CA8: Protective sweep justified by one’s furtiveness, gun history for def, sounds of others inside

Here, there was plenty of articulable facts that added up to reasonable suspicion for a protective sweep because of one person’s apparent furtiveness, a gun history for the arrestee, and the sounds of others inside. United States v. Alatorre, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 12409 (8th Cir. July 12, 2017) [in my view, the default is that others inside is almost always enough, but the gun history cinches it]:

Here, the protective sweep of the residence was justified by several articulable facts and rational inferences supporting the officers’ reasonable beliefs that someone else could be inside posing a danger to them during or following the arrest. Buie, 494 U.S. at 327. These facts and inferences include: (1) Alatorre’s girlfriend lingered in the kitchen out of sight of the officers until she was specifically called to the door, indicating that it was easy for someone to hide just out of view of the officers inside the residence in a position from which an attack could be launched; (2) Guns or other dangerous weapons were conceivably present in the residence given Alatorre’s criminal history involving concealed weapons and the alleged violent baton attack prompting the arrest, giving anyone remaining inside the residence access to weapons to use in an ambush of the officers; (3) The audible movements and behaviors (e.g., coming to the door and retreating; quietly conversing) of people behind the door and blinds after the officers knocked, along with the delays in answering the door, created a reasonable uncertainty as to how many people were inside the residence and their intentions toward the officers, Boyd, 180 F.3d at 975-76 (upholding a protective sweep because “[w]hen the law enforcement officers entered the house … they had no way of knowing how many people were there”) (internal quotation marks omitted); Davis, 471 F.3d at 944 (“A protective sweep may be executed after an arrest if there is a reasonable possibility that other persons may be present on the premises who pose a danger to the officers.”); and (4) Officers on the front porch of the residence dealing with Alatorre and his girlfriend were vulnerable to attack from someone inside the residence.

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