(For Immediate Release)
Date: July 4, 2020
Traffic Stop Etiquette
On July 3, 2020 at approximately 2314 hours a traffic stop was initiated by our Group Violence Intervention Unit, mid-block of Verona Street for a minor traffic infraction.A cA traffic stop is the lawful detention of an individual in a vehicle temporarily for an investigative purpose. Also to dispel any confusion, law enforcement officers may detain the passengers of a vehicle for the reasonable duration of a traffic stop
The traffic stop began with emergency lights being activated, at which time the suspect vehicle pulled into a residential driveway located on Verona Street. To be clear during a traffic stop, by pulling into a residential address this does not void the lawful requirements to comply with the lawful stop.
Once stopped, one of the four occupants, a rear passenger, fled the scene on foot and was not located.
A second passenger then began walking away toward a residence. A clearly uniformed officer then gave loud clear verbal commands to stop with negative result. After numerous commands to comply the Officer followed the subject into the front door of the residence never losing sight and escorted the subject back out to the investigation. This falls under “fresh pursuit” It shall also include the pursuit of a person who has violated a county or municipal ordinance or chapter 316 or has committed a misdemeanor.
The subject who did not comply with lawful orders was issued an arrest and court date accordingly. A firearm was recovered in the vehicle and submitted into Fort Myers Police safe keeping until it is properly claimed by owning party.
Mr Carter who was non-compliant with orders to stay in the vehicle, which also can be a safety issue, was cited for not wearing a seat belt. Carter claims to be the owner of the firearm however this was not able to be confirmed and he can claim and resume possession on Monday during normal business hours as Georgia does not respond after hours.
What should have been a simple encounter with possibly just a verbal warning issued unfortunately was more due to non-compliance. Traffic stops are frequent however safety is the number one priority for all parties involved.
Ultimately the Officers of the Fort Myers Police Department are professional and courteous. This incident was not as described or depicted on social media.
Until a situation in under control and all parties in a high stress situation are complying and the situation deescalates, Officers have different tools they utilize for safety reasons. As you can see depicted in our body camera footage, this is exactly what happens once all parties are accounted for and comply.
During a routine traffic stop we encourage the public to:
-When you see the blue overhead lights and/or hear the siren, remain calm, slow down, and pull over in a safe location off the roadway.
-Do not exit your vehicle unless asked to do so. This is for safety reasons.
-Keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them.
-Inform the officer of any weapons in your vehicle and their location. Do not reach or point to the location.
-Avoid any sudden movements, especially toward the floorboard, rear seat, or passenger side of the vehicle.
-Comply with the officer’s request to see your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. Florida law requires you to carry these with you.
-If your documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.
-If there are passengers in your vehicle, encourage them to remain quiet and cooperate with instructions. You, as the operator, are solely responsible for your vehicle and its occupants.
-Avoid becoming argumentative. Arguing will not change the officer’s mind. If you contest the violation, you will have an opportunity to address the matter in court.
-Answer all questions truthfully.
-The officer may issue you a ticket. If you feel the reason is vague or unclear, politely ask the officer for details.
-If asked to sign a citation, do so. It is not an admission of guilt. Refusal could result in an arrest.
-You have the right to politely deny a request by a police officer to search your car; however, if probable cause is present, the officer has the right to search your vehicle without your consent.