United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Rebecca Grady Jennings, District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant, Antonio Jones'
(“Jones”), Motion to Suppress Vehicle Search and
Statements (“Motion”). [DE 17]. The Court held a
suppression hearing. [DE 22]. This matter is now ripe [DE 26;
DE 27]. For the reasons below, the Court DENIES the Motion
early morning of January 11, 2019 Officer Sholar of the
Louisville Metro Police observed Antonio Jones'
“vehicle idling on the side of the road right in front
of 2407 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.” [DE 24 at
54:23-24]. Officer Sholar saw Jones pull “off without
using a turn signal pulling into a lane of traffic.”
Id. at 55:5-6. Officer Sholar initiated a traffic
stop of the vehicle. Id. at 55:11. But, instead of
stopping immediately, the vehicle “pull[ed] all the way
over to the far left lane without using a signal and then
[came] to a stop.” Id. at 55:18-20.
Sholar testified that he stopped Jones' vehicle for three
reasons: 1) Jones did not use a turn signal when pulling into
a lane of traffic from a parked position on the curb; 2) the
rear license plate of Jones' car was not illuminated; and
3) there was a “sticker in the rear windshield.”
Id. at 55:5-9.
Norton and Officer Blackman arrived on scene a few seconds
later. All three officers then converged on the vehicle:
Officer Sholar walked to the driver's side; Officer
Norton and Officer Blackman walked to the passenger's
side. [Norton Body Camera, 00:49-00:55]. Officer Blackman
crept towards the car with his hand on his gun. Id.
at 00:57-1:15. Officer Sholar asked Jones if he had
“any guns or drugs in the car.” Id. at
1:22-1:25. Jones responded that he was on his way to work at
Spinelli's. Id. His co-worker, Joy, was also in
the car with him. [DE 24 at 95:1].
Sholar told Jones that he smelled “weed smoke in the
back [of the car].” [Sholar Body Camera, 00:29-00:32].
Jones said he was not smoking marijuana and that there was no
marijuana in the car. Id. at 00:44-00:50. Based on
the smell of marijuana, Officer Sholar instructed Jones to
exit the vehicle. Id. at 00:58. Officer Sholar
testified that “as [he] . . . pull[ed] the door open,
” Jones “grab[ed] it and pull[ed] it shut.”
[DE 24 56:3]. Officer Sholar then “pulled the door back
open, ” removed Jones by force, and handcuffed him.
Id. at 56:3-4.
Sholar then began searching the car. While he was searching
it, the officers asked Jones and Joy to stand by the back
bumper of Jones' car. [Blackmun Body Camera, 4:43]. They
were first guarded by Officer Blackman. Id. at 4:14.
While Officer Blackman was guarding them, Blackman and Jones
discussed why the officers stopped Jones' car:
Jones: Why would you all even pull me . . . you said my rear
license plate isn't ‘lluminated. Look at that shit.
That motherfucker is ‘lluminated.
Blackman: Ok, you also didn't use your turn signal when
you pulled off.
Jones: Ah man, I didn't have to pull off with no turn
Blackman: And you are not allowed, you are not allowed to
have that sticker right there.
. . .
Jones: Use my turn signal to pull out onto a road? There was
Blackman: Ok. It doesn't matter if there is traffic or
not. You still have to use your turn signal.
Jones: You right. I'm sorry. I'm wrong for not using
my turn signal . . . to pull out on a road with no traffic
on, man . . . That's crazy Blackman, man. That's all
it is, bro. That's it. You got everything.
Id. at 07:00-07:12; 7:50-08:15 (emphasis added)
Sholar found a handgun and pills in Jones' car. [Sholar
Body Camera, 03:20; 5:45]. Officer Blackman then walked to
his car, [Blackman Body Camera, 9:44], Officer Norton took
over guard duties [Norton Body Camera, 9:40], and Officer
Sholar continued to search the car. [Sholar Body Camera,
Officer Norton was guarding Jones, he and Jones quarreled.
They disagreed about whether: 1) Officer Norton should tell
Jones his name (Norton declined, but Jones eventually was
able read it on his uniform); 2) Jones should be allowed to
pick a penny off the ground for “bond money”; 3)
the police should tow Jones' car; 4) the police were
justified in stopping Jones' car and pulling him out of
it (Officer Norton told Jones that, under Pennsylvania v.
Mimms, the police can “ask the driver to step out
of the vehicle for any reason” and then asked Jones if
he went to law school); and 5) Officer Norton should be a
“people person” with a good attitude. [Norton
Body Camera, 09:55-15:10].
pause in their argument, Officer Norton read Jones his
Miranda rights. Id. at 14:16-14:35. Officer Norton