Person number one was walking out of the hotel with a suitcase in hand. Cops, seeing someone who was the same race as someone suspected in a shooting that happened in another city 15 hours earlier and 20 miles away, decides he will stop the person for questioning. During the stop, the drugs are found. Was this search/seizure justified?
Shortly thereafter, another black male, carrying a similar suitcase, was also seen coming out of the same hotel. Presumably, the drugs on the first man had already been found. Possibly, the police would have been justified in searching this man since they had already found the drugs on the first. However, since the search of the first man was probably unjustified, they would not under ordinary circumstances have had any reason to stop/search the second.
Cops are tasked with finding law breakers. To attain that goal they have to be allowed to look. Yes, there should be punishments when they go over the line of reasonable search but when they find something like what these guys found I offer to you that the evidence shows the search was warranted.
Even if it was not by some argument made that does not change the FACT that these fellas were indeed caught breaking the law. Now the argument is that the cops broke the law right? So they have to be punished right? Well, I agree they should be but I disagree with the idea that punishing the cops while allowing the criminals to go free is proper.
If the cops are to be punished for a criminal act then why not those clearly found with evidence proving their guilt as well?
Many times I am read as if I only seek to punish the criminal while giving the cops a complete and unquestionable right of way. That is not even close to the position I take. I am 100% for enforcment of the law towards all law breakers. Letting the guilty go free in this way while punishing those that are trying to root out criminals seems awfully backwards to me.
In a nutshell all law breakers should see punishment for theiur actions....equally. It is not justice when the guilty go free and the cops alone attain punishment for actions taken.
Hmmm... well, a 'stop' would give the police inherent privilege of a frisk for the sole intent of seeking weapons in order to protect themselves during the stop. Searching the suitcase would be pushing that privilege in my estimation. Unless, during the frisk - drugs were discovered on the perp... that would lead to probable cause to search his suitcase, but; since the perp was under the officer's control at that point there was no danger of evidence being destroyed and a warrant would have been a better approach.
Now, the perp with the guns... that's a whole new ball of wax. Assuming at least one of the weapons was on his person - that charge, at least, should have stuck.
This all boils down to fruit of the poison tree ... basically, everything that happens after a mistake that reasonably would not have happened without the mistake is not admissible. The officers apparently botched this one pretty good, unfortunately. Hopefully more information will come out that illuminates the initial probable cause so we can better understand why this happened...