Wednesday, September 03, 2014

U.S. v. Edwards (9th Cir. - July 31, 2014)

The Ninth Circuit's application of precedent in this case seems right.  When you've got a 911 call of shots being fired, and respond to the scene five minutes later and see a guy who tends to match the description of the shooter, I can't fault the panel for holding (as it does) that you're allowed to stop the guy.

I'll just add, however, that if four cops are allowed -- as the Ninth Circuit holds -- to draw their guns and order to the ground any black male between the ages of 17 and 26, and around 5'7 or 5'9, wearing a black shirt and grey pants they happen to spy in Inglewood; well, let's just say that'll result in a non-trivial number of innocent people being held at gunpoint.

Especially when, as here, the relevant black male is described as 19 or 20 years old, and the guy you take to the ground at gunpoint is 26.  And he's 5'11 instead of "between 5'7 and 5'9".

But close enough for government work, apparently.  And the dude ended up being a felon who had a gun.  So it's all good.

According to the Ninth Circuit, anyway.