D.D.C.: Here, RS was thin, and frisking under jacket was unreasonable

The reasonable suspicion here is thin at best, but, even if there was enough for a stop, there wasn’t for a frisk. Going under defendant’s “jacket to feel his waist and groin area” was unreasonable because there wasn’t suspicion he was armed. United States v. Jones, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89734 (D.D.C. May 17, 2024):

Upon reviewing the evidence and the legal framework, the court concludes that Officer Wilson exceeded the permissible scope of a Terry frisk. At the evidentiary hearing, Officer Wilson was asked “you reached underneath Mr. Jones’ jacket to feel his waist and groin area. Is that correct?” He responded “Yes.” Feb. 8 Tr. at 60:3-5. Officer Wilson further testified that he “lifted it up”-referring to the jacket-and that it was only once he did so that he “felt a firearm.” Id. at 60:6-14. By placing his hands “under the outer surface of [Jones’] garments” before feeling a weapon, Officer Wilson’s actions contravened the plain letter of Terry, 329 U.S. at 29-30. Nor was his search “reasonably related in scope to the justification for [its] initiation.” Id. at 29. The search was not targeted to a specific area where he had reason to believe Jones was hiding a weapon, see Adams, 407 U.S. at 147-49, nor was it confined to simply exploring a pocket for weapons, see Dickerson, 508 U.S. at 378. Rather, Officer Wilson “physically penetrate[d] the outer surface of the jacket” and reached under Jones’ outer clothing-a more severe intrusion not justified under the circumstances. See Askew, 529 F.3d at 1133.

This entry was posted in Stop and frisk. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.