Props to the Cops – Gun Recovery in Shaw

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 8.22.06 AM

From MPD:

“At approximately 2121 hours [June 19th], an officer conducting high visibility patrol in PSA 308 conducted a traffic stop in the 1300 block of 9th St., NW. During the course of the stop the officer noticed suspicious movement from both the driver and the front seat passenger. The occupants were removed from the vehicle and the officers discovered a fully loaded handgun located on the front seat. Two individuals were arrested for Carrying a Pistol Without a License (CPWL).”

36 Comment

  • Any chance this was the ‘dark vehicle’ that has been involved in the recent neighborhood shootings?

  • Is “suspicious movement” really enough cause to remove people from a car and search it?

    • Shouldn’t you be happy about that?

    • Here’s what you did well you get pulled over.
      1. Roll down your window
      2. Turn on your interior light
      3. Put your hands on the wheel
      4. Don’t make “suspicious movements”
      5. Don’t assume the cop respects your rights

      It’s not the time to make a point.

      • epric002

        6. Tell the officer before you move. Example: I’m going to get my ID out of my purse/wallet/whatever now.
        7. Use Sir/Ma’am.

        • 8. Don’t cry or look visibly upset.

          • That has gotten me out of countless tickets as has apologizing profusely.

          • 9. Don’t be a person of color

          • andy2: I guess they are alarmed by the sight of a man crying? I got pulled over for traffic violations a couple times when I was younger, and always burst into genuine tears (it’s a big deal when you’re 19). That just made the police officers angrier.

          • I wasn’t sure if Andy2 was saying that NOT crying or looking visibly upset had gotten him out of countless tickets, or if in fact crying and/or looking visibly upset had done it.

    • No. While the police may always order those whom they stop for a traffic violation out of a car, they may only search the car if they have probable cause to believe that evidence of the crime for which an arrest was made will be found inside the car. What the MPD describes is an illegal search. It is unfortunate that the Prince of Petworth has extended them “props.”

      • epric002

        They ordered the occupants out of the car, it was not stated whether they asked permission to search the car (always say no), or whether they were given consent. It says that a handgun was found on the front seat. If it was visible after the occupants exited, how was the search illegal?

        • I am no lawyer, but after a little googling it seems “furtive movement” can establish enough probably cause for officers to search the car. Either way the officer’s instinct appears to have been correct. Aren’t you glad a loaded gun and 2 criminals are off the street now in an area that has had a string of shootings over the last few months?

          • A “furtive movement” alone is not sufficient to justify the search of a car. Given the facts presented it is impossible to conclude definitively that this search was constitutional. It was wrong of me to assert that it was illegal. The truth is that the facts do not support a conclusion either way.

            I live within five blocks of where this occurred and I am certainly troubled by the reports of gun violence. But I believe that we must not sacrifice civil liberties to crime control. And where it is unclear whether civil rights have been violated, I believe that we should withhold our applause of the police.

          • 1) they need to stop and frisk these guys anywhere they see them, not just when they’re driving around violating traffic laws and making furtive movements to hide their guns

            2)we have way too many freakin wannaby civil liberty lawyers reading this blog who don’t seem to mind that Logan Circle, Shaw (and many other parts of DC) are turning into the wild west. Let’s set the BS aside. I’d gladly accept more aggressive policing in DC as a trade off for a loss of certain folks civil liberty to go around shooting and stabbing people.

        • You are definitely right to observe that if the gun was in plain view from the perspective of the arresting officer standing outside of the car, then the search was not illegal. However, the claim that the gun was in plain view is highly suspicious given that the seat from which the gun was confiscated had been occupied by one of the arrestees. The arrestee was most likely not sitting atop a loaded firearm when the car was pulled over.

          • epric002

            Again, we’re all hypothesizing here b/c we don’t have all the facts, but the furtive movements could very well have been the occupants trying to conceal the gun in the car so that it would not be found on their person. It’s very possible that they were unable to completely conceal the weapon and that it was visible after they exited the car.

          • Didn’t have to be in plain view. Frisks of a passenger cabin based on reasonable suspicion that occupants armed and dangerous (doesn’t have to be probable cause, all suggestions that probable cause was necessary are wrong) can include closed containers where a weapon could be stored (i.e. console) as well as under the seat and within the seat cushions. Thankfully, traffic stops is perhaps the one area on my bar exam I’m pretty sure I won’t get wrong. Real property however… well let’s just say if you want to buy a house or sue someone for breach of warranty, don’t ever ask me!

          • “The arrestee was most likely not sitting atop a loaded firearm”

            I think that you’re giving these guys too much credit. They really are dumb.

          • Alison – To justify a frisk, there must be reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed and dangerous. A furtive gesture, however, is not by itself sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion that a suspect is armed and dangerous. The case in which the Supreme Court upheld the automobile frisk involved an erratic and visibly intoxicated arrestee who had driven his car into a ditch, and who was carrying a hunting knife on the floor mat of his car that the police could see through the window. The police knew that he had a weapon before they conducted the frisk of the automobile. In this case, it was the frisk of the automobile that uncovered the weapon.

          • Hi Anonymous, although the facts of the case that lead to the automobile frisk were certainly compelling, I’m not sure they require an interpretation that furtive gestures alone are per se not sufficient to support reasonable suspicion. I would argue if the gestures were “furtive-y” enough for a reasonable officer in the officer’s position to believe the person was armed and dangerous, then the standard has been met. As an alternative argument, I suspect one of the additional facts is that there have been a number of drive by shootings in the area recently, and coupled with the furtive movements that would be enough to support reasonable suspicion.

      • If the gun was in plain view, the police had every authority to seize it and search the rest of the car and occupants.
        “discovered a fully loaded handgun located on the front seat.”

        • Allison

          You can order all occupants out of the vehicle with no reason at a traffic stop. You can frisk both the people as well as “frisk” the interior of the passenger cabin of the car upon reasonable suspicion to believe they are armed and dangerous, which can be based on furtive movements.


      • Hey, a LOADED GUN is off the streets where people and kids are trying to live their lives. How can that not be the most important, and good, point here?

        • As much as I’m glad they found the gun (and believe that they did it within the confines of the law) I can understand why people are bringing up whether what the police did was lawful. Our nation made a judgment in forming the Constitution that we are willing to allow some criminal activity to go undiscovered and even unpunished as a tradeoff for ensuring that innocent citizens are not harassed by the police. Lawfulness is at the inception of the search, and it doesn’t matter what was or was not found, and that’s a higher societal value than the results of the search.

    • A point of clarification. Those of us who have been through Crim Law and Con Crim Pro know full well that an arrest may be made for ANY VIOLATION of law. We also know that occupants may be ordered OUT of the vehicle for questioning. So, if either were sitting on the gun, it would then be in plain view… Further, the vehicle may be searched upon operator permission or upon impound/inventory. Since the occupants were out, there is no evanescent evidence issue here. Don’t forget the subjects may be Terry searched (for officer safety) and fully searched upon arrest and prior to transport. There doesn’t seem to be any violation of rights in the facts here. The vehicle was stopped for violation of law and the resultant events unfolded.

  • Was this the “dark car” that they were looking for?

  • good to know that if they ever catch the serial stabber there’s plenty of armchair attorneys here to help it get the case thrown out on technicalities of the law

    • Hint: Technicalities is all the law is made of.

      Have you thanked a public defender today?

      • what a lame ass thing to say.

        • It’s a thing to be said by people who understand how important procedural protections are to the continuation of the American way of life under the Constitution.

          • kind of like the procedural protections that let DC juvenile offenders out with a slap on the wrist for robbery and assault (or worse)? got it.

          • Anonymous below: Procedural protections under the Fourth Amendment are not the same thing as sentencing guidelines. You have issues with sentencing limits, not with procedure.

Comments are closed.