United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Antoine White stands charged with one count of Felon in
Possession of a Firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
922(g)(1). The matter is presently before the Court on
Defendant's motion to suppress evidence discovered after
City of Detroit police officers David Garcia and Derrick King
stopped Defendant for a traffic infraction on April 25, 2019.
(ECF No. 19.) In addition to the Government's response,
the Court held an evidentiary hearing on October 29, 2019,
and received supplemental briefs from Defendant and the
Government, with respect to the motion. For the reasons that
follow, the Court is now granting Defendant's motion to
camera on the officers' scout car and their body cameras
captured the traffic stop relevant to Defendant's motion.
The Government filed the video recordings under seal (see ECF
No. 26) and presented them as exhibits during the evidentiary
hearing. Officers Garcia and King testified at the hearing.
evidence established that on April 25, 2019, at about 12:30
p.m., Officers Garcia and King were on patrol in the
Detroit's Sixth Precinct, where they were assigned to
focus mostly on gangs, guns, robberies, and shootings. As the
officers approached or were stopped at the intersection of
Westwood Street and Kendall Street, they witnessed Defendant,
who was riding a motor bike or minibike, fail to stop at a
stop sign. The officers also noted that the motor bike was
not equipped with turn signals or brake lights. Defendant
does not contest the basis for the traffic stop.
Linda V. Parker The patrol car dashcam video reflects that
Defendant kept his hands on the motorbike's handle bars
when he first pulled over in response to the officers.
Defendant then placed his hands in the air. The officers
exited the patrol car and approached Defendant, with Officer
Garcia on Defendant's left and Officer King on his right.
As they approached, Officer Garcia instructed Defendant to
turn off the motorbike, which Defendant did with his right
hand. Defendant then returned his right-hand to the
upon reaching Defendant, Officer King began frisking
Defendant. Officer White then asked Defendant if he had any
identification on him and if he had “any pistols on
[his] person.” When Officer Garcia asked Defendant if
he had identification, Defendant removed his right hand from
the handlebar, but Officer King directed Defendant's hand
back to the handlebar and then resumed frisking him. If
Defendant indicated that he did or did not have
identification, it cannot be heard on the recordings and the
officers did not provide this information during their
evidentiary hearing testimony.
informed the officers that he had just found a broken
“two-five” (i.e., a type of handgun). Officer
King then began to handcuff Defendant. Officer Garcia
informed Defendant that he went straight through the stop
sign and had to abide by the traffic rules while riding the
scooter. Officer Garcia then asked Defendant where the
firearm was located, and Defendant indicated that it was in
his front left pocket. Officer Garcia retrieved the weapon, a
.25 caliber Raven Arms P25. Officer Garcia asked Defendant if
he was on probation or parole. Defendant answered no. Officer
King then asked Defendant if he has a concealed pistols
license. Defendant indicated he did not.
officers arrested Defendant for carrying a concealed weapon
without a license. According to the Indictment, Defendant
previously had been convicted of a crime punishable by more
than one-year imprisonment, which rendered it unlawful for
him to possess a firearm. (ECF No. 8.)
Garcia testified at the evidentiary hearing that Defendant
was compliant, did nothing to indicate that he intended to
flee, and made no gestures suggesting that he was dangerous.
Officer Garcia further testified that he did not believe
Defendant was armed with a weapon when he approached him.
When asked at the evidentiary hearing if Defendant made any
gestures or suspicious movements, Officer King mentioned
Defendant's movement of his hand toward his right pant
leg pocket and testified that “in [his] experience
dealing with individuals that carry weapons, they usually
reach - it is a reaction for them to reach for it, to check
to see where it is at, before you find it.” Both
officers indicated at the hearing that they did not know
anything about Defendant before stopping him.
Law and Analysis Whether the Search was
Fourth Amendment safeguards “[t]he right of the people
to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable
searches and seizures.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. A law
enforcement officer's stop and frisk of a suspect-though
potentially brief in duration-demonstrably infringes upon the
suspect's liberty and thus constitutes a search and
seizure for Fourth Amendment purposes. See Terry v.
Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 16 (1968) (“[W]henever a police
officer accosts an individual and restrains his freedom to
walk away, he has ‘seized' that person. And ... a
careful exploration of the outer surfaces of a person's
clothing all over his or her body in an attempt to find
weapons is ... a ‘search.' ”). An officer may
conduct a stop and frisk consistent with the Constitution
“if two conditions are met.” Arizona v.
Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 326 (2009).
the investigatory stop must be lawful at its inception-i.e.,
justified by the requisite level of suspicion. Id.
This requirement is satisfied when officers conduct a lawful
traffic stop. Id. at 327 (explaining that the first
condition-“a lawful investigatory stop-is met whenever
it is lawful for police to detain an automobile and its
occupants pending inquiry into a vehicular violation”).
Second, before conducting a ...