On a spring evening at around 6:30 P.M., a police officer and another police officer were parked in separate marked police vehicles on a residential street in Rochester. One of the officers noticed that a woman (later determined to be the defendant’s girlfriend) was standing in front of a house across the street from where he was parked and was videotaping his activities. Curious about the woman’s identity, the officer ran the license plate of a Cadillac that was parked in her driveway and discovered that the plate number had been issued for a Toyota – not a Cadillac. He briefly stepped out of his car to ask who owned the automobile and the woman responded that it was her grandfather’s vehicle. The officer then reentered his patrol car. A few minutes later, the defendant man approached the open passenger-side window of the officer’s car, leaned his head in and inquired why the officer had checked the license plate. The officer said something to the effect that he could run a plate if he wanted to.
The defendant man started backing away from the police vehicle towards the middle of the street, swearing at the officer. When the officer asked what he said, the defendant repeated the profanity and accused the officer of harassing him. After radioing his partner that he intended to make an arrest, the officer exited his vehicle and, with the assistance of his partner, placed the defendant under arrest. These activities apparently attracted the attention of various civilian bystanders and, by the time of the arrest, about ten people had congregated on the sidewalk behind the defendant and his girlfriend. In a search incident to arrest, the police discovered that the defendant was with 25 bags cocaine in his possession. The defendant man was subsequently indicted and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance third degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance fourth degree and disorderly conduct.