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Name: People v. Turner
Case #: H037925
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/28/2013

Police were justified in detaining at gunpoint man who reportedly threatened a coach at a high school football game and who was allegedly armed. Turner attended a football game at his son’s high school. He became angry at coach Stewart, using profanity and threatening to “see him after the game.” Coach Ward informed an off-duty probation officer, who was providing security at the game, of the threat. Further, Ward said he learned from his aunt, who was told by Turner’s acquaintance, that Turner was carrying a gun. Police were called, Turner was detained, handcuffed, and frisked at gunpoint; a loaded gun was found. After his motion to suppress evidence was denied, Turner pled no contest to possessing a gun in a school zone (Pen. Code, § 626.9, subd. (b)). He appealed. Held: Affirmed. In Florida v. J.L. (2000) 529 U.S. 266, the court found an anonymous tip that there was a Black male wearing a plaid shirt at a bus stop who was armed, could not support an investigative stop. Here, there were sufficient articulable facts to support a reasonable suspicion Turner was armed. The original tipster, Ward, was known, even though the ultimate source of the information that Turner had a gun was not disclosed. The tip concerned a named individual who had threatened a coach on school grounds in crowded conditions. When police saw Turner, he broke away from his associates and headed off campus. The circumstances known to officers posed a grave risk to the public. Thus, here, there was significantly more evidence than “the bare report” of a possible gun possession in J.L.

Police did not de facto arrest Turner. Turner claimed his handcuffing at gunpoint during the detention constituted a de facto arrest without probable cause. However, while handcuffing is one factor that increases the intrusiveness of a detention, it does not necessarily result in a de facto arrest. Here, Turner was suspected of a felony—possessing a gun on school grounds. He threatened a coach and stated his intent to carry out the threat after the game. These circumstances justified the officers’ brief detention of Turner at gunpoint and handcuffing him in order to safely determine whether he was armed.