Hudson, Meadows, and Gaston v. Hall (2000)
Officer Hall’s story
On or about May 26, 1995, Officer Hall was working a routine traffic patrol when he observed a vehicle perform a right turn onto Tara Boulevard without using a turn signal. Officer Hall followed the vehicle, and, soon thereafter, he executed a traffic stop upon the vehicle for turning without signaling.
Officer Hall exited his vehicle and approached the vehicle occupied by s. Officer Hall asked Hudson, the driver of the vehicle, for his driver' license and insurance. Hudson cooperated. Officer Hall returned the documents to Hudson and asked him to exit his vehicle. Hudson exited his car, and Officer Hall directed him to the rear of Hudson' vehicle. For officer safety purposes, Officer Hall desired to conduct his stop of Hudson with outside his car, away from the two other passengers in the vehicle.
At the rear of Hudson' car, Officer Hall advised Hudson why he was stopped. Officer Hall issued Hudson a verbal warning regarding the use of a turn signal and told Hudson he was free to go. Before Hudson departed, Officer Hall asked him if he would remain on the scene momentarily to answer a few more questions. Hudson agreed. *4 Officer Hall asked Hudson if he could search his vehicle and person for drugs and weapons. See Hudson Discovery Responses, Hudson consented to Officer Hall' request.
Officer Hall performed a quick search of Hudson. He then searched the driver' seat area of Hudson' vehicle. After searching the driver' area of the vehicle, Officer Hall asked the passengers, Meadows and Gaston, to exit the vehicle. Officer Hall asked s Meadows and Gaston if they possessed any drugs or weapons, and they told him they did not. Officer Hall asked them if they would consent to a search of their persons. Gaston consented to Hall' request. After some further discussion with Meadows, he, too, consented to a search by Officer Hall. Officer Hall searched and then completed his search of the vehicle.
Officer Hall did not find any evidence of illegal activity.
As Officer Hall was returning to his patrol car, another vehicle pulled up and stopped behind Officer Hall' car. Gary Hudson, Hudson' father, exited the vehicle and asked Officer Hall what was taking place. Officer Hall advised Gary Hudson of the situation. Gary Hudson told Officer Hall to keep up the good work. At that point, all parties departed the scene.
During the entire exchange between Officer Hall, and Gary Hudson, Officer Hall did not yell at anyone. Officer Hall did not handcuff or threaten to handcuff any of the young men. Officer Hall did not physically intimidate or abuse any of them. Officer Hall even provided his business card to Meadows when he asked for it.
Hudson, Meadows, and Gaston’s story
On May 26, 1995, late in the afternoon, Garret Hudson, Shedrick Gaston and T. Sherrod Meadows exited a private roadway at a gas station/convenience store in Hudson's vehicle and turned right onto Tara Boulevard. Hudson was driving a 1988 Cadillac Sedan Deville. Officer Hall pulled the vehicle over on the basis of him not using a turn signal when making a turn from a private roadway onto a public highway.
Hall came up to the car. He did not ask for his license but asked for his insurance card. Hudson asked him why he had been stopped and Hall told him it was because he did not put on his turn signal when he turned onto 1941 [Tara Boulevard]. In the position Hall's police vehicle was sitting, it would not have been possible for him to ascertain whether or not Hudson used a turn signal when coming out of the gas station/convenience score turning onto Tara Boulevard.
*4 Hudson gave Hall his insurance card. Hall then asked Hudson to get out of the car and come to the back. Sherrod Meadows and Shedrick Gaston were passengers in Meadows vehicle. Hudson walked to the back of his vehicle and again asked Hall why he pulled him over. Hall did not respond to the question and immediately patted him down and searched him. Hudson was wearing shorts and a “T�? shirt. Hall patted him down, made him lift his shirt, went into the pockets of his shorts, opened his shorts and looked down into them, looked down his underwear, and then turned him around and looked in the back. Hall never asked him if he could search him, and after he searched him he asked Hudson if he could search his vehicle.
Hudson was nervous and scared. At the time Hall asked for consent to search the vehicle Hudson felt he was not free to go and thought Hall was going to take him to jail. When Meadows consented to the search of his vehicle he felt he had no choice but to let him search the vehicle. From the time Hall stopped Hudson's vehicle, until the time Hall told him he was free to go, there was no time during that period of time that he felt like he was free to go.
*5 Hall then asked Gaston and Meadows to exit the vehicle. Hall then had Gaston put his hands on top of the vehicle and patted him down and went through his pockets. Prior to Hall patting Gaston down and searching him, he did not ask for consent to search. At no time, from the time they were pulled over until the time they were released did Gaston feel he was free to walk away based on Hall's conduct.
Hall then came around the car and got Meadows out of the car and asked Meadows if he could search him. Meadows said “no�?. Hall then said “if you don't want to be searched start walking�?. Meadows wasn't about to walk down 1941 because its a long way from his house so he consented. Hall then told Meadows to put his hands on top of the car and searched him. Hall pulled some money out of Meadows pockets and said, “What's this, dope money�?? Meadows responded that he works just like he does and asked Hall whether he can't have a job. Hall told him that if he wanted to be a smart ass he could leave walking. Then, Hall pulled his pants up and looked down his pants and patted him down. Meadows had on swimming trunk type shorts and a “T�? shirt and tennis shoes. At no time during the stop did *6 Meadows feel that he was free to go.
Then Hall went around to the passenger side, searched the back of the vehicle and front of the vehicle and opened the dash and searched it. When Hudson's father pulled up Hall told Hudson, Meadows and Gaston to get in their car and leave.
After this incident Hall followed Hudson on two occasions. On one occasion Hall would pull up behind him on his bumper and Meadows would speed up and come back up on his bumper. Hall would come so close to his bumper that you would not have been able to walk between the cars. It scared him to death. On another occasion Hall got behind him and followed him through a neighborhood to his house. Hudson and his passenger exited their vehicle and Hall just sat across the street watching them until they went into the house. Hall did not give him a verbal or written warning for failure to use a turn signal.