Cite as: 536 U. S. 194 (2002)
Souter, J., dissenting
ward, with one of them speaking to passengers, the other backing him up. Id., at 47-48. They necessarily addressed the passengers at very close range; the aisle was only 15 inches wide, and each seat only 18.2 The quarters were cramped further by the overhead rack, 19 inches above the top of the passenger seats. The passenger by the window could not have stood up straight, id., at 55, and the face of the nearest officer was only a foot or 18 inches from the face of the nearest passenger being addressed, id., at 57. During the exchanges, the officers looked down, and the passengers had to look up if they were to face the police. The officer asking the questions spoke quietly. He prefaced his requests for permission to search luggage and do a body pat-down by identifying himself by name as a police investigator "conducting bus interdiction" and saying, " 'We would like for your cooperation. Do you have any luggage on the bus?' " Id., at 82.
Thus, for reasons unexplained, the driver with the tickets entitling the passengers to travel had yielded his custody of the bus and its seated travelers to three police officers, whose authority apparently superseded the driver's own. The officers took control of the entire passenger compartment, one stationed at the door keeping surveillance of all the occupants, the others working forward from the back. With one officer right behind him and the other one forward, a third officer accosted each passenger at quarters extremely close and so cramped that as many as half the passengers could not even have stood to face the speaker. None was asked whether he was willing to converse with the police or to take part in the enquiry. Instead the officer said the police were "conducting bus interdiction," in the course of which they "would like . . . cooperation." Ibid. The reasonable inference was that the "interdiction" was not a consensual exercise, but one the police would carry out what-2 The figures are from a Lodging filed by respondents (available in Clerk of Court's case file). The Government does not dispute their accuracy.
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