N.D.Ind.: 911 caller stayed on phone and gave a “play-by-play” of what the defendant was doing that was quickly corroborated by the police

911 caller stayed on phone and gave a “play-by-play” of what the defendant was doing that was quickly corroborated by the police. That was reasonable suspicion. United States v. Jeanes, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181601 (N.D.Ind. Nov. 29, 2016), adopted, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2768 (N.D.Ind. Jan. 9, 2017):

Interestingly, the facts here are remarkably similar to the facts in United States v. Drake, 456 F.3d 771. In Drake, the Fort Wayne Police Department 911 dispatch center received a report of an ongoing emergency; namely, two groups of men were involved in a public disturbance and each group had a gun. Id. at 772-73. Only minutes passed from the time the 911 operator relayed the description of the suspects until the time the suspects were stopped by police. Id. In fact, like this case, the caller in Drake told the 911 operator that she could see the police arriving on the scene. Id. at 774. The Drake court found that the caller was of untested reliability, the police were justified in relying on the caller’s contemporaneous eyewitness report of an emergency situation and the eyewitness report to the 911 center provided police with the necessary collective knowledge to establish reasonable suspicion of ongoing criminality. Id. The singular distinction between the facts of Drake and this case is that the caller in Drake identified herself near the end of the 911 call whereas here, the caller declined to identify herself. Compare Id. at 774-75, with Gov. Hrg. Ex. 1. As noted by the Drake court, “[w]e therefore presume the reliability of an eyewitness 911 call reporting an emergency situation for purposes of establishing reasonable suspicion, particularly when the caller identifies herself. Id. at 775 (emphasis added). In Drake, the 911 call reported an immediate threat to public safety and the caller provided sufficient details to allow the police to identify the suspects. Id. Here, the anonymous caller provided police with a contemporaneous eyewitness report of an emergent situation; namely waving a gun outside a vehicle near downtown Michigan City. Gov. Hrg. Ex. 1. The police responded within minutes and located the suspect vehicle, and the anonymous caller confirmed to the 911 operator that the police had pulled over the suspects. Id. On balance, this eyewitness report—albeit anonymous—is the type of report that the Drake court found to be inherently reliable in establishing reasonable suspicion for the police to make a Terry stop. Drake, 456 F.3d at 774-76. The fact that the caller in this case failed to identify herself does not significantly undermine the reliability of her tip, especially when she provided a contemporaneous eyewitness account of the ongoing emergency situation to the 911 center, which was easily corroborated by the police within a few minutes.

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