CA3: Officer was face-to-face with citizen informant in a high-crime area about man with a gun; it was sufficiently reliable

“Officer Pickel received a tip that Torres, just moments before, had discharged a firearm in a high-crime area. A brief encounter with police ensued. Only thirty-five seconds elapsed between the time when Officer Pickel ordered Torres to stop and when police secured Torres’s firearm. Thus, the seizure was an investigatory stop—not an arrest.” “Because Torres was subjected to an investigatory stop, we next ask whether the stop was supported by reasonable suspicion. Wardlow, 528 U.S. at 123. It was.” “Based on the Brown factors, the tip was reliable. First, Officer Pickel interacted with the tipster face-to-face and thus could assess his credibility. The tipster waved down Officer Pickel and adamantly explained what he had personally witnessed. Second, Officer Pickel would likely be able to hold the man accountable if his allegation were untrue. Although Officer Pickel did not know the tipster’s name or his car’s license plate number, he did know what the man looked like and the make of the car that he drove. Third, the tipster had just witnessed the alleged criminal activity. See Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393, 400 (2014) (observing that a statement ‘made under the stress of excitement caused by a startling event … weigh[s] in favor of the [tipster’s] veracity’). [¶] The fact that Torres was in a high-crime area also favors reliability.” United States v. Torres, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 17695 (3d Cir. June 5, 2020).

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