Police Stop, Handcuff Every Adult at Intersection in Search for Bank Robber

Jun 4, 2012 8:20pm

Police in Aurora, Colo., searching for suspected bank robbers stopped every car at an intersection, handcuffed all the adults and searched the cars, one of which they believed was carrying the suspect.

Police said they had received what they called a “reliable” tip that the culprit in an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank committed earlier was stopped at the red light.

“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything, so a split-second decision was made to stop all the cars at that intersection, and search for the armed robber,” Aurora police Officer Frank Fania told ABC News.

Officers barricaded the area, halting 19 cars.

“Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car,” Sonya Romero, one of the drivers who was handcuffed, told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver.

From there, the police went from car to car, removing the passengers and handcuffing the adults.

“Most of the adults were handcuffed, then were told what was going on and were asked for permission to search the car,” Fania said. “They all granted permission, and once nothing was found in their cars, they were un-handcuffed.”

The search lasted between an hour and a half and two hours, and it wasn’t until the final car was searched that police apprehended the suspect.

“Once officers got to his car, they found evidence that he was who they were looking for,” Fania said. “When they searched the car, they found two loaded firearms.”

The actions of the police have been met with some criticism, but Fania said this was a unique situation that required an unusual response.

“It’s hard to say what normal is in a situation like this when you haven’t dealt with a situation like this,” Fania said. “The result of the whole ordeal is that it paid off. We have arrested and charged a suspect.”

The other people who had been held at the intersection were allowed to leave once the suspect was apprehended.


User Comments

Sounds like the police did their job–and did it exceptionally well!

Posted by: Roscoe Chait | June 4, 2012, 8:46 pm 8:46 pm

Why stop there? Why not arrest everyone in town when there’s a serious crime, and release them only when the criminal is found. Has anyone ever heard of the 4th amendment to the US Constitution?

Posted by: CMDR CODY | June 5, 2012, 1:45 am 1:45 am

The Constitution means nothing to these people. Only sheep would allow this. The DOJ should be investigated for not investigating this and prosecuting all those officers involved. And hopefully they will when the power shift takes place in January.

Posted by: Danola | June 5, 2012, 8:10 am 8:10 am

I, personally, would not submit to a search of my car without a warrant being obtained and when nothing was found I’d be suing the police department for the whole fallacy.

Posted by: Sick of BS | June 5, 2012, 8:19 am 8:19 am

So, the police just “un-arrested” the other 18 vehicles occupants when the bad guy was found. I am not a rober and they would have found a loaded weapon in my vehicle…under their justification I would have been guilty. This is not good policing…merely an egregious application of force. A classic example of “the ends justify the means” thinking. BTW, I am a retired officer with 34 years…this action would have gotten me sued and fired in my agency.

Posted by: JimB | June 5, 2012, 8:24 am 8:24 am

-Sick of BS — I’m right there with ya. I’d make them get a warrant.

Posted by: Brian | June 5, 2012, 8:24 am 8:24 am

The new America. Guilty until proven innocent.

Posted by: rek | June 5, 2012, 8:25 am 8:25 am

“Cops make split decision and throw constitution out window” should be the title of this story. I hope all involved get lawyered up and rape the department that purpotrated this heinous crime.

Posted by: John A. | June 5, 2012, 8:28 am 8:28 am

I would sue for false arrest. Consider seriously how the rights of innocent people were denied to protect the insured assets of a private enterprise, a bank.

Those who were stopped need to get a lawyer and sue under USC 42 Sec. 1983.

There is no excuse to treat innocent people like that.

Posted by: Tom | June 5, 2012, 8:32 am 8:32 am

I hope this resulted in some cops gettin’ thumped.

Posted by: cop shot | June 5, 2012, 8:38 am 8:38 am

Apparently, Colorado is unfamiliar with the Fourth Amendment.

Everyone who was stopped shiould sue.

Posted by: CK | June 5, 2012, 8:42 am 8:42 am

Goons with a badge who have lost touch with reality.

People of America: you are nothing but slaves to these goons and their paymasters.


It’s our country — and our government — time to act like it.

Posted by: Pilgrims Pride | June 5, 2012, 8:47 am 8:47 am

It’ll be strip searches soon enough — after all, you have nothing to hide…

Posted by: XonXoff | June 5, 2012, 8:48 am 8:48 am

Handcuffing a person is in effect an arrest and in this case it appears that one anonymous ‘tip’ is insufficient to be probable cause. Seems that numerous cases of false arrest will arise when the lawyers get involved. If Aurora doesn’t have a financial crises now, it soon will.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | June 5, 2012, 8:52 am 8:52 am

Every one of these cops who took part in this needs to be fired.

Posted by: Mark | June 5, 2012, 9:02 am 9:02 am

Police State
Would never let those goons search my car and if they brought me in, after it was over I would get a lawyer and never have to work again!!!!

Posted by: Michael | June 5, 2012, 9:12 am 9:12 am

Yeah, next time there’s an armed robery in D.C. lets hand cuff every adult in one of the projects and search the premises umtil an arrest is made. Yeah right. Even those in the projects understand the Fourth Amendment… to bad there are so many We the Sheeple.

Posted by: PilotDave | June 5, 2012, 9:14 am 9:14 am

This really is fascist.

Posted by: Howard | June 5, 2012, 9:19 am 9:19 am

The difference between this example and the Gestappo?
They didn’t shoot the suspect trying to escape.

Posted by: Steve | June 5, 2012, 9:19 am 9:19 am

But they were just detained persons of interest – not arrested suspects. If you use the right words you can DO anything. What is the lying avoidence word for shot dead?

Posted by: Baggie | June 5, 2012, 9:25 am 9:25 am

disgusting – roadblock is one thing handcuffs entirely another

Posted by: eric | June 5, 2012, 9:25 am 9:25 am

“The search lasted between an hour and a half and two hours, and it wasn’t until the final car was searched that police apprehended the suspect”
I certainly hope they would stop the search as soon as they found the suspect!
If this warrantless search (based only on a rumor) weren’t serious enough to result in a class-action Civil Rights case, continuing to search AFTER nabbing the suspect would certainly be cause for immediate insurrection – as led to the Boston Massacre.

Posted by: tadchem | June 5, 2012, 9:30 am 9:30 am

Unconstitutional – But in this day and age who cares about the Constitution? Apparently our elected officials and government employees don’t.

Posted by: Jay | June 5, 2012, 9:30 am 9:30 am

They stop law-abiding citizens for no reason at “checkpoints”, handcuff people without cause and chase petty theives through the streets at 100 miles an hour, endangering lives in the name of public safety. Everyone of them should be prosecuted or sued for violating constitutional rights in this case. Your being a citizen means nothing to these types.

Posted by: Mark | June 5, 2012, 9:30 am 9:30 am

People defending unlimited police powers seem to not know that cops can lie, and plant evidence. What makes anyone think they are more moral, honest, or careful, than the average citizen? They aren’t. Prosecutors often don’t give a damn about justice and suppress exculpatory evidence, as do judges, etc. Some in law enforcement also have a “hard on” to bash people down, picking out those who satisfy their own prejudices, and the decent honest cop — who are the majority in most towns — are still too shacked with the idea that you never say bad things about fellow officers. But the bad cops will lie about everything, and many can be “red hot” anger-filled people. Give them full freedom and you’ve got your police state. In the real world, Dirty Harry smashes up the innocent right along with the guilty.

Posted by: Black Eagle | June 5, 2012, 9:34 am 9:34 am

If they had a reliable tip they would have had a description of the car. Here, they found some weapons, but I doubt it was the bank robber. What a coincidence that they stopped searching after they found some firearms…. Rights? You don’t have no stinkin’ rights! just creeping, growing tyranny. Can you imagine this happening with your children in the car – you being hadcuffed, them screaming and crying in fear. This is sick!

Posted by: Mark | June 5, 2012, 9:38 am 9:38 am

If anything is just and right in this world anymore, every one of those people stopped and handcuffed are at their lawyer’s office now drawing up paperwork to sue the police department and the town. It is their constitutional duty to do so.

Posted by: Dave | June 5, 2012, 9:38 am 9:38 am

The article was good, the video news report was so slanted against the police and toward the lawyers, it was sickening. I think the police did a great job in an unusual circumstance and protected the people of the city from a dangerous criminal. Those people should praise the police, not sue them!

Posted by: Alemke | June 5, 2012, 9:50 am 9:50 am

OK, why don’t we just arrest everyone in the entire city, handcuff them, and go house to house searching for hours everytime there is a robbery or car theft. The policy here needs to be stated, we are talking about our Constitutional rights, and the violation thereof.

Posted by: Mark | June 5, 2012, 9:59 am 9:59 am

Calm down America. You are NOT being readied for a coming police state. Anyone who says you are is just a wild-eyed, crazy conspiracist — like that Alex Jones guy.


As bad as this sounds, the photos I saw of the jackbooted thugs armed with ARs and 12-gauge scatterguns executing the stop are truly chilling. Federal-State-Local government and their armed agents are OUT OF CONTROL.

Posted by: XonXoff | June 5, 2012, 10:01 am 10:01 am

Does the end sreally justify the means?

Posted by: Eric R. Ewell | June 5, 2012, 10:01 am 10:01 am

Apparently, the Aurora PD has never heard of the 4th amendment. What are we being conditioned for? When the day comes that they round us up and head us into camps, will we see this event as a warning sign? Time to sue the APD.

Posted by: Steve | June 5, 2012, 10:02 am 10:02 am

What a bunch of crybabies! If there were good evidence that one of two suspects had just committed an armed bank robbery and was still armed and dangerous, would it be OK to detain both and ask permission to search? How about three? Get a life!!

Posted by: Mike | June 5, 2012, 10:16 am 10:16 am

So, it’s okay to throw out the Constitution if the criminal gets caught as a result? When did Americans become sheep that would let themselves be led to slaughter?

The police in Aurora CO would have had a lawsuit on their hands if they had wrongfully imprisoned me. What next? Asking for “papers” at every checkpoint?

Posted by: KeltWolf | June 5, 2012, 10:16 am 10:16 am

These ends do not justify the means.

Posted by: KeltWolf | June 5, 2012, 10:18 am 10:18 am

The police can’t just do whatever they want just because they get the final outcome everyone wanted. You can’t allow this behavior because it is bad enough that the police have such high immunity that you can’t sue them for when their power grabs hurt the wrong people. If you just shrug this one off, then the next time they hurt an innocent.

Posted by: Emerald | June 5, 2012, 10:21 am 10:21 am

The sad thing is he’ll walk.

The cops should have stopped everybody and held them at the intersection (without pulling them out of their cars and handcuffing them) until they got a better description of what they were looking for.

Even if he’s guilty, it was an illegal search. The didn’t search him with probable cause, they searched everyone at a particular intersection, found someone in violation of a dubious law (what part of ‘shall not be infringed’ is so hard to understand) and charged him with the crime.

Any judge will toss the search, lose the evidence, DA drops the charges. Either that or it’s grounds for an appeal which the defendant is likely to win.

I’m not defending a bank robber, but finding firearms is not equivalent to finding a bank robber, and our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure just diminished a little bit more.

Posted by: Cooter | June 5, 2012, 10:22 am 10:22 am

The cops involved need to be sued under 42 USC Section 1983. This is clear violation of our 4th amendment rights.

Read Hibel v. Nevada, Florida v. J.L., Kolender v. Lawson, Terry v. Ohio, Michigan v. Chesternut, and many more.

Blatant police state tactics.


Posted by: Mark Mudgett | June 5, 2012, 10:23 am 10:23 am

Sue the crap out of them. I am a bit supporter of law enforcement but this is criminal misuse of police powers. Fire the cops, and come to some kind of apologic gesture to the FALSELY detained.

Posted by: Steve | June 5, 2012, 10:36 am 10:36 am

…a long train of abuses and usurpations…


Posted by: Henry | June 5, 2012, 10:40 am 10:40 am

This is what you get when you are willing to trade essential liberty for a little security.

Posted by: Scott | June 5, 2012, 10:41 am 10:41 am

assuming that the involved law officers acted civilly this old retired peace officer thinks that the
search and subsequent apprehension of the involved armed bank robber was legal and proper.
A better ending would have been if the robber had of been found in the first car detained instead
of the last car detained…..but.

Posted by: Alvin B. Hickox | June 5, 2012, 10:44 am 10:44 am


“…pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…”

Posted by: XonXoff | June 5, 2012, 10:50 am 10:50 am

Idiot reporter, Doesn’t he know that its ALWAYS the last place you look. Example for him, “your keys are always in the last place you look for them.”

Posted by: John | June 5, 2012, 10:52 am 10:52 am

First of all, it’s unconstitutional what the local police did. And secondly, isn’t bank robbery a federal crime? Why are local police getting involved in a federal case? Why, that would be like police getting involved in apprehending illegal aliens. What if they stopped every car at an intersection and started handcuffiing citizens and searching cars until they found some illegal aliens. Just sayin’ !

Posted by: John | June 5, 2012, 11:15 am 11:15 am

What about probable cause? Did these cops ever take “Constitution 101″?

We still do have Constitution the last time I looked!
…even though many government “authorities” ignore more and more as time passes!

Yes, catching criminals is very important! But upholding the Constitution is much more important!!!!

Posted by: Tom EE | June 5, 2012, 11:51 am 11:51 am

Me: Good morning, officer, how can I help you?
Officer: Please get out of the car so I can handcuff you.
Me: Am I under arrest?
Officer: No, sir. I need to handcuff you to protect myself while we get all of these other people out of their cars so we can search their cars.
Me: Do you have a warrant to search my car?
Officer: No, sir, I expect you to give me that permission without me taking a day to get a warrant.
Me: I am a citizen of the United States, a veteran, and have worked 16 years as a criminal and civil paralegal. In accordance with the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution which you took an oath to uphold, if I am not under arrest and you do not have a warrant to search my vehicle, please move back so I can be on my way to the VA Hospital to attend my doctor’s appointment which I had to wait three months to get. Thank you.

Similar situation to the above storyline, only they had the make, model and color of the vehicle they were looking for. I had the same make, different model and color. Another officer moved in front of my vehicle so I couldn’t leave and I was forced out of my car, handcuffed, and they searched my car without my permission. They took almost everything out of my vehicle looking for anything they could find. The only things they found was a survival knife (blade less than 3″) and a ceremonial sword. I spent over 3 hours sitting on the side of the road before being allowed to put my belongings back into my car (I am handicapped and was in extreme pain before I finished. They didn’t let me take my pain meds and wanted to keep them [hydrocodone]). It took two months to get my sword and knife back. I missed my doctor’s appointment and am still waiting for another appointment to have a skin cancer “burned off.” The city has denied my claim since I was not “out” any money. The two attorneys I have talked to want a couple thousand to file suit and as I am retired, that is almost two months of “benefits” that I have paid for since I was 15. Guess I will have to be my own attorney.

Posted by: JohnHW | June 5, 2012, 11:52 am 11:52 am

For those of you whining like little lassies because of the mean old cops who caught the armed bank robber think about this. Because of idiots like you cops in many places have finally given up and are starting to look the other way when things like this happen because of the armchair criticism they get from Mormons like you. If this society wants the bad guy to get away that’s perfectly fine because guess what? Cops get paid the same either way. The fact that they went out of their way risking their own lives to catch the very bad guy most of you idiots would have run screaming like little girls from is a testament to their valorous. So keep it up and go on crying about the mean old invasive cops until there are none left to protect your cowardly a$$es.

Posted by: D | June 5, 2012, 12:10 pm 12:10 pm

“Police said they had received what they called a “reliable” tip that the culprit in an armed robbery at a Wells Fargo bank committed earlier was stopped at the red light.

“We didn’t have a description, didn’t know race or gender or anything,”

I want to see the DA argue that this is “probable cause” to stop anyone. The judge should fall out of his seat laughing. The suspect they brought in will walk.

Posted by: Jay | June 5, 2012, 12:13 pm 12:13 pm

Had I beenin the first car searched, they’d have found not only my personal carry weapon, right where it belongs, but more arms besides, lawfully carried in my vehicle. I suppose they’d have arrested ME as the robber at that point. Or at lesat brought out the sWAT guys to take me prisoner, seize my arms and vehicle, etc. all with NO probable cause. It would have then fallen to ME, on MY resources, to try and regain my lost freedom and possessions, all unlawfully restrained.
Another thought: consider that they had nineteen cars captive, no suspect found yet, suspect reportedly amred. Suspect sees them closing in on him, knows HE is armed, hops out of car and starts shooting. Would this not be the close equivalent of poilce chasing a car at high speed through town, and serious problems happening in result of the pressure on the criminal? I’d think so. The stupid cops put EVERYONE THERE at high risk by doing this. Since when can they rightfully put the public at risk, particularly when unrightfully removing their rights as citizens? This is outrageous…. but it seems to be the “New Amerikan Reich”. What will it take for enough to rise up and throw off this yoke of oppression, this long train of abuses?

Posted by: tionico | June 5, 2012, 12:13 pm 12:13 pm

Especially notice the police found two pistols and what? One or two suspects. What they didn’t find on these suspects was any bank money! How do I know? They would have mentioned it!

Posted by: David | June 5, 2012, 12:20 pm 12:20 pm

Stunning! And not one peep from the Attorney General of the United States regarding this unmistakable and massive violation of the 4th Amendment. Hope this town has a LOT of money because it should and must be taken into court for massive Civil Rights violations. The police chief and officers in charge of this operation must be arrested, tried & convicted of civil rights violations and a variety of other charges including harrassment, false detention, felonious restraint, assault, and probably 2 or 3 other charges.

This story if almost unbelievable, but this is the age of Obama and Eric Holder, so the Constitution is only a memory for them–well, not even that; not for them. And the American people are just cattle & lemmings. This is NOT America.

Posted by: tramky | June 5, 2012, 12:22 pm 12:22 pm

Y’all might want to look at case law before screaming “police state”. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) ruled it’s constitutional for a person being detained (not arrested) be handcuffed for officer’s safety. And Illinois v. Lidster, 540 U.S. 419 (2004) ruled it’s constitutional for a blanket roadblock be thrown up for “brief, information-seeking highway stops” and such checkpoints could serve an important public interest in solving serious crimes and were only minimally intrusive to motorists’ rights.

That doesn’t mean one automaticlly consent to a search, you can still refuse consent when asked.

Posted by: Duawue | June 5, 2012, 12:32 pm 12:32 pm

Case Law is destroying this country. Back to Constitutional Law the way it was meant to be.

Posted by: Steve | June 5, 2012, 12:51 pm 12:51 pm

Absolutely unacceptable behavior by the police in this situation.

Posted by: Bill | June 5, 2012, 12:59 pm 12:59 pm

Aurora citizens stopped must have felt like they woke up that morning in Nazi Germany. This episode emphasizes the dire need to retrain the entire Aurora Police Department in Constitutional basics. This scene could have gone very badly if they had caused a shootout with dozens of hundcuffed adults in the crossfire! Great hostage taking situation as well for a determined bank robber.

TSA is doing enough to train Americans to accept dictatorship. Now we have help from Aurora police. I would love to be the lawyer working a class action case on this fiasco.

Posted by: Aircaptain | June 5, 2012, 1:09 pm 1:09 pm

“Are my papers in order?”

Cops are generally two types, those who were bullys in school and those who were bulled. The bullys want to ikeep at it and the bullied want to get even. All cops are liars and most will plant evidence if given a chance, after all, anyone stopped couldn’t possibly be not guilty.

Posted by: Rick O'Shea | June 5, 2012, 1:10 pm 1:10 pm

Wow….so much for the 4th Amendment.

Then again, welcome to the new police-state America, post 9/11.

Posted by: Ralph | June 5, 2012, 1:23 pm 1:23 pm

The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures

What part of unreasonable searches do you not understand. Only one person was arrested. The others were detained. This would fall under a hot persuit.

Hot persuit allows police to enter your backyard without permission.

Posted by: GS | June 5, 2012, 1:35 pm 1:35 pm

That this is apparently being tolerated by these “citizens” should in and of itself be considered a criminal act; TREASON. Have you people lost your flippin minds ?!? Have NONE OF YOU ever read the United States Constitution or Bill or Rights? This is just . . . pathetic. No other word for it.

Posted by: Mike | June 5, 2012, 1:51 pm 1:51 pm

To enter you back yard without permission police must be in pursuit of a known felon. They did not know the person in this case and they detained people. Nope, not allowed.


Posted by: HLB | June 5, 2012, 1:52 pm 1:52 pm

“High power handguns,” chacterization newsperson states. Surprised, he didn’t say “assault handguns’ or “cartel – like” handguns. Gee, at least say automatic guns, even though “semi-automatic.”

This police chief may next hold citizens hostage because someone passed wind. Well at least police didn’t “profile” a minority person that would have resulted in a settlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just profile all law abiding citizens – I think it was the FBI special agents on scene looking for citizen’s assets to confiscate. Coming soon, handcuff a whole neighborhood. Crash through a door for late payments on student loan. Oh, yea, that has already been done.

Posted by: James Ross | June 5, 2012, 2:16 pm 2:16 pm

What a farce. Incompetent LEO cuff every driver? I cannot believe that the drivers gave search permission so willingly. I would have declined. Power abuse knows no limits. The Keystone Kops aren’t so far from Keystone CO… Aurora is just down the way… #FAIL

Posted by: Concerned Mom of 5 | June 5, 2012, 2:27 pm 2:27 pm

Thank the Gods of Government that the Police now have the right to arrest anyone for a crime that was committed within thier district. Nothing to do now but burn that paper that gives the citizens thier rights. I heard a child stole a candy bar a few blocks away……time to start cavity searching anyone within a 10 mile radius…….just to be safe.

All Hail New America!!!

Posted by: Kolgoroth | June 5, 2012, 2:32 pm 2:32 pm

As a former Deputy Sheriff, I have to raise the bullcrap flag on this one. Those that think it was OK for the Police to do this better think otherwise. Please read the Constitution because we are slowly losing our rights as Americans. No one, I mean no one should be stopped if the there is no description from dispatch (especially the race and clothing of the suspect). Yes, the Police caught the guy but you have a right to not be handcuffed for something you did not do; you have the right to walk away if you it is a consensual contact. There is a reason why banks are FDIC insured. Police will most likely catch the suspects another day. While it may not seem like a big deal, it is a big deal, because this crap will lead to other crap and before you know it it’s out of control like it is all ready.
We as American are not learning from our founding fathers when it comes to the Constitution.

Posted by: Mike | June 5, 2012, 2:48 pm 2:48 pm

Why do these little people complain when the Glorious Leader seems okay with this. Why would anyone be bothered by the police placing them in handcuffs, if they are innocent they have nothing to fear.

Everyone in the people republic of Colorado should be praising their Glorious Police Department.

Oh, wait – this is America – I thought this was Venezuela.

Posted by: El Jefe | June 5, 2012, 2:50 pm 2:50 pm

This is unconstitutional on so many levels I don’t know where to begin. This police department is rouge and completely out of control. It needs to be made an example of and shut down.

Posted by: YH | June 5, 2012, 2:58 pm 2:58 pm

Welcome to Soviet Amerika

Posted by: Ivan | June 5, 2012, 3:05 pm 3:05 pm

People have got to stand up to this or it WILL only get worse.
This is the type of stuff we would hear about occurring in the USSR during
the height of communism.
Eat your junk food, watch TV, do nothing…
Your future and the future of your children is in your hands and you will only
have yourselves to blame if you allow this insane government to continue
running you into the ground and taxing you to death while giving your money
away freely to anyone they choose.

Posted by: Osiris_RA | June 5, 2012, 3:44 pm 3:44 pm

Looks to me that we are losing our rights one by one. The protections of the Bill of Rights is being junked by the need for security. I would of told them, no. You do not have probable cause to search my vehicle. I spent a year in Iraq and take my oath of office seriously. So how do the police respond about throwing away probable cause? If they had cuffed me, there would be the devil to pay! Let me think, unlawful detainment without probable cause. A citizen and public officeholder doing her daily business. Only offense for being cuffed was for being at a specific place. I find this story disturbing on so many levels. Suppose the Nazis said the same thing in the 30′s. Better to violate the rights of many to get the criminal.

Posted by: Ranma Budlong | June 5, 2012, 4:05 pm 4:05 pm

I see nothing wrong with it. They caught the guy didn’t they? If I’d have been stopped and cuffed, as long as they didn’t beat the crap out of me, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. This is NOT a false arrest, it is merely a detention. These people were not transported to the station or jail and booked. This is the way of the world nowadays. We’d rather let an armed bank robber go free than to inconvenience people by detaning them for a relatively short time. The lawsuits will be a flying and I am disgusted by that.

Posted by: Fred Harris | June 5, 2012, 4:17 pm 4:17 pm

So-called “law enforcement” in the U.S. is, at best, useless and just gets worse from there. Imperial Storm Troopers would be a better description. Welcome to United Police States of Amerika.

Posted by: Wolf | June 5, 2012, 4:43 pm 4:43 pm

So Fred you think the police have the right to “detain” any person because they happen to be located near a suspected criminal. You do understand the 4th amendment? Did you know this practice was one of the reasons behind the revolution? They lost over 2 hours from their lives and had to put up with hardship. Anyhow what the police did violates civil rights from the getgo. So it is alright as long as the criminal was found?
You bet the lawsuits will come and it will be proper. How can these people ever feel safe when subject to arbitrarily arrest? How about arresting the entire town to find criminals on the loose? Again over 2 hours is not a short time. Me I would of said NO and second call federal protective services and then the FBI. Oh bub being put in handcuffs is being arrested, anytime a person is being held. This is how the police get around the Constitution. I swore an oath to protect it against all enemies foreign and domestic.
Lastly would you be so happy if this happened every day? The police had no due cause and my guess there was no source. Better to let a criminal go instead of arresting 40 people.

Posted by: Ranma Budlong | June 5, 2012, 4:57 pm 4:57 pm

So … I would never support the government stopping people for no reason. However, I think most of you are being completely unreasonable without knowing all the facts. My daughter works at the bank that was robbed and was held at gunpoint (and I have some other information that is not pointed out in this story). This was a dangerous person who they knew for a fact was at that intersection, just not which exact car he was in. The only choice was to do what they did or let a dangerous person go and possibly do it again. Next time he could have killed someone in the process. Anyhow, it wasn’t like there was no reason or it was just some guess or random stopping. Historically, there have been numerous instances of roadblocks, etc to search for dangerous criminals. It happens, and as long as there is a good reason for it, it is not an issue. I’ll be the first to cry out if the government begins stopping people for no reason. That, however, was not the case this time.

Posted by: Eric S | June 5, 2012, 5:05 pm 5:05 pm

Still can’t get over how people let some one with a badge and a gun rape their nation daily in the name of “law enforcement”. My constitution is far more precious than a pinch made by fascists with an American flag on their sleeve. We need to wake up to the fact that a police uniform is many times nothing more than a costume to serve deeper and more nefarious pursuits. Like destruction of a work that keeps us out of detention centers, work camps and ultimately concentration camps. That work of art is the Constitution of the United States. That is the document that keeps this act of “law enforcement” from going further. It is time to put the police and the government in their places. The government is not the higher power of this land, the Constitution is.

Posted by: Brad Blinstrub | June 5, 2012, 6:17 pm 6:17 pm

“Read Hibel v. Nevada, Florida v. J.L., Kolender v. Lawson, Terry v. Ohio, Michigan v. Chesternut, and many more.”

I love when people throw around a bunch of cases they’ve heard of without a clue as to what they’re actually about. Not a single one of the cases cited has anything to do with making this event unconstitutional.

In Hibel v. Nevada, the courts backed the police and held that merely being in the area where a crime was being investigated was reasonable suspicion enough for the police to not be in violation of the Fourth Amendment when it detained Hibel. It was also held, although not relevant in this case, that unless you have an “articulated real and appreciable fear” that giving your name will in itself incriminate you, the Fifth Amendment doesn’t keep you from having to identify yourself when asked by police.

In Florida v. J.L., the courts merely found that a tip not connected to a specific crime was not enough to justify a search. Since this situation involves the investigation of an armed robbery (a very specific crime), the case doesn’t apply here.

In Kolender v. Lawson, the entire case was decided by the SCOTUS based on the vagueness of a vagrancy law, and no precedent was set regarding the Fourth Amendment. It’s only bearing is on the constitutionality of vague laws, which I haven’t heard argued in this case.

Terry v. Ohio actually lowers the standard for police to stop and frisk from probable cause to mere reasonable suspicion. If anything, this case would seem to hurt rather than help those arguing against what the police did. The tip relating to a specific crime easily meets this lower standard.

Michigan v. Chesternut determined that following a suspect did not constitute being in custody. Not sure what that has to do with this case at all.

“. . .and many more.” I’m sure any court in the nation would accept that as proof that a petitioner is right.

Bottom line, not a thing cited has anything to do with this case.

Posted by: FlaEMT | June 5, 2012, 7:44 pm 7:44 pm

Oh, dear God. I can’t believe ANYONE approves of what was done here. I hope there’s a huge class-action lawsuit and every one of those cops loses their jobs. You just wait, it’ll come out that the guy they arrested isn’t even the robber.

And we have this from Pilgrim’s Pride: “ACT LIKE MEN. REASSERT YOUR OWNERSHIP INTEREST in that little thing WE INVENTED called the USA.”

Funny, I don’t recall you being present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And last I checked, WOMEN ARE UNITED STATES CITIZENS TOO. GROW UP AND JOIN THE 21ST CENTURY, THANK YOU.

And right-wingers wonder why so many of us can’t stand them.

Posted by: Dana | June 5, 2012, 7:59 pm 7:59 pm

Virtual certainty, zippity do daa. Probable cause required by 4th amendment. Being in area doesn’t qualify. Sit me on a jury where Police are being sued for this serious rights violation and I will be showing you a police department hemorrhaging money. The people handcuffed in violations of their rights, the parents and children detained all became sitting ducks for armed bank robbers this Police Chief said had enough certainty were in the area.

Posted by: Audubon Ron | June 5, 2012, 8:12 pm 8:12 pm

This is flat out wrong! It does not rise to the level of probable cause and will get the police into trouble.

The best way to thwart armed robberies in the future is to allow citizens who pass a proper background test to carry concealed weapons into banks. As has happened in every state where concealed carry has been allowed, violent crimes have plummeted.

Posted by: Larry Pierson | June 5, 2012, 8:24 pm 8:24 pm

“Probable cause required by 4th amendment.” Only to search the vehicles without permission. They were asking permission, and no one reported a search after denying permission. To merely stop them (and even frisk them, although I haven’t seen that being reported) they only needed reasonable suspicion.

“Being in area doesn’t qualify.” According to SCOTUS (Charged with interpreting the Constitution in the Constitution) in Hibel v. Nevada, it does.

“. . .the parents and children detained all became sitting ducks for armed bank robbers. . .” Good luck convincing anybody that a scene with enough cops to detain that many people would put anybody at risk of being attacked by the robbers.

Posted by: FlaEMT | June 5, 2012, 8:26 pm 8:26 pm

When you are prevented from continuing on your lawful way by a police officer, YOU ARE UNDER ARREST. You don’t have to be handcuffed, taken to the police station, or into their car. To be a lawful arrest, an officer must have reasonable suspicion that YOU have been involved in a felony (or be a witness). Being “in the area” without a reasonable suspicion that YOU were involved in a felony IS NOT grounds to be arrested nor otherwise detained.

In my comment above, I asked the officer to specify his suspicion and he could not. Since I had an doctor’s appointment to get to and didn’t have the time to wait more than a few minutes, I told him that I had such an appointment and was leaving. I was forced out of my car, handcuffed, and had my car basically torn apart because I would not waive my 4th Amendment rights.

Posted by: JohnHW | June 5, 2012, 10:00 pm 10:00 pm

I question the “reliable tip”, the PD may just be trying to cover their “shotgun” approach in stopping all vehicles leading away from the crime scene at a bottleneck stoplight.

To the person who quoted Terry vs. Ohio earlier today. This exceeds the guidelines for a Terry stop. When you have the occupants of 18 vehicles “detained” for officer safety in handcuffs you have exceeded your authority. An arrest is when you stop the forward motion of a person…when they are not free to continue their forward motion the officer has effected an arrest. If the Aurora PD had stopped one other vehicle in front of the getaway car then Terry would apply…but, 18 vehicles – no way. This was a knee-jerk reaction by the department.

Posted by: JimB | June 5, 2012, 10:09 pm 10:09 pm

The police are corrupt, by and large. I would cooperate out of fear of abuse, only. If you are ever a juror take the testimony of any police officer with a “grain of salt.”

Posted by: Sam | June 5, 2012, 11:09 pm 11:09 pm

So Eric that gives the police to hold a number of law abiding people at gun point? Gives them the right to hold people in handcuffs for over 2 hours and you think this is reasonable? Nazis did stuff like this and it is unamerican. The FBI needs to take control of the city for a bit, fire the entire police force and arrest them on suspicion of violating their 4th and 14th amendment rights. People have the right to feel safe when about their lawful routine.

Posted by: Ranma Budlong | June 6, 2012, 12:21 am 12:21 am

Guilty until proven innocent. I hope the people sue the town into oblivion.

Posted by: Snortwood | June 6, 2012, 12:32 am 12:32 am

@JimB: I’ve read Terry and there’s nothing there about a quota as to the number of people that can be detained at one time. During the Beltway Sniper scare that extended down to Ashland, VA, miles of I-95 were blocked and hundreds detained in an attempt to capture one man. And the cops went by even less intel than described here.

A traffic stop, from your example of “stop the forward motion of a person” is one example of an temporary detention, not an arrest. Detentions are shorter in duration and scope than arrest, and require a lower burden of proof. It only requires Reasonable Suspicion that a crime has or is about to occur, and the cops reasonably believe that a person may have information about this, The person can be detained for a short period of time to investigate the matter and can last no longer than what is necessary for the officer to either confirm or dispel that suspicion. The person cannot be transported away from the immediate vicinity of the detention location. Now, if you are handcuffed, transported to the police station, and then fingerprinted, and photographed, you have been arrested. If the above scenario, and then you were issued a summons instead of fingerprints/photos, then you were issued a summons in lieu of arrest. If you are released without either of those options, you were detained.

In many cases, of course, the line between a detention and de facto arrest will be difficult to detect. As the Seventh Circuit observed in U.S. v. Tilmon, “Subtle, and perhaps tenuous, distinctions exist between a Terry stop, a Terry stop rapidly evolving into an arrest, and a de facto arrest.” That is why it is important to ask “Am I being detained or am I free to go?” if told you’re being detained, the next thing to say is “I wish to remain silent and want to talk to a lawyer”, repeat as necessary and say nothing else.

I’m also not advocating that cops can set up any ‘ole checkpoint for the primary purpose of detecting evidence of ordinary criminal wrongdoing. Indianapolis v. Edmond, 351 U.S. 419 (2004) said that violates the 4th Amendment. The situation here is more specific than that.

Posted by: Duawue | June 6, 2012, 12:50 am 12:50 am

Welcome to the POLICE STATE !!!! AmeriKA !! These cops are NO better than the GESTAPO of Nazi Germany. More and more evey day, across our ONCE FREE nation, the police just IGNORE the Constitution. Kind of like Congress !!!! It’s a “slippery slope”. Anymore, cops are becoming just THUGS with badges !!!!

Posted by: Dave | June 6, 2012, 5:15 am 5:15 am

Great. There you are, minding your own business, and you get caught in this net with a licensed handgun tucked in your belt and another in the arm rest of the truck. So I guess that makes you the guy they are looking for because you have not one but TWO “High-Powered” handguns in your possession. Lucky that you are not shot to pieces when one officer yells “GUN!”

That’s it? No description, no cash, just two legally possessed hand guns as “evidence”. Now you are under arrest, truck impounded and towed, locked up in jail. Legally owned guns confiscated with no provision to get them back. So who gets robbed here? “We were just following orders”. Nice work guys.

Posted by: Mike | June 6, 2012, 7:52 am 7:52 am

Ya Ya, we were just following das leaders orders. If you can get away with the deed it must be correct.

Posted by: Ranma Budlong | June 6, 2012, 9:47 am 9:47 am

So, dozens of innocents were forced to be handcuffed defenselessly for 90 to 120 minutes while a known armed criminal watched them, knowing that he was going to be caught when the search party finally reached him — unless he did something desperate, like take a hostage.

Unbelievably stupid policemen.

Time to fire the decision makers. As usual, the media covers for them by burying their name.

Posted by: Tubby | June 6, 2012, 2:02 pm 2:02 pm


Before you know it Marshall law will declared due to a group of youth thugs flash mobbing a circle k.

Lawsuit? Violation of civil rights? Policing by the LAZIEST means possible?

Must have been in a rush top ruin other peoples days with tickets and get back to eating donuts.

Posted by: Jake_V | June 6, 2012, 2:27 pm 2:27 pm

“Baaaaaaa. Sure you can search my car while you handcuff me for no probable cause. Baaaaaaaa,” said the sheep in the 18 cars

Posted by: LowB44 | June 6, 2012, 6:34 pm 6:34 pm

Detaining the people at the intersection may have been acceptable but handcuffing them all was NOT! Nor was searching their cars without either consent or a warrant!

Posted by: S | June 7, 2012, 7:37 am 7:37 am

Hey Dana, this isn’t a right vs left thing it’s a right vs. wrong thing. I lean right and I have a huge problem with this. The left isn’t any better in this area … TSA has arguably gotten more abusive under Obama the supposed champion of civil liberties.

Before you go spouting off about how crazy evil the right is, check your own rhetoric and make sure not guilty of the same things you’re slamming others for.

Posted by: Kris | June 7, 2012, 9:44 am 9:44 am

Fantastic decision! In a situation like this the decision is good as long as it is successful; had it been unsuccessful, the person making the decision should have been arrested, fired, and charged with the appropriate crimes.

Posted by: BlackGumTree | June 7, 2012, 10:26 am 10:26 am

A warrant must be specific in the particulars of where, who and what is to be searched. “Everybody on the block” doesn’t meet the requirements for a valid warrant.

An invalid warrant is legally the same as no warrant at all. And with no warrant, if the bank robber was only discovered due to evidence found in his car, and he didn’t consent to the search, and there is no other evidence tying him to the robbery, then he is going to walk away, scot-free, because any evidence collected under those circumstances is inadmissible in court.

Posted by: Bergman | June 8, 2012, 7:52 am 7:52 am

Read some additional material from Aurora Sentinel website articles. To recap my previous posts and to add new info: First, they confirm a number commenters’ hypothesis elsewhere that a GPS tracker was involved. Second, the single bank robber wore a bee-keeper mask to disguise his facial features so no one could describe him. Third, the robber’s initial getaway was by bicycle to his car so no description of the car. I can only surmise the GPS tracker model is not military-precision so the police can only go by a zone that encompass a number or cars. When the police finally found the car within the zone with the GPS tracker, they also found the money, the bee-keeper mask, the guns and, of course, the robber.

As best as this here non-lawyer can tell, several case laws that can justify the action. Carroll v. United States, 267 U.S. 132 (1925) establishes a automobile exception for a warrantless search based on exigent circumstances – the bad guy was escaping with the money and a GPS tracker beeping “I’m around here somewhere”. Illinois v. Lidster, 540 U.S. 419 (2004) ruled it’s constitutional for a blanket roadblock be thrown up for “brief, information-seeking highway stops” and such checkpoints could serve an important public interest in solving serious crimes and were only minimally intrusive to motorists’ rights. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) ruled it’s constitutional for a person being detained (not arrested) be handcuffed for officer’s safety since a bank just got robbed and the suspect somewhere in that GPS tracker zone is still at large and quite dangerous – so everybody in that zone must undergo investigative detention until the police confirm or dispel their suspicions. And finally, since everybody (including the suspect) consented to have their vehicles searched, Florida v. Jimeno 499 U.S. 934 (1991) and Schneckloth v. Bustamonte 412 U.S. 218 (1973) applies.

Posted by: Duawue | June 9, 2012, 1:40 am 1:40 am

Officer Fania has no respect for the rule of law. I bet he’d cite three or four instances in which he believes it is okay to violate the Constitution.

Posted by: David | September 19, 2012, 11:46 am 11:46 am

Regardless of the justification that they needed to search for the guy inside a given radius, I’ve seen pictures of the police taking the UNARMED motorists from their cars, at gunpoint, with fingers on the trigger when the people had no weapons and their hands were in plain view.

That is called felony menacing, and in actuality those people can file charges against those officers for this conduct.

Police need to understand what “low ready” is when dealing with an unarmed, non-combative subject. There is no excuse to point a gun at someone directly when not firing or about to fire. Similarly, there is no excuse to have your finger on the trigger unless you are going to shoot. Both safety precautions provide adequate response time if the subject attempts to attack or produce a weapon.

Posted by: Jim | September 20, 2012, 12:30 am 12:30 am

This is one of the most outrageous stupid idiotic things I’ve seen. These police are full blown power hungry idiots. These adults and children were traumatized. Sue them!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No reason to handcuff and point firearms at moms and kids for crying out loud. SUE THE POLICE DEPARTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: nikki walters | September 21, 2012, 8:52 pm 8:52 pm

25,0000 and an on the loose bank robber is not worth the potential shoot out that could have happened if the robber decided to open fire. This is the craziest things I’ve ever heard. The police put these innocent people in harms way plus traumatized them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I’d be the first in line to sue if it were me. The police put these folks in terrible jeopardy removing them from their cars. I watched it one time and it’s common sense said this was soooo wrong. Go for it…sue the police department.

Posted by: nikki walters | September 21, 2012, 9:00 pm 9:00 pm

The problem here is that they put many innocent citizens in extreme danger just to get one perp. Anytime you aim weapons at people, including young children, there is always a chance they could accidentally discharge…or in the case of many recent police cases, be purposely discharged out of an over-reaction. You cannot aim all that deadly weaponry on innocent people, without an element of risk. You have to ask yourself if that risk was worth the outcome.

Posted by: Davidbiz | September 22, 2012, 1:51 am 1:51 am

All the officers should be fired on the spot!!!
abuse of power!!! what ever happen to the right to the pursuit of happiness???
Are we going to be fearful of police too?
putting so many innocent lives in jeapardy!!

Posted by: Enrons | September 22, 2012, 3:30 pm 3:30 pm

Unfortunately, in our ever-growing society of violence, liberal immorality and moral relativism such measures are increasingly necessary to maintain peace.

Posted by: Freedom_Pastor | September 23, 2012, 10:42 am 10:42 am

Hey “BlackGumTree”… fact is is wasnt successful. And the means do not justify the end. If I can end the hunger of my neighborhood by slaughtering you and your kids and grinding you up to feed people, is that justified? Afterall, they are 10 lives, you are but 1.

Fact is that because of their police state/fascist totalitarian methods, the criminal might go free (and he should, since he originally declined the search, which is his right) and then they turned around and forced him to comply under duress, which nullifies any evidence they found. Great job police right!? Fantastic! Criminal gets to go free, while the police got to pull their guns and harass and threaten 35 innocent civilians for 2 hours. You people are unbelievable.. go to Saudi Arabia if you want to live in a country like that. For Americans.. I hope they sue the living piss out of the city and police department.

Posted by: John | September 24, 2012, 12:07 pm 12:07 pm

For the Useful Idiots who think this was OK, try this; hold your wrists together behind your back and sit on a piece of concrete for two hours.

Posted by: BC | September 24, 2012, 12:24 pm 12:24 pm

false arrest, assault with a deadly weapon medical compensation for PTSD. these people wiil own that town .If some arrogant judge sides with the pigs go after him/her too for denying those peoples civil rights.

Posted by: andy | September 24, 2012, 12:28 pm 12:28 pm

Um…if anything, they ENDANGERED lives by doing this! I think an armed criminal is much more likely to start shooting when put under pressure like this at a busy intersection. This was idiocy on the part of the PD. And they shouldn’t have had the right to do so.

Posted by: Daniel | September 29, 2012, 2:02 pm 2:02 pm

The “authorities” in this country invoke the Constitution when suits them, and ignore when it doesn’t. This bullcrap has to stop.

Posted by: Doug | September 30, 2012, 10:51 pm 10:51 pm

If you live in Colorado you will know that most of the cops (and citizens) are from the Peoples Republic of California. They brought their laws (and their cops) so Colorado can “be just like it was in California”, yet they complain about California incessantly. All the cops had to do was get everyone out of the cars and place their hands on the cars. Handcuffing is depriving one of their freedom. Stopping someone is a mere detention. We have the same mentality in Vermont but it is from people moving in from NY, NJ and Massachusetts

Posted by: Dan Randall | October 14, 2012, 1:08 am 1:08 am

Ill remember this when considering moving to Aurora, its okay they wont get my property, income or other taxes.

Posted by: Austin | October 15, 2012, 4:59 pm 4:59 pm

If they wouldnt of did this and media got wind the police knew suspect was stopped at light but did nothing and said robber got away drove three miles down the road jumped into a cafe shot 5 adults and two kids in a robbery then , the police would still be wrong,, you know what really is wrong with the world today is the hypocrsy of alot you adults.

Posted by: mike | January 11, 2013, 9:41 pm 9:41 pm

Those cops should be shot. The bank’s cash is not worth more than human rights.

Posted by: DeathLord.Rundas | January 12, 2013, 6:46 am 6:46 am

This is just sickening! These pigs are the beginning of what operation paperclip had in mind from the beginning! This is the re-animation of what Hitler was working toward. Policies and goals have been changed to accommodate the time line, including the dumbing down of historical education, and current news stories. ABC if you are not a part of the problem, you need to get this story out nationally. If Sandy Hook was televised for weeks, so should this.

Posted by: HateThe Pigs | January 30, 2013, 4:15 pm 4:15 pm

So if you post this to Facebook, corresponding photo is 3 cheerleaders….ABCFAIL!!!!!

Posted by: HateThe Pigs | January 30, 2013, 4:30 pm 4:30 pm

So sad and scary. This is not the America I was raised to believe in. I hope all of these people sue, and for their children too!! We must stand up for ourselves.

Posted by: MDL | January 30, 2013, 5:01 pm 5:01 pm

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