The presence of individuals who appear to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender—whether because such individuals are displaying symbols such as a rainbow flag or pink triangle or for any other reason—should not trigger any special scrutiny by a police officer, other than a concern for the safety and well-being of those persons that the officer would have for any other park or rest area patron.
Police may of course approach a person, and make inquiries, but even if a person has been convicted of a past offense, or fails to respond, or responds in a way which does not satisfy the officer, that alone is not grounds for the person to be arrested.
Brief intrusions upon a person are permitted if an officer can say why he or she is concerned and that concern is reasonable. For example, if an officer is concerned about someone’s safety, or suspects the person may have committed a crime, or suspects the person has committed a traffic infraction, then a stop is reasonable (State v. Gulick, 759 A.2d 1085 (Me. 2007), *2; State v. Connors, 734 A.2d 195 (Me. 1999)(investigatory stop justified when officer has articulable suspicion of civil violation or criminal activity and such suspicion is objectively reasonable in the totality of circumstances)).
An arrest can only occur upon “probable cause” that a crime has been committed (State v. Boylan, 665 A.2d 1016 (Me. 1995)(probable cause to arrest where officer has reasonably trustworthy information that would warrant an ordinarily prudent and cautious officer to believe the subject did commit or was committing a crime). See also Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 16 (1968)).