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United States v. Patterson

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division

April 9, 2018

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Derrick D. Patterson, Defendant.


          Iain D. Johnston United States Magistrate Judge

         For the reasons stated herein, it is this Court's Report and Recommendation that Defendant's motion to suppress (Dkt. 45) be denied. Any objection to this Report and Recommendation must be filed with the district judge by April 23, 2018. A status hearing is set for April 26, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 2, 2016, Defendant, Derrick D. Patterson, was charged in a two-count indictment. The indictment alleges that on July 6, 2016, Defendant was a felon in possession of two firearms and that one of those firearms had a removed, altered or obliterated serial number.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's motion to suppress the two firearms he is charged with possessing. Dkt. 45. The government opposes the motion. Dkt. 48. On March 22, 2018, the Court held a suppression hearing and admitted seven exhibits submitted by the government, all of which were unopposed. Sergeant Michael Weber testified at the hearing. The relevant facts are as follows.

         At approximately midnight on July 6, 2016, Defendant was driving a grey Dodge Charger and traveling westbound on Elm Street in Rockford, Illinois. Sergeant Weber[1] of the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office was patrolling in the area and traveling eastbound on Elm Street.

         Sergeant Weber testified that he observed an oncoming vehicle approximately 100 to 200 yards away, later identified as a grey Dodge Charger, traveling westbound in his lane of traffic. Sergeant Weber's radar gun indicated that the Charger was traveling 45 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone. The Charger returned to its lane of traffic as it approached Sergeant Weber's vehicle. Sergeant Weber turned his vehicle around to follow the Charger. As Sergeant Weber approached approximately one car length behind the Charger, he was able to determine the make, model and registration of the vehicle. Sergeant Weber determined that the Charger was a rental vehicle through Tennessee. Sergeant Weber then activated his emergency lights and siren to initiate a traffic stop. The Charger did not immediately pull over. As Sergeant Weber followed, he witnesses the Charger briefly cross over the center line. The Charger continued driving and turned right onto Liberty Street. At that time, the Charger accelerated away at a high rate of speed. Sergeant Weber pursued the Charger and reached a speed of 50 miles per hour, but the Charger was rapidly pulling away from him. Sergeant Weber and the Charger were driving in a 30-mile-per-hour zone during the pursuit.

         Shortly after the pursuit began, the Charger crashed into a drainage ditch. Sergeant Weber parked near the drainage ditch and exited his vehicle with his gun drawn. Sergeant Weber testified that he was approximately 50 feet from the Charger when he got out of his police vehicle to approach. He yelled for the driver, later identified as Defendant, to get out of the vehicle with his hands up. Sergeant Weber testified that although it was dark outside, the headlights from his police vehicle illuminated the drainage ditch enough that he could see what was occurring with Defendant.

         Sergeant Weber observed the driver's door open and Defendant fall to the ground. Sergeant Weber ordered Defendant to stay on the ground, but instead Defendant stood up and attempted to stumble away several times. During one of these times, Sergeant Weber saw a handgun fall out of Defendant's waistband and onto the ground.

         Defendant then ran from Sergeant Weber. Sergeant Weber was able to grab Defendant, but Defendant pulled away and kept running. Sergeant Weber eventually tackled Defendant to the ground, but Defendant continued to resist. After a short physical altercation, Defendant was eventually subdued by Sergeant Weber and handcuffed.

         Sergeant Weber waited for two additional officers to arrive on the scene before taking Defendant to his police vehicle. Sergeant Weber conducted an inventory of the Charger pursuant to the County's policy because the vehicle was being towed. During the inventory, Sergeant Weber located a fully loaded handgun between the driver's seat and the door jam. Sergeant Weber also located the handgun that Defendant dropped from his waistband. The handgun was located in close proximity to the driver's side door of the Charger.

         A video recording from Sergeant Weber's police vehicle was played in open court. It began shortly before Sergeant Weber activated his lights and siren.

         Although it did not show the moment when Sergeant Weber first encountered Defendant allegedly coming toward him in his lane of traffic, it revealed that after Sergeant Weber activated his lights, Defendant briefly crossed the center line shortly before turning onto Liberty Street to speed away. The video further showed the Charger in the drainage ditch and Defendant's multiple attempts to flee on foot and resist arrest.

         Based upon questioning by defense counsel, Sergeant Weber testified that the full-screen version of the video, which was not shown in open court but was available to the Court and counsel, did not show the radar speed, only the speed of Sergeant Weber's police vehicle. The Court has viewed the full-screen version of the video. There is a section on the screen that lists “Radar” with three identifiers listed below, namely “Target, ” “Patrol” and “Lock.” At all times throughout the video, all three of these identifiers remained at “0 MPH.” This appears to support Sergeant Weber's testimony that the video did not capture the readings from his radar gun. There was no other evidence presented that Sergeant Weber's ...

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