The term “squeeze” gets tossed around a lot in cop shows. But what exactly does it mean?
Say Detective Briscoe approaches a drug dealer who he just knows has information valuable to his case. The scene will usually play out like this: Briscoe asks a question, and the dealer plays dumb, so Briscoe comes up with an excuse to frisk the dealer. He finds a bag of cocaine and says something to his partner like, “What do you know? Our friend here was just about to powder his nose.” The cuffs come out. The dealer gets the message and spills his guts. It’s called the squeeze, and it’s illegal.
According to procedure, the detectives are supposed to arrest the person on the spot and bring him to a DA, who will work out a plea-for-information deal. Only the DA’s office has the authority to put the squeeze on.
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True Stories of Law & Order series authors Kevin Dwyer and Juré Fiorillo weigh in on crime, justice, and their favorite television show.