In case cops are decent human beings, and these answers are true and the nature of their stop just does not allow them to truthfully tell their victims the reason for the stop, why do they make up funny stories about it like:

In Texas: "What if you fall and die, we need to know who to send the body to"

In Oklahoma: bicycles need to have same speed as the cars

In Florida: "Someone called us saying that you may need help because you are riding your bike and it is so hot out here. (I am fine, can I leave?) No. Now that I made contact with you I have to ask for your ID. (Why?) Just to make sure you don't have an arrest warrant",

In Skokie IL: "You look suspicious for you are jogging without jogging pants" (I was wearing casual wranglers pants)

..and many more

Are they actually required by law to tell the detainee "a" reason? Why do they not just say "Sorry, but I can not tell you what the reason is"?

  • 1
    This is a question about not what the law states but how it is executed. This might be more fit for Politics.SE?
    – Trish
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 10:49
  • 7
    @Trish I don't see how this would be on topic at politics, at least in its present form. Furthermore, it seems to me that the justification provided by a police officer to someone who has been (perhaps temporarily) detained falls under "legal process and procedure" and may also be the subject of "statutes or court decisions," both of which are explicitly on topic.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 14:43
  • I believe this question, at its core, is a valid question about the laws and regulations that govern the police actions. Part of the reason for this question is to challenge the "answers" mentioned above.
    – Alex Doe
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 9:27
  • 1
    Cops typically develop a bizarre sense of humor (Black Humor) due to the nature of the job. And hey, if you're the cop dealing with the jogger who's fashion Icon is Winnie the Pooh, sometimes you can't help but play along with it... at least you're not the guy who's dealing with the family that's a victim of a murder/suicide. As for not discussing the reason, sometimes they want to hear the suspect dig themselves deeper... like if the Pooh Jogger was found while searching from a rape victim without his pants.
    – hszmv
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 14:18
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    Cops need reasonable suspicion that a crime is afoot to detain someone. A "suspicious" person is not a crime in itself and would begin to cross into unlawful detainment territory if the LEO can not articulate the reason for the detainment. Here is a video as an example; youtube.com/watch?v=bR8gUYZBixE Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 3:20

2 Answers 2


This is a deescalation tactic.

By giving some ridiculous far out reason, the officer hopes to distract you from any combative or aggressive feelings you have about being stopped. You can do this too, if someone you think is getting progressively angrier might try and hurt you, bringing up something random forces their mind off their anger, even just for a moment. And sometimes, that's enough to avoid a conflict.

As for the legality of telling you the reason, no they are not required to tell you the reason, as has been mentioned several times on stack exchange. If an officer says to himself, "I think this guy has crack on him because of X," and it's captured on his body cam, then he's covered. He can prove to the court that he did have reasonable suspicion to detain you, even if he later tells you, "I have a report of zombies in the area and I need to see your ID to determine if you have a death certificate."

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    While this may be true, it would have the opposite effect on me. If a cop gave me such a ridiculous story I would be antagonized, not pacified.
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 14:21
  • Furthermore to what @phoog said, there is no legal requirement to produce ID unless you are suspected of a crime. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 15:23
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    @Digitalfire, the officer is not required to ever tell you if you are a suspect. If you are a suspect, the officer can demand your ID, and if you refuse to furnish it, that's a crime, and you can be arrested. law.stackexchange.com/questions/43166/… In the previous link, the officers demanded ID of a suspected criminal, and were prepared to arrest when he refused.
    – GridAlien
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 15:27
  • @GridAlien You are incorrect. The individual was never suspected of a crime, he was merely a suspicious person. Furthermore, the threat of arrest is a common ruse used by police to force compliance. Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 15:39
  • @Digitalfire I think we need some clarity about what you mean by "suspicious person." If the person arouses the officer's suspicion, then the only things needed for the officer to stop the person legally are (1) that the suspicion be reasonable and (2) related to an actual offense, and (3) that the officer be able to articulate it. The officer doesn't need to articulate it to the suspect at the time of the stop, he or she only needs to be able to do so (if the matter comes to court). That is, the suspicion must be "articulable," not actually "articulated."
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 14:46

In order to legally force you to produce an ID. Police need reasonable articulable suspicion. But, since cops are allowed to lie to you. They try to make things up to try and get you to product an ID if you have not been suspected of committing a crime. At that point if you willingly producing an ID, it was on your own accord. They can even threaten you with arrest, even thou they may have no legal ground for an arrest.

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