Police Harassment in Gastonia
Posted in the Gastonia Forum
#1 Mar 13, 2012
My friend was stopped by five police cars yesterday while walking home from work right around the time the PNC bank was robbed on South New Hope Road. The business where he works is near the bank. They surrounded him in a semi-circle with their cruisers, stopped traffic on both sides of the road, yelled at him to put his hands up, & then proceeded to frisk him and search his belongings before letting him go. He cooperated fully, although they did not ask permission to speak with him, nor did they ask permission to search his belongings. They told him that he fit the description of the robber, although he was wearing a black shirt at the time, whereas the robber had been reported to have been wearing a blue striped polo shirt & to be around 45 years of age. My friend is in his late 20's. After they let him go without so much explanation as "sorry" for accosting him, the police proceeded to go into the business where he works & question his co-workers about him & his whereabouts. Also, today, a few officer's were present in the store where he works & he claims they were staring him down.
I do not hate the police & I do believe that they serve a very important role in the community. But, this is not the first time that he or someone we know has been detained by the police in this town while simply walking down the street. At what point is it reasonable to feel profiled or harassed? Not to mention how incredibly embarrassing it is to be yelled at and detained in front of tons of drivers when you know you've done nothing wrong. Many people witness these misled investigations & it can be very damaging to an innocent person's reputation. Were the officers' actions in this situation right? Or should more cause be necessary for the police to detain someone on suspicion of a crime? It makes me uneasy to think that the police in this town might be more inclined to act on adrenaline when investigating a recent crime than to use reason.
We are looking into any recourse that we may have in this situation. My friend feels that he was unlawfully harassed, but doesn't know exactly how to proceed in reporting the incident. If you are knowledgeable about how the law pertains to issues like this, please comment. Thank you for any input.
#2 Mar 14, 2012
Listen - we live in a dangerous society... crime is increasing. The police have their hands full. Can everything be just like we want it? No. Not of they catch the bad guys and keep us reasonably safe. It's just the price we have to pay to keep society from completely exploding. Be thankful they were there and trying to find the bad guy. Stop the over sensitivity - no harm was done. Get over it.
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