Terry argued that Officer McFadden did not have probable cause, and therefore could not stop, frisk, search or arrest him. The prosecutor argued that the Officer observed suspicious behavior that would lead any reasonable person to believe that a crime of violence was about to occur. He further argued that Officers, in that situation, should be permitted to infringe on individual rights, to some degree, to investigate these reasonable suspicions. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed and held:
1) A police officer may, in appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate manner, temporarily stop, detain and question an individual, if the officer can point to specific and articulable facts, which along with their reasonable inferences, lead him or her to reasonably suspect that criminal activity is afoot. The Court reasoned that police officers should not only solve crime once it has occurred, but should have the authority to PREVENT crime as well.The Court continued with the second rule of law, because Officer McFadden didn’t just “detain” Terry, he also “frisked him. So because they want officers to be safe, they held that:2) Furthermore, if the officer can also point to specific and articulable facts, which, along with their reasonable inferences lead him or her to reasonably suspect that the individual may be armed and dangerous, (s)he may perform a carefully limited search of the outer clothing to determine whether or not the suspect is armed.