Charlotte Approves Warrantless Search Of Individuals At Protests And Speed Street

Posted by Christopher Shumate | Dec 17, 2012 | 0 Comments

As mentioned in previous blogs, Police have been taking greater liberties with their searches and seizures of the public. On April 30, 2012, the Charlotte City Council expressed their desire for local law enforcement to search people at what the city deems "extraordinary events." Though no actual definition was offered for what constitutes an "extraordinary event", the definition apparently extends to protests and other events which will likely draw large crowds of people such as the Speed Street festival in May and the 4th of July celebration in uptown. Two additional upcoming events that have been deemed as an "extraordinary event" are Duke Energy's shareholders meeting, and Bank of America's shareholders meeting. Whenever the city designates an event as an "extraordinary event," the public is subject to much more restrictions within the event's boundaries. A list of prohibited items can be found here.

In reviewing the list of prohibited items, restrictions placed on more commonplace items such as coolers and backpacks are clearly questionable. Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann argues that the prohibitions are not unduly restrictive. According to Mr. Hagemann, an officer would only be permitted to search someone if he believed they were carrying or concealing a weapon, thereby upholding the tenants of the 4th Amendment. In other words, as long as a citizen is abiding by the law, he will not be subject to a search of his possessions. Mr. Hagemann's statement certainly makes for a nice statement to the media. In my legal opinion, that is about where the truth of his statement ends. In reality, officers have great latitude in determining whether to search an individual. As a criminal defense attorney, I routinely examine Police interactions with the public, searches, seizures, etc. I believe this measure leaves entirely too much unfettered discretion for law enforcement.

About the Author

Christopher Shumate

Mr. Chris Shumate is a native of Gastonia, North Carolina, and worked various jobs while pursuing his undergraduate and Juris Doctor education, including several heavy manual labor and skilled trade positions. In his practice, Mr. Shumate often encounters circumstances where these prior experiences are helpful in representing you. Upon graduating law school from the University of South Carolina, Mr. Shumate joined one of the Carolinas' larger defense firms, where he represented a diverse set of employers and insurance companies in civil cases and workers' compensation claims across the Carolinas. Chris utilized this experience to obtain a working knowledge of the insurance industry, and build personal contacts used today in representing you. Mr. Shumate ultimately decided he wanted to focus his law practice on assisting those who have been injured, and doing so with the focus on a personal relationship that is uncommon in the bigger firms. Mr. Shumate's also has a passion for assisting those facing the challenges of the criminal legal system. By representing individuals in a variety of criminal and traffic matters, Mr. Shumate works to achieve the best possible result for each client regardless of the charges levied by the prosecution. Chris has tirelessly pursued his mission of helping people from all walks of life throughout the Carolinas with a variety of legal matters. If you are interested in learning more about Chris Shumate and The Shumate Law Offices, please contact us at 704.371.5059. We look forward to assisting you to achieve a positive result in your legal concern. Education J.D., University of South Carolina B.S., University of South Carolina Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice N.C. State BarS.C. State BarU.S. District Court Western District of North Carolina Professional & Bar Association Memberships N.C. Bar Association S.C. Bar Association Mecklenburg County Bar N.C. Academy Of Trial Lawyers American Association For Justice


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