Dandy. That's the AC compressor. Two things have to happen for that pulley to stop spinning. That ribbed pulley should spin freely with one finger when the belt is off. That is the clutch and it will be disengaged. When something comes apart inside it, that clutch can lock up, but then it should just run the compressor all the time. The symptom would be slightly reduced fuel mileage, if it's even noticeable. The compressor normally runs in AC mode and in defrost mode. With a locked clutch, it will run in heat mode too.
Once the clutch locked up, to cause a problem the compressor would have to lock up too. That is less common but it does happen. The compressor is hard to turn. When the clutch is working properly, you have to grab that plate in front of the pulley, and you'll likely need two hands to turn it. (Should do that with the engine not running!) When working properly, it will not turn evenly. What I mean is you'll feel plenty of resistance, then you'll reach a point where it suddenly spins real easy for perhaps a quarter turn. It will get easier and harder to turn three or four times per revolution, but it should feel smooth. If there's a problem inside it, you'll feel it clank to a stop or at least suddenly get stuck. Usually you'll be able to back it up for part of a revolution.
The clutch can be replaced separately if you have the special tools, but it's silly to do that if the compressor has to be replaced too. You might need to buy the two parts separately, but usually the complete assembly is available at a cost that's lower than buying them both individually. If you DO have to replace the compressor, leave that to a professional because the refrigerant has to be recovered first. That is extremely dangerous to work with. It can cause frostbite and blindness. Mechanics wear safety glasses, a face shield, and gloves. If only the clutch needs to be replaced, the refrigerant doesn't have to be removed.
Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 AT 1:37 AM