'Looking Suspicious is Not Against the Law': Mam'K Activist Recalls Arrest

Luis Quiros talks to Patch about his arrest in front of his Rockland Avenue home last week.


Community activist and Mamaroneck resident Luis Quiros, 67, was arrested on Thursday, Feb. 14 outside his home on Rockland Avenue after police responded to a call about a suspicious man sitting in his car. 

After being questioned in the car, Quiros stepped out of his vehicle and was handcuffed by police, who arrested him on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He is due back in Village of Mamaroneck Court on Feb. 28. 

Quiros has served as board chair of the Westchester Community Opportunity Programs, Inc. (WESTCOP); vice-chair of the Lower Hudson Valley Civil Liberties Union and as is currently a sociology professor at Fordham University. 

Village of Mamaroneck Police Chief Christopher Leahy did not respond to a request for comment.

LD February 22, 2013 at 01:27 AM
LifeLongResident I respect your last comment. but he was 40 feet or so from the school . What school? The nursery school, and i do know this for a fact. if you look it up on google you would have to know his exact house # as the Ave is long.. im sure he will try to sue but good luck winning it since the whole entire thing was video taped.. and the last article was saying that he was clinching his fist and tryed to swing at an officer.. dont think hell win if a judge sees that.. look all im saying is that being that close to a school and someone called it in .. The officer did the right thing.. espcially with whats been going on these days with school shootings and such... thats all im saying .this sittuation didnt have to be a sittuation .. im sure we will here more of this story, and it may shed more light as to what really happen.
T Hall February 22, 2013 at 01:53 AM
What ever happened with the guy at the Hommocks.....it all quietly went away.....hmmmmmmm
LD February 22, 2013 at 01:57 AM
T Hall In my opinion, i think that what happen at the homocks was inocent and just a guy who left his stuff at the pool and after all the mess that was made was probally afraid to come foward.. Just guessing i have no clue .. but it was scary especially after sandy hook tragedy...
I believe in law and order for all February 22, 2013 at 04:12 AM
Given that a federal judge recently had to order monitoring of the Mamaroneck Police Department's interaction with Hispanic ciitzens, it is deplorable that they were so stupid and lawless as to arrest this man merely because he stated the precise truth: "Looking suspicious is not against the law." He had done absolutely nothing, "confrontational" or otherwise! No conduct is alleged that would justify an inquiry, let alone an arrest. In this country we do not have to talk to police simply because they feel like talking to us: refusal to do anything but remain silent does not warrant arrest. He was sitting in what was apparently a lawfully parked car; other than producing registration, license and insurance card if asked, he had no obligation to respond at all. No doubt a wealthy man in a suit doing the exact same thing would have been left alone -- perhaps questioned or kept under surveillance, but not ordered to exit his lawfully parked vehicle! Interesting how often people who rave that the addresses of of gun-owners shouldn't be public (although every car-owner's address is, and a car is more of a theft risk than a gun under the bed), lack comparable concern for the privacy rights of a man simply sitting in a car. This will cost Mamaroneck substantial damages and legal fees unless the Village is smart enough to settle fast. Sadly, these officers will probably not even be disciplined, let alone have to repay the taxpayers, for their ineptitude at community policing.
T Hall February 22, 2013 at 06:26 AM
Disciplined for what?
Ralph Tamlyn February 22, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Respect for police, hmmm ... how about respect for people? The police have very expensive equipment giving them instant electronic access to vast information. Why didn't the police simply check the license plate in the DMV records and realize it was registered to the address where it was parked? And if they did check, why harass someone near his house? Does the police information system keep track of whether the license was checked? If so, and they did check, then that opens a door into very scary harassment behavior!!! But then, back to respect for people, why harass someone simply sitting in a car?
Eleanor Sherman February 22, 2013 at 04:16 PM
I disagree with you. Mr. Quiros to me looks like any other resident. How would we know he was Hispanic by his appearance? He looks like any other resident to me. I think the police were trying to keep our children safe from stalkers, and a reasonable resident would have just responded. I had been stopped in NYC by police for 5 days in a row, because they were looking for a stollen car that matched my car's description. Yes, it was annoying, but each time I was stopped I got out of my car as they requested. What was the big deal that he didn't want to cooperate with the police? Personally, I would have responded to the police and just explained why I was sitting in my car for a lengthy period of time. He should not have been so defiant.
BG7 February 22, 2013 at 05:40 PM
If Mr. Quiros's wll-known melodramatic approach to many things in this area is anything to go by, including his penchance for a "scene" it is no surprise this ended this way. Its no loss to him, merely burnishes his reputation among the "downtrodden", another arrow for his quiver of in justice. Basically, yet another thing he can complain about.
T Hall February 22, 2013 at 09:53 PM
They know who it is...just wont tell us....
T Hall February 22, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Fordham must be thrilled with the publicity too
Eleanor Sherman February 22, 2013 at 10:35 PM
I just researched this legally. Here is what is said. It is reasonable for an officer to ask you to step out of the car, and if Mr. Q wanted to stay silent, he should have not lipped off at the office. Silent means silent. He should have said I chose to remain silent. What if law enforcement officers stop me in my car? " Keep your hands where the police can see them. You must show your drivers license, registration and proof of insurance if you are asked for these documents. Officers can also ask you to step outside of the car, and they may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them and compare their answers, but no one has to answer any questions. The police cannot search your car unless you give them your consent, which you do not have to give, or unless they have “probable cause” to believe (i.e., knowledge of facts sufficient to support a reasonable belief) that criminal activity is likely taking place, that you have been involved in a crime, or that you have evidence of a crime in your car. If you do not want your car searched, clearly state that you do not consent. The officer cannot use your refusal to give consent as a basis for doing a search."
SRT February 22, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Eleanor, Thank you for the above quote, can you let us know where you got it from?
Aidan February 22, 2013 at 11:40 PM
BG7 ... right on target.
Peter Sivere February 23, 2013 at 12:53 AM
When I first moved to Mamaroneck after living in NYC for 17 years I met Mr. Quiros at a street fair and purchased and read his book. http://anothersmind.com/book-introduction_236.html I may have done things differently ie. tell the officers what they wanted to know (no big deal). Becuase I read his book, I understand his stance. I guess you need to walk in ones shoes to understand it. However, answering the officers question would have avoided all of this.
LD February 23, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Elanor Your statement that you posted is correct.. However the police can still search your car even if you dont consent, if they have reason to beleive you have something .. now you can say no and if they search it anyway and dont find anything they have got a law suit on there hands.... I agree with peter this whole thing could of been avoided and really im so sick of people saying its race realted.... get over it already and show some respect for our officers... the officer did the right thing... Espcially near a school.......
George Powers February 23, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Agreed . Great job officers !
George Powers February 23, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Eleanor Sherman February 24, 2013 at 04:34 PM
SRT - I found it on some website when researcing the questoin. I think if you copy/paste it into a browser you can trace it to the site. LD - I agree with you. Mr. Q did not respond appropriate to the law enforcement officers. Instead, he challenged them. The police officer deemed his behavior suspicious. Rightfully so. If Mr. Q did not want to respond, he should have replied "I wish to remain silent." The officer had the right to ask Mr. Q to come out of his car. Mr. Q "refused." That is where he got into trouble. He did not have the right to refuse to come out of his car, but had the right to remain silent. This had nothing to do with race. He was just acting defiant and had a chip on his shoulder. An officer has the right to ask a person who looks suspicious to get out of their car. The officer thought that a man sitting in a car in front of a school may be suspicious and was responding to a call of suspicous behavior. Mr. Q refused to cooperate. He brought the actions that followed on himself. The officer was trying to protect our community. Perhaps Mr. Q should have commended the officer for their vigilence in trying to protect our children from possible stalkers, kidnappers, or other unsaviory people...and realized that his behavior could have fit those profiles. I say "thank you officers for doing your job." Mr. Q think about your actions and how the officer could have resolved this incident ifyou had simply explained yourself.
Eleanor Sherman February 24, 2013 at 04:44 PM
http://www.aclu.org/files/kyr/kyr_english_2.pdf I believe this was written in the booklet by ACLU.
Eleanor Sherman February 24, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Ralph Tamlyn February 24, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Interesting Eleanor, thank you for posting that and for posting the source. Does it apply when he was not stopped by the police? He was not driving. He was not "pulled over".
LD February 24, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Ralph in Larchmont Do you know that this was called in to the police .. thats why he was questioned.. a little respect goes a long way .. but Mr Q loves the attention and any chance he gets to blame this on race... try being polite to the police next time it might get you a better result.. but instead it got the exavt result that mr Q was looking for... Also good luck on him trying to sue.. the whole incident was on tape.. id like to see the judge's face when she see's Q's fist clinched at the police .. What a joke Great Job Mamk Police!!!!!!! thanks for protecting our streets and our kids!!!!!!
Daniel S February 25, 2013 at 05:48 PM
The fact that the first officer on the scene "ran his plate" should have ended the issue before it began. The plate registration would have come back as the residence he was parked in front of, therefore, the officer would have reported back to HQ that it was in fact the owner of the residence parked in front of it. The fact that INSTEAD backup was called in and the man quizzed as to "WHY" he was parked there (in front of his own house), makes it obvious that the officer was either looking to start something, or a complete idiot. If he lives 40 feet away from a school so what? THAT is his home. What...we can't live within 40 feet of a school now? Has the pedophile law NOW been expanded to ALL citizens?
JM February 25, 2013 at 08:13 PM
There are a lot of comments mentioning that since the police ran the plate of the car that it should have stopped there. So what they ran the plate, that doesn't mean that the person in the vehicle is the owner of the car. How bad would the police have looked if they ran the plate and left, later to find out someone was killed inside the home and their car was stolen (just an example) then everyone would be complaininng that the police did nothing and it could have been prevented. The police did the right thing. They are to investiagate 911 calls, not to run a plate and assume the driver is the owner of the vehicle.
JM February 25, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Ralph, How would the police know that the person in the car is the person the car is registered under without asking?
Ralph Tamlyn February 26, 2013 at 03:07 AM
JM, are you suggesting that it is appropriate for the police to interrogate everyone who might be a criminal, no matter how unlikely? Does this mean they should frisk everyone who stumbles because he or she might be intoxicated? Should we now use the police to harass our lousy neighbors? Hey, there's someone in that house I don't recognize, the police had better enter it to investigate! Is criminal behavior so rampant that people sitting in cars registered at a house should be interrogated? Well then, let's be sure to be even more vigilant interrogating people in cars not registered to the house in front of which it is parked!! Many of us (most of us I hope) are asking for reasonable judgement on the part of the police when investigating a person sitting in a parked car; not excuses to assert unconstitutional intrusive authority without reasonable cause.
JM February 26, 2013 at 03:08 PM
No I wasn't suggesting that the police should interrogate everyone who might be a criminal. I was stating that since a 911 call was made the police have a responsibility to fully investigate the call, not just scan a license plate. If no call was made, I would agree that scanning the license should have been enough. However a call was made and I don't think asking the driver a question falls under interrogation or harassment. Look at the situation with the 12 year old girl Jaycee Lee Dugard that was ubducted years ago. People called 911 on suspicion of the home owener and the police barely investigated the calls. If they did this girl would have been found years ago. No police officer wants to sit in a court room an explain to a jury that they received a 911 call scanned a plate and asked no questions. Later to find out that if they asked a simple question the out come could have been different.
LD February 26, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Daniel S A simple " Hey officer i live here would of ended the issue point blank period.. but instead of doing that Mr Q Decided to challenge the police... Big Mistake.. and to all these coments about oh i hope this doesnt turn into a suit i dont think the mamk police are worried about that since the entire incident was captured on tape and also auido of how Mr Q responded as well. especially when he clinched his fist at officers.. he got exactly what he deserved to get... Mamk police officers did a great job!!!!!!
You bet February 27, 2013 at 02:30 AM
Exactly my sentiment. Everything done by this man seems poised for more press and The Patch is naive in complying. I am beginning to think this man simply lives to create news with his name in it. Wasn't he recently involved in defaming a restaurant owner for not paying wages to an undocumented worker. Now he is welcoming the defamation...almost seems as though he is provoking it.
You bet February 27, 2013 at 02:36 AM
This man is very angry at everyone and does no one any good. He needs to become silent and let the next generation take up his cause...if in fact he has one other than getting in the news. Shame on the media for accommodating his obvious need for attention. I am really getting sick of his provocations. We have bigger fish to fry.


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