United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. TEETER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Robert Odsor Hampton III, who is charged with possession of a
firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person, moves to
suppress the ammunition found in his pocket and the gun found
in the vehicle in which he was riding. Although he concedes
the validity of the initial traffic stop, he contends law
enforcement violated his Fourth Amendment rights by
unlawfully extending the scope of the traffic stop and
unlawfully arresting him. Doc. 13. Because law enforcement
did not violate Mr. Hampton's Fourth Amendment rights,
the Court denies his motion.
approximately 10:45 p.m. on July 12, 2018, Topeka Police
Department (“TPD”) Officers Christian Harsha and
Joshua Fowler responded to the scene of a domestic complaint.
Upon their arrival, Officers Harsha and Fowler took
statements from Susan Dunn, who placed the 911 call, and the
alleged victim, Michelle Hodgson. Ms. Hodgson stated that her
ex-boyfriend, Mr. Hampton, had attempted to run her over in a
car and had also pointed a gun at her. She identified the
vehicle involved as a black Dodge Charger with a police-style
spotlight on the driver side door. Ms. Dunn's statement
was consistent with Ms. Hodgson's account of the
incident. After taking the statements-and performing a
database search that revealed Mr. Hampton's prior booking
photos and criminal history-Officer Harsha cleared the call
at approximately 11:35 p.m.
one minute later and three miles from the reported assault,
TPD Officer Brady Qualls-unaware of the allegations made by
Ms. Hodgson and Ms. Dunn-stopped a black Dodge Charger for
expired registration. Like the vehicle allegedly involved in
the earlier domestic assault, the car stopped by Officer
Qualls had a police-style spotlight on the driver side door.
Officer Qualls approached the vehicle and asked the two
occupants for identification. The driver did not have a
driver's license and instead produced a Hawaiian
identification card bearing the name Betsy Droge. The
passenger in the vehicle-a male sitting in the front
passenger seat-stated he did not have any identification.
Officer Qualls asked for his name and date of birth, and the
passenger provided the name “Joshua Haggerty” and
a corresponding birthdate. Officer Qualls also explained the
reason for the stop and asked Ms. Droge if she was the owner
of the car. She responded that she was not and that the car
belonged to her mother, who had recently passed away.
Officer Harsha, who had just finished clearing the earlier
assault call, heard over the radio that Officer Qualls had
stopped a black Charger. Officer Harsha promptly radioed TPD
Officer Christopher Janes-who had responded to the scene of
the stop to back up Officer Qualls-to inquire whether the
vehicle had a police-style spotlight. Officer Janes replied
that it did. Noting it was unusual for a civilian car to have
a police-style spotlight-and given that the car stopped by
Officer Qualls was identical in make, model, and color to the
car involved in the alleged assault and was also stopped
close in both proximity and time-Officer Harsha warned
Officer Janes that the occupant could be armed and then
headed toward the scene of the stop.
finishing the radio conversation with Officer Harsha, Officer
Janes approached the Charger, where Officer Qualls was still
standing at the driver side window. Officer Janes walked
toward the passenger side window and asked the passenger for
his name and identification. Again, the man identified
himself as Joshua Haggerty. The passenger was sweating
profusely, breathing heavily, and avoiding eye contact,
which, based on Officer Janes's training, indicated that
he might attack or attempt to flee. Given this behavior and
his conversation with Officer Harsha, Officer Janes signaled
to Officer Qualls that the man could be armed. Officer Qualls
then returned to his patrol car to run a warrant search on
Ms. Droge and the passenger while Officer Janes remained at
the passenger side window of the Charger.
point, Officer Harsha arrived on the scene and approached
Officer Qualls. Officer Harsha told Officer Qualls he thought
the male passenger could be the suspect in the earlier
domestic assault. Officer Harsha then asked Officer Qualls to
pull the Social Security number for Joshua Haggerty and,
after acquiring the number, approached the passenger side
window and asked the man for the last four digits of his
Social Security number. After the passenger responded that he
did not remember the numbers, Officer Harsha-who now felt
certain the man was lying about his identity-asked him to
step out of the vehicle. As Officer Harsha reached through
the car window to unlock the passenger door, however, he
noticed the passenger reach toward his waistband. Unsure if
he was reaching for a weapon or attempting to unbuckle his
seatbelt, Officer Harsha instructed the man not to reach for
anything and then reached in to help him undo the seatbelt.
With Officer Janes's help, Officer Harsha assisted the
passenger from the vehicle and, at this point, Officer Harsha
immediately recognized him as the suspect from the earlier
assault- Mr. Hampton.
Harsha attempted to place Mr. Hampton's hands behind his
back to handcuff him, but Mr. Hampton resisted. With the
assistance of the other officers on the scene, Officer Harsha
pushed Mr. Hampton against an adjacent wall and successfully
secured him. While Officer Harsha looked on, Officer Janes
searched Mr. Hampton's person. During the search, Officer
Janes noticed that Mr. Hampton was wearing an empty holster
and, in Mr. Hampton's pockets, Officer Janes found four
handgun magazines. Both Officers Harsha and Janes testified
that the presence of the holster-without a gun-indicated
there could be a gun at the scene.
Harsha subsequently walked to the driver side window to speak
with Ms. Droge. At this point, Mr. Hampton-who was still
standing with Officers Qualls, Janes, and Fowler- broke free
and dove headfirst into the Charger's open passenger
door, yelling at Ms. Droge (who was still sitting in the
driver's seat) to accelerate. Officer Harsha testified
that, as Mr. Hampton dove into the car, he witnessed him
again reach toward the vehicle's center console. At this
point, Officer Harsha was confident the missing gun was
located in the center console and feared that, were Mr.
Hampton to access that area, the officers on the scene could
be at risk.
control of Mr. Hampton, Officer Janes deployed a two-second
burst of OC spray into Mr. Hampton's eyes. Officer Janes
was then able to pull Mr. Hampton out of the vehicle and
restrain him. Once Mr. Hampton was secure, Officer Harsha
searched the vehicle. Officer Harsha first checked the glove
box. Officer Harsha next searched the center console, where
he found a black Taurus, model 1911, .45 caliber pistol.
Officer Harsha also ran a warrant search for Mr. Hampton and
discovered he had two felony warrants. A warrant search was
also conducted for Ms. Droge, revealing she likewise had an
outstanding warrant and did not have a valid Kansas
driver's license. That warrant check was completed at
approximately 11:52 p.m. The vehicle was subsequently seized
on the evidence collected, a grand jury indicted Mr. Hampton
on September 19, 2018, for possession of a firearm and
ammunition by a prohibited person in violation of 18 U.S.C.
§§ 922(g)(1) and 924(a)(2). Doc. 1. Mr. Hampton
subsequently moved to suppress the gun and ammunition. Doc.
Fourth Amendment guarantees “[t]he right of the people
to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures.” U.S.
Const. amend. IV; see also Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S.
643, 655-56 (1961) (incorporating the Fourth Amendment's
protections against the states through the Fourteenth
Amendment). Evidence obtained in violation of these rights is