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United States v. Jones

United States District Court, D. Oregon

April 29, 2015


For Plaintiff: S. Amanda Marshall, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, District of Oregon, Leah K. Bolstad, ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Portland, Oregon.

For Defendant: Christopher J. Schatz, ASSISTANT FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Portland, Oregon.

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Marco A. Hernandez, United States District Judge.

Defendant Geontae Jones moves to suppress all items of physical evidence seized on October 18, 2014 and any statements he made to law enforcement following his detention and arrest. This Court conducted an evidentiary hearing on April 1, 2015, and allowed post-hearing briefing which was completed on April 16, 2015. For the reasons explained herein, I grant the motion. As a result, I deny Defendant's remaining motions as moot.


On October 4, 2014, Portland Police Officer Charles Asheim, a member of the Portland Police Bureau's Gang Enforcement Team (GET), responded to a reported shooting in the vicinity of Thatcher's Bar, located at 7906 S.E. Stark Street in Portland. Employees of Thatcher's reported that there had been a disturbance inside the bar among people described as gang members. The disturbance spilled outside and the shots were fired shortly after that. Witnesses reported that shots were fired from a car. Casings were found across the street and northwest of Thatcher's, on Southeast 79th Avenue, north of Stark Street. In investigating the incident, Officer Asheim contacted multiple known gang associates and members in the area. He identified some of the gangs involved as Hoover Criminal, Kerby Bloc, and Rolling 60 Crips.

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Approximately two weeks later, on October 18, 2014, Shawn Czech, an employee of Thatcher's, called the police non-emergency line at approximately 1:56 a.m. reporting possible gang presence at Thatcher's. Gov't Ex. 2; Def. Exs. 215 at 1, 234 at 1-2. This initial report was of ten " gangster types," a few of whom were inside and a few of whom were outside. Id. There were no problems at the moment, but Czech requested a police " walk through" due to recent gang activity in the location. Id. At 2:01 a.m., Portland Police Officer Brian Lloyd was dispatched in response to the call. Gov't Ex. 2; Def. Ex. 215 at 1.

A few minutes later Czech called 911 to report that there was now a fight outside in front of the bar. Gov't Ex. 2; Def. Exs. 215 at 2, 234 at 3. She stated that there were fifteen to twenty people involved and that there was fist fighting but no weapons. Id.

When the 911 operator updated Officer Lloyd that there was now a fight in front of Thatcher's, Officer Brian Dale, a GET officer, reported over the radio that he just gotten off the phone with someone at Thatcher's who requested that a couple of cars be sent over because the caller believed there was going to be fight. Def. Exs. 215 at 2, 234 at 5-6. Dispatch stated that three cars were en route and the report now was of ten gang members fighting out front. Def. Exs. 215 at 2, 234 at 6. Officer Dale immediately clarified that the caller had said " they weren't actively fighting now but they went outside and [the caller] thought something was going to happen." Id.

Officer Lloyd testified that upon being dispatched, he drove towards Thatcher's. He first conducted an " area search" of the surrounding streets, driving in a circle around Thatcher's. The report showing his arrival on scene at 2:06:27 a.m., Gov't Ex. 2, reflects the time he arrived in the area, not specifically at Thatcher's. He could not recall if he saw people in the area but he testified that he saw no fighting in the surrounding streets. He then pulled up in front of Thatcher's and, while remaining in his patrol car, spoke to one individual for ten to twenty seconds. That person told Officer Lloyd that two SUVs had just left a " little bit ago" and that they were the ones involved in the fight. He testified that he was told the vehicles were a white Land Rover and a dark-colored large SUV. The person he spoke with implied, by pointing, that the SUVs had traveled eastbound on S.E. Washington Street.

It was clear that the fight was over and, as Officer Lloyd testified, everything at the bar was " good to go." While at Thatcher's, Officer Lloyd observed nothing troubling; everything was pretty calm at that time.

Officer Lloyd reported to dispatch that the fight was over, everyone had separated, and there were two subjects in a dark colored SUV. Def. Exs. 215 at 3, 234 at 6. He stated that everybody else, referring to other police officers, could clear. Id. Dispatch repeated the information that the fight was over and everyone could clear. Although Officer Lloyd testified that he relayed information of two SUVs heading eastbound on Washington Street, the dispatch recording and transcript show that he reported that there was only one SUV. Def. Exs. 215 at 3; 234 at 6-7. He also did not report the direction it was traveling. Id.

Officer Dewey Madison acknowledged the " clear" dispatch and reported that he was now back in service, meaning available to respond to another call. At that point, Officer Dale inquired if the " clear" was in regard to " our" call on Stark, to which dispatch responded yes and reported that Officer Lloyd was on scene and that the fight was over. Def. Exs. 215 at 3; 234 at 7.

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Officer Dale stated that he was going to continue to do an " area ...

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