D.Nev.: Passenger’s refusal to answer basic questions and ignoring officer during routine traffic stop justified patdown

“Here, the Court finds that Officer Kunz had reasonable suspicion to believe that Defendant was armed and presently dangerous, such that his patdown of Defendant was lawful. The stop occurred at night, when it was dark outside. After the vehicle was stopped, Officer Kunz approached the passenger side and attempted to speak with Defendant. Defendant refused to even look at him, instead staring straight forward and refusing to acknowledge the officer’s questions. Additionally, Defendant appeared nervous, as his hands were shaking. When Officer Kunz asked Defendant to walk toward his vehicle, he specifically told Defendant to keep his hands visible and not reach for his pockets. Despite those clear instructions, Defendant reached for his front pockets on three separate occasions for an object that was not visible, causing Officer Kunz to fear for officer safety.” United States v. Vargas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116019 (D. Nev. March 3, 2017), adopted, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115139 (D. Nev. July 24, 2017).

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