Pat-down frisks must be supported by objectively reasonable facts that suspect is armed and presently dangerous

State v. Bee Xiong, Washington Supreme Court, filed September 11, 2008.

Police went to Kheng Xiong’s residence with a warrant for his arrest and a black & white picture of Kheng Xiong to assist in identifying him. Officers observed a minivan pull up to the residence and believed the passenger was Kheng Xiong, although he was actually Bee Xiong, Kheng’s brother.

Police immediately handcuffed Bee and performed a pat-down frisk. Bee told officers his name was Bee Xiong and that he was Kheng’s brother. He did not have identification, but he showed officers a tattoo on his arm of the letter “B”. The officers were unable to determine from the photograph if the man was Kheng Xiong.

One of the officers had previously noticed a bulge in Bee’s front pocket. He asked if there was something in his pocket that could hurt the officers and Bee responded, “No.” Bee told the officers that he did not want to be searched. The officer squeezed the bulge in Bee’s pocket and conferred with the officers, telling them he thought there was a “potential weapon” in Bee’s pocket. An officer reached into Bee’s pocket and pulled out a glass pipe that appeared to contain residue that the officers believed was a controlled substance.

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Exiting and locking your car doesn’t automatically prevent search incident to arrest

State v. Adams, Court of Appeals Division I, filed September 2, 2008.

Police observed a man sitting in his parked car outside a casino. The registered owner of the vehicle had an outstanding arrest warrant for a revoked driver’s license. The driver matched the registered owner’s description, so the police officer turned around to contact the driver. The driver drove away and the police officer followed. The driver turned into a Taco Bell driveway and parked. The police officer turned on its emergency lights and pulled in behind the car.

The driver, Mr. Adams, stepped out of his vehicle, stood in the open car door, and yelled at the officer that the stop was racial profiling. The police officer instructed Mr. Adams to get back in his car, but Mr. Adams kept yelling. The officer called for back-up. Mr. Adams slammed the car door, locked it, and stepped four to five feet away into the adjacent parking lot, where he continued to yell at the police officer and raise his arms in an agitated manner.

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