April 11, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Central
District of Illinois. No. l:17-cr-10053 - James E. Shadid,
Sykes, Scudder, and St. Eve, Circuit Judges.
Scudder, Circuit Judge.
Curtis Squires received a crime-in-progress notification
while patrolling in Blooming-ton, Illinois during the late
evening hours of September 21, 2017. More details followed.
The 911 operator informed Officer Squires that a caller from
the Tracy Drive Apartments reported a group of persons
outside her apartment engaged in suspicious activity. The
caller added that a short black male wearing a hoodie had a
gun in his front pocket. Arriving moments later, Officer
Squires saw the group, approached to see what was going on,
and observed that Herman Adair roughly fit the 911
caller's description and had a large bulge in his front
pants' pocket. Adair sought to evade Officer Squires by
moving and weaving throughout the larger group-trying to put
others between Officer Squires and himself. Officer Squires
then stopped and patted down Adair, finding a gun in his
front pocket. The district court concluded that all of this
respected the Fourth Amendment. We agree and affirm.
question presented turns on whether, under the totality of
circumstances facing Officer Squires at the Tracy Drive
Apartments, he had reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk
Adair under the standard announced in Terry v. Ohio,
392 U.S. 1 (1968).
full facts emerged during a suppression hearing in the
district court. A few additional points warrant emphasis.
Officer Squires received the emergency notification just
after 10:45 p.m. The additional details came in a message
transmitted by the 911 operator to the computer in Officer
Squires's police car. According to the message, the 911
caller provided her first name and phone number and stated
that she had just been outside and saw the group smoking,
drinking, and engaged in "very suspicious
activity." The caller added that, while she did not
recognize anyone as living in the Tracy Drive Apartments, she
walked by a short black male with a hoodie and saw he had a
black gun in his front pocket. While driving to the location,
Officer Squires spoke to the 911 operator and confirmed this
Squires knew the Tracy Drive Apartments well. A seven-year
veteran of the Bloomington Police Department, he had
responded to the area many times to address reports of theft,
burglaries, fights, and shots fired. He also knew local gangs
to have a presence at the apartment complex. At the
suppression hearing, Officer Squires testified to being
concerned that, upon arriving at the Tracy Drive Apartments,
he would encounter someone who did not live at the complex
but was nonetheless outside drinking and carrying a gun. The
concern, he underscored, was the product of seeing many times
over that alcohol and guns do not mix well.
Officer Squires no more than two minutes to drive to the
apartment complex. Upon exiting his car, he saw about ten
people standing outside, just as the 911 caller reported. As
he approached the group his attention focused on Herman Adair
because he was relatively short and the only person (on an
unusually warm September night) wearing long sleeves.
Everyone else was wearing t-shirts and tank tops. Officer
Squires testified he had encountered Adair many times before
that night and immediately recognized him as not only someone
who did not live at the Tracy Drive Apartments, but also the
only person wearing clothing resembling the 911 caller's
description. Officer Squires further testified that he knew
Adair had a prior felony conviction. He added that each of
his prior encounters with Adair had been respectful.
Officer Squires first approached, Adair was standing near the
middle of the larger group. As Officer Squires got closer,
however, Adair began to move away, weaving through the group
and putting other people in between himself and the officer.
Officer Squires believed Adair was trying to evade and avoid
him. He eventually got close enough to Adair to see a
conspicuous, large bulge in the front pocket of his jeans.
Seeing the bulge raised even more concern because, as Officer
Squires testified, he recalled the 911 caller reported seeing
a gun protruding from a man's pocket.
Squires reacted by asking Adair to step away from the group.
He then asked for permission to search him. When Adair
declined, Officer Squires told him that, due to the
circumstances, he was going to pat him down for weapons. The
ensuing frisk revealed a hard object that Officer Squires
immediately recognized as a gun in Adair's front pocket.
The firearm was a black and loaded Sig Sauer P23O handgun.
Officer Squires testified that he knew at the time of the
stop and pat down that Adair's prior felony conviction
prevented him from possessing a firearm.
government charged Adair with unlawful possession of a
firearm by a felon, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g).
Adair moved to suppress the firearm, arguing that Officer
Squires lacked the reasonable suspicion required to stop and
search him. The district court denied the motion. Adair then
pleaded guilty, reserving the ...