Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and searches him without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

For their own protection, police may perform a quick surface search of the person’s outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on “specific and articulable facts” and not merely upon an officer’s hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a “stop and frisk,” or simply a “Terry stop”. The Terry standard was later extended to temporary detentions of persons in vehicles, known as traffic stops.

The rationale behind the Supreme Court decision revolves around the understanding that, as the opinion notes, “the exclusionary rule has its limitations.” The meaning of the rule is to protect persons from unreasonable searches and seizures aimed at gathering evidence, not searches and seizures for other purposes (like prevention of crime or personal protection of police officers).

The Scenario

A man (or woman), of any race, robs a bank (breaking the law). In the act of getting away the person runs through a red light while being observed by a police officer. The police officer, aware of the bank robbery and aware this might be the suspect gives chase and pulls the driver, now guilty of breaking a second law, over to the side of the curb.

After arresting the offender, the officer suspects the person might not be a legal citizen and asks for the appropriate papers to substantiate foreign citizenship which itself has been a law for over 70 years.

So the question is, how can the request for the citizenship documents (required by law to be on the person) be an act of racism?

Furthermore, if asking for citizenship papers is racism, is it not also racism to arrest the offender for robbing the bank?

I’ll advance this notion; those who advance the argument Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 is based on racism are themselves racists.

Under Federal law, federal law enforcement officials are not prevented from asking anyone for citizenship papers and may do it without an established reasonable doubt. In fact, federal law enforcement officials may pull over anyone for any reason and ask for name, date and place of birth. However, Arizona state law enforcement officials are prevented by law from asking the same questions. In the first place, they must have legal reason for pull anyone over before obtaining a legal footing to ask any questions at all.

One final thing; the United State Constitution obligates states to protect the borders from foreign invasion. That means every state carries that obligation. Even Arizona.

So to the critics of this bill….. STFU or get out of the United States.