CA7: Plainclothes officers have to ID themselves when making a stop

“The jury instructions on Terry stops, however, were inadequate. Over Doornbos’s objection, the court instructed the jury only on investigatory stops but not frisks. Yet Officer Williamson’s own testimony indicates that he was starting a frisk when he first approached Doornbos. His own testimony also makes clear that he did not have reasonable suspicion that Doornbos was armed and dangerous. Doornbos was entitled to have the jury know that the attempted frisk, which even the defense says produced the use of force, was unjustified. The court erred further during deliberations. The jury asked the judge whether plainclothes officers are required to identify themselves when they conduct a stop. The judge said no. We conclude that the answer is yes. In all but the most unusual circumstances, where identification would itself make the situation more dangerous, plainclothes officers must identify themselves when they initiate a stop. Because these errors were not harmless, we vacate the judgment for defendants and remand for a new trial.” Doornbos v. City of Chicago, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15696 (7th Cir. Aug. 18, 2017).

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