

    I'm Just curious. I take it from your post that your neighbor don't like cops much from the get go. And he has relationship problems with his own son also?
     

  3. Gunshine

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    I wasn't there. But from what I know I suspect he was less than cooperative. He also knows that i'm a staunch supporter of law enforcement. Which may be why he choose me to vent on. I was patient and polite. But while I explained I wasn't sure and would try to get the answer, I also said that it may be correctly considered obstruction. I hope some of our L.E. members with more knowledge of the law than I will be able to tell me for certain. This occurred in Florida if that helps.

    Another point that worries me is that he insists they did not identify themselves when they banged loudly (his description) on the door. Doesn't that seem worrisome. What if a law abiding but paranoid (like me) home owner thinks it'a a home invasion and goes for his gun? Don'r they have to identfy themselves?
     
  4. DaBigBR

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    No Infidels!

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    Remember, there's a long road between getting arrested and getting convicted. I'm sure that they could have articulated an arrest, don't know if there would have been enough for a jury to convict as details are (admittedly) scarce.
     
  5. op2k

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    A couple of things........I can't remember the last time I announced myself after knocking (probably never). This sounds like a couple of road patrol guys going by a house to pick up a guy with a warrant, not a full out SWAT raid where they do a Knock and Announce. 9 times out of 10, when I knock on the door it's the bad guys parents that answer the door and the dude is hiding in his room or sleeping. But in my case, we are in full police uniform not in cool tactical black gear with ninja masks (not sure how the LEO's in your friends encounter were dressed though).

    The second thing...based on what you wrote, I'd also gather that your neighbor doesn't fancy cops too much. If my targets not at home I generally ask for ID, cause I live in a +1 world. That is if one person in the house has a warrant, then it's likely that someone else in the home does as well.

    Also, technically he could have been charged for a piddly Resisting or Obstruction charge. They were there to perform a lawful duty and by refusing to ID himself he was hindering their investigation. You mention that he is easily identifiable as the homeowner, however not all agencies here in Florida give their road guys access to the DL photo site. For some guys, their only way to positively ID someone is via their ID.

    Others will shed some light and I hope I wasn't to one sided or biased with my answer.
     
  6. Patchman

    Patchman
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    Well, keep in mind that when someone knocks on the door and announces "POLICE," they may really not be the police.

    Or when someone says they don't know where their son lives, in fact they do know. Or at least has the means to contact him when needed.

    Property records may inaccurately reflect who's answering the door. House may be rented. Original purchaser (listed on deed) died and family hasn't changed title. Other family members may live there. It's just like a car. Just because a car is registered to 'John Smith' doesn't mean the driver behind the wheel is John Smith.
     
    #6 Patchman, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  7. Gunshine

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    Thank you for the responses thus far. I told him my opinion, and i was careful to say I wasn't sure, was failure to produce ID, providing incorrect ID, or intentionally withholding, or providing incorrect information could be considered obstruction. In the end he did provide ID. We just couldn't agree on the legality of the request. I suggested if it happens again that he not show his ID. Which would be one way to find out and earn him a free ride in a squad car.

    OP2k : That whole thing about banging loudly and not identifying yourself makes me nervous. As I said before, I worry that some paranoid old codger who is never more than arms length from a gun (ME) might think it's a home invasion and over react. I guess I thought identifying yourself as the police, except in the case of a no knock warrent, was required. Too much television maybe?
     
  8. merlynusn

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    If he matches the basic physical description of his son, then how do the officers know it isn't his son. I don't know what they actually look like. Certain things like drugs age a person prematurely and some people look younger than they are.

    How hard is it to get his ID, show he's not his son and then the cops leave?

    As to your question about if they are legitimate cops. It's very very easy. CALL 911 and ask them.

    ETA: Knock and announce is required if they are kicking in your door. Not if they are knocking on the door in an attempt to get someone to the door.

    Also, like I said above, if he matches and starts delaying, then yes, I could articulate a resist, delay, obstruct charge. Now if the guy you are talking to looks like he's 80 years old and the guy you are looking for is 30, then it is a different story.
     
    #8 merlynusn, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  9. Gunshine

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    The suspect is 30 the father is in his early sixties. And looks in his middle to late sixties. Completely grey and wheathered. His point was he had no information to give them. How much is he required to do.
     
  10. merlynusn

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    If he honestly doesn't have any information, then there is none to give. But based on his questions and attitude, most cops would believe he knows something he isn't telling us. So especially on a felony warrant, we'd push for more information.

    Not many parents have absolutely no idea how to get in contact with their child. They have a phone number, an address, a girlfriend/boyfriend's name and/or phone number, a job, something. Most of the time when people say they don't have any way to contact their child, they are lying and full of crap. So most cops will call them on it. Kinda like how many 18 year olds don't know their address because "I just moved 2 weeks ago and don't know it yet." I must have heard that saying a dozen times a week.
     
  11. wrenrj1

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    Were they wearing hats? That's a telltale sign...
     
  12. Hack

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    Show ID, and he can take his complaints to the precinct, or the judge, his lawyer.
     
  13. Agent6-3/8

    Agent6-3/8
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    While I can't just randonly stop someone on the street and demand ID, I can arrest someone refusing to present their ID when it hinders my investigation. (i.e. serving a warrant)

    That's WV law however, thing vary state to state.
     
  14. Sharky7

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    If the officers believed the old man could possible be the 30 year old son with the warrant, then yes he had to show ID.

    If the officers believed the old man was providing false information to hinder the arrest of his son on a valid warrant, then yes he must provide ID.

    If the officers were on scene and observed a violation of law or local ordinance; grass too high, stray dog, etc - then yes he must provide ID.

    There's a lot more....it's all situational and deals with the entire situation and totality of circumstances.
     
    #14 Sharky7, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  15. Sharky7

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    So why not show ID? He already identified himself as the father of the offender with the warrant.....police have computers that can retrieve that information fairly quickly.

    What was the warrant for? Did the apple fall far from the tree?
     
  16. collim1

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    Shower Time!

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    I dont always know the guy I am serving a warrant on. Prolly just trying to confirm that he was not who they were looking for.

    You really think they should take his word on it?

    Often times me and my partner are given a list of outstanding warrants on a slow weekend and told to try to serve a few.
     
    #16 collim1, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  17. Kadetklapp

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    IIRC, If I'm in a place I have a right to be (an address on an arrest warrant counts as such) and I'm trying to execute my lawful duties (that would be arresting the person on said warrant) and a person whom I do not know refuses to provide me with photo ID so that I may confirm this is not the person on the lawful warrant I have in my hand, then that person goes to jail until such time as his identity can be proven, and then he will be charged with obstructing.

    The argument can be made that the DOB on the warrant was obviously not the same as the older home owner. That I understand, but understand that's not always the case. Dopers look old.
     
  18. phuzz01

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    In my state, there is nothing illegal about the police asking for ID. However, unless the person is driving a motor vehicle, they are not required to provide it.
     
  19. Gunshine

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    I also recall a recent thread and linked video in which an officer was responding to a man with a gun call. The officer was great. Friendly, polite and professional but when he asked for ID the OC'er refused and would only give his first name. The officer said he had the right not to show ID.

    For me this just confuses the issue. A guy with a gun doesn't have to show ID but an old guy in his front yard does? I would have just shown my ID. And from what you guys are telling me I think I can tell my neighbor that he may well have been arrested had he not "gone all the way back in the house to get it." Thanks.
     
  20. wrenrj1

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    I had to show my ID today to buy alcohol, and I'm 48. It ruled me out of being a minor. I look at it the same way. If I need to show ID to rule me out when LE is looking for a specific person for the purpose of a warrant, I'll do so. Having LE come up to me and asking for my ID just for the heck of it is a different story.

    I'm not going to make their job more difficult if I know what they are looking for.
     
    #20 wrenrj1, Aug 31, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011