Ohio: Police Cannot Stop a Motorist That Catches Their Attention

19 Sep

POLICE PROFILING PATCHES

A police officer may not stop and interrogate a driver merely because a vehicle’s out-of-state license plates “caught his attention,” the Ohio Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month. In a split 2-1 decision, the court held the March 19, 2011 traffic stop of Bret Browning was improper because Copley Township Police Officer Ryan Price had no reason to think a crime was about to be committed. At 12:30am that day, Price noticed Browning standing beside a car on a private drive, then drive off.

“I didn’t know if the person was taking a leak,” Officer Price testified. “If they were checking the mail. Getting the trash cans. Stopped because they were lost. Being it was an out-of-state plate, pulled in there to check direction or what, but when he got in the car and drove to the back — I know it’s a dead end, so I figured, well…

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