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Officer’s approaching person on street and engaging him in conversation wasn’t a seizure

State v. Keith R. Friederick, 2013AP1609, District 4, 2/27/14; court of appeals decision (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

Friederick was not seized by officer who approached him on the street and said sought to talk to him, applying United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980), along with State v. Griffith, 2000 WI 72, ¶53, 236 Wis. 2d 48, 613 N.W.2d 72, and State v. Williams, 2002 WI 94, ¶23, 255 Wis. 2d 1, 646 N.W.2d 834 (an officer’s posing of a question to person doesn’t constitute a seizure despite the fact that most people feel some pressure to respond to police).

¶15      When Small first engaged Friederick in conversation, none of the circumstances indicating a seizure were present.  Small approached Friederick without activating his squad car’s emergency lights or siren. Small exited his squad car and walked toward Friederick. Small stated, “Good evening, I’m Deputy Small, I’d like to speak to you.” Small’s tone of voice was authoritative, but not aggressive. Friederick, who was walking, stopped and responded to the questions that Small asked him. A second officer arrived. That officer did not activate his emergency lights or siren. Neither officer displayed a weapon, or physically contacted Friederick.

¶16      In sum, while Friederick stopped in response to Small’s statement to him, the facts do not show that Small restrained Friederick’s liberty “‘by means of physical force or show of authority’” such that the encounter was elevated to the level of a seizure. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. at 552 (quoted source omitted). ….

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