An identified 911 caller reports that a group of individuals are engaged in “very suspicious activity” and further reports she saw a short black male with a hoodie with a black gun in his front pocket. Officer Squires, a veteran Bloomington police officer, responded and saw Adair, who was relatively short and was the only person in long sleeves on that warm evening. Squires recognized Adair and knew he had a prior felony conviction. As Officer Squires approached Adair, Adair tried to distance himself from the officer.  Officer Squires caught up with Adair and saw a bulge in his front pocket.  Officer Squires then ordered him away from the group and frisked him and retrieved a Sig Sauer P230 from his pocket.

Adair was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm and sought to have the firearm excluded as the fruit of an unlawful seizure and search.  Adair argued that since he did not have a hoodie on, he did not match the description of the 911 caller and therefore Officer Squires did not have the requisite reasonable suspicion to conduct the Terry Stop or the Terry Frisk.  The Seventh Circuit disagreed.  The court held that based on the 911 Call and then Officer Squire’s observation that Adair was the only one in long sleeves, combined with Squire’s recognition of Adair as a convicted felon and Adair’s attempt to avoid Squires, formed the requisite reasonable suspicion to conduct the Terry Stop and also perform the Terry Frisk.

Editor’s Note:  This case provides an outstanding review of what is required for a Terry Stop and, in a separate analysis, a Terry Frisk.  Don’t forget: you don’t “automatically” get to conduct a Terry Frisk with every Terry Stop. In order to lawfully conduct a Terry Frisk, you must articulate the facts that develop an objectively reasonable suspicion that the person to be frisked is presently armed and dangerous.  Officer Squires did an outstanding job of articulating those facts in this case.

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