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Case: Informant's Statement As Basis for Police Investigation (From Crime to Court: Police Officer's Handbook, P 1-4, 1989, Joseph C. Coleman)

NCJ Number
J C Coleman
Date Published
4 pages
The case of United States v. Thompson provides guidance on when police officers can legally justify an investigative stop of a criminal suspect based on the information supplied by a reliable informant in combination with factors that the police officer observes later.
The events in the case took place in the Kansas City International Airport in 1988. Three police officers went to the airport to investigate information that a confidential informant had provided concerning the transportation of cocaine. As a result of the informant's description, the three detectives approached a suspect, who gave verbal consent to a search of his bag. The search revealed only clothing. One detective then told the suspect that he wanted to search his person for cocaine and weapons. The suspect stated again that he would not sign the consent form but that he would allow the search. The police officer observed a bulge in the suspect's pocket and removed three clear bags containing hard white powder. The officers arrested the suspect, gave him Miranda warnings, and took him to police headquarters. For a related discussion of this case, see NCJ-121062.


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