An individual was driving when he was stopped by Subject Officer 1, Subject Officer 2, and Subject Officer 3. Subject Officer 1 approached the individual’s driver side door and requested his license and registration. The individual complied and Subject Officer 1 told him to get out of the vehicle. The individual asked why, and he was told again to exit the vehicle. The individual told him that it would take him longer than usual to exit the vehicle because his left arm and leg had mobility issues due to an old gunshot injury. As the individual took off his seat belt, Subject Officer 1, Subject Officer 2 and other officers opened his car door and pulled him out of the vehicle by grabbing onto his torso. Subject Officer 3 and Subject Officer 4 searched the individual’s vehicle.
NYPD Patrol Guide 221-01 states that force may be used when it is reasonable to ensure the safety of a member of service or a third person. In all circumstances, any application or use of force must be reasonable under the circumstances. In People v.Mundo, 99 N.Y.2d 55 the court held that absent probable cause, it is unlawful for a police officer to invade the interior of a stopped vehicle once the suspects have been removed and patted down without incident, as any immediate threat to the officers; safety has consequently been eliminated.
The investigation determined that it was undisputed that Subject Officer 1 did not give the individual sufficient time to exit the vehicle and the force used by Subject Officer 1 and Subject Officer 2 to remove the individual from the vehicle was not appropriate due to the fact that the individual was complying with their orders and was not resisting. The investigation also determined that based on the case law, Subject Officer 3 and Subject Officer 4 did not have a protective basis to search the entire vehicle since the threat to their safety was eliminated by the individual’s removal from the vehicle as well as the frisk for weapons that was performed on him outside the vehicle. The Board substantiated the Use of Force and Abuse of Authority allegations.