United States v. Brown

Acting on an anonymous tip that a black man has been seen carrying a firearm—totally legal in Washington state—Seattle police make contact with a black man. Seeing the cop cars and patrol lights, the man runs, is seized, and is found to possess a gun, drugs, and cash. All of which should have been suppressed, says the Ninth Circuit. An anonymous tip about presumptively lawful activity does little to support the suspicion needed for the stop. Nor does the fact that the man fled. Particularly given “racial disparities in policing,” many innocent minorities may reasonably be disinclined to interact with law enforcement; in fact, the Seattle Police Department itself is subject to a federal consent decree focusing on eliminating constitutional violations. Concurrence: But just to be clear, there’s no evidence that this particular stop “fits into a longer history of Seattle law enforcement engaging in racially discriminatory policing.”

Tags: 2019, Firearms, Ninth Circuit, Police

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