One police department’s new approach to crime prevention is drawing some comparisons to racial profiling. Specifically, the police are utilizing a software program to analyze past crime data and predict neighborhoods most at risk of future criminal activity. However, this begs the question of whether the past data reflects proper or improper arrests and police activity.
How important is it for police to follow proper procedures during an arrest? Our Indianapolis criminal defense law firm has observed firsthand how important key evidence can be to a prosecutor’s case. If the court throws out crucial evidence because the police obtained it by unlawful procedures, the prosecution may be unable to meet its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Specifically, state law outlines the “stop-and-frisk” procedures that officers must follow when stopping an individual. In general, an officer may stop someone if he or she has a reasonable suspicion that a crime is in progress. Indiana also has a state law against racial profiling.
If stopped by the police, an individual is expected to provide his or her name and address, if requested. Beyond that information, however, an individual is not legally obligated to disclose more. An individual also has a right to ask if he or she is under arrest. Without probable cause or a warrant, a stop generally should not escalate into an arrest.
Keep in mind, however, that cooperation with the police is generally a good idea. If the procedures of a stop or an arrest were unlawful, the proper forum for making that determination is a court of law. If an individual is arrested, our law firm strongly recommends utilizing the right to request an attorney as soon as possible.
Source: The Washington Post, “Police are using software to predict crime. Is it a ‘holy grail’ or biased against minorities?” Justin Jouvenal, Nov. 17, 2016