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United States v. Muhammad

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
204 Fed.Appx. 236 (2006)


Facts

In Buffalo, New York, an anonymous individual called 911 late one evening to report that a black man in white attire was riding a bicycle and carrying a gun. The 911 dispatcher relayed the information to Officers Cruz and Langdon who drove their patrol car to the vicinity of the sighting and noticed the suspect. The officers activated the car’s spotlight and overhead lights and attempted to slow the bicyclist down. At that point, the suspect later identified as Abdul R. Muhammad (defendant), sped the bicycle up in an attempt to evade the officers. Eventually, Muhammad was boxed in when another patrol car cut off his path. The officers retrained Muhammad and ordered him to place his hands on the trunk of the patrol car. Officer Cruz then noticed a black gym bag strapped to Muhammad’s back. When asked what the bag contained, Muhammad responded that he had a baseball bat. However, knowing the area to be a high crime area and the absence of baseball fields, the officers were concerned that the bag might contain a gun or even a bat which could be used against them. Cruz conducted a pat down of the bag while Langdon patted down Muhammad. Cruz felt something like the muzzle of a gun and opened the bag and seized an assault rifle. Muhammad was charged possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Thereafter, Muhammad filed a motion to suppress the rifle on the ground that it was taken in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court denied Muhammad’s motion and he appealed. 

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