D.D.C.: Def tossed gun as encounter started and that was abandonment, but the court has questions about the encounter

The DC Gun Recovery Unit encountered a person on the street and talked to him, but by the time a more intensive encounter occurred, something that troubled the court, defendant had tossed the gun. United States v. Meekins, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135955 (D. D.C. Aug. 13, 2019)*:

This court shares the concern, expressed by Judge Brown in Gross, that not treating these types of encounters as “seizures” under the Fourth Amendment means that individuals who encounter Gun Recovery Unit officers often face a false choice: “‘voluntarily’ acquiesce to the officers’ request or [] have any reaction to the officers’ inquiries—regardless of how objectively benign—serve as the factual predicate justifying a Terry search.” Gross, 784 F.3d at 791 (Brown, J., concurring). This court is not at liberty, however, to depart from the Circuit’s holdings in Gross and Miller. Under those precedents, Defendant was not seized until Officer Mancini ordered him to spread his legs to prepare for a pat down. He had tossed the gun by this point, thereby forfeiting any privacy interest in it. Defendant’s motion is therefore denied.

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