April 30, 2019
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
(CF2-9825-17) Hon. Kimberley Knowles, Trial Judge
Sharpe, with whom Mary Kennedy was on the brief, for
B. Snyder, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Jessie
K. Liu, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman and
Puja Bhatia, Assistant United States Attorneys, were on the
brief, for appellee.
Fisher, Thompson, and McLeese, Associate Judges.
McLeese, Associate Judge:
Royale McGlenn Sr. appeals from his convictions for firearms
offenses, arguing that the trial court erroneously denied his
motion to suppress evidence. We affirm.
in the light most favorable to the trial court's ruling,
the evidence at the suppression hearing was as follows. At
approximately 10:45 pm on June 5, 2017, Metropolitan Police
Department officers Sherwin Charles and Angela Galli
responded to a report of an assault in progress. When Officer
Charles arrived he saw Mr. McGlenn standing outside in front
of the location provided in the report. Mr. McGlenn, who
matched the description of the suspected assailant, was
sweating, not well-oriented, and confused. Officer Charles
smelled alcohol or PCP coming from Mr. McGlenn. Officer
Charles directed Mr. McGlenn to stop, so that Officer Charles
could investigate the reported assault. Mr. McGlenn did not
comply, so Officer Charles grabbed Mr. McGlenn. Mr. McGlenn
continued to resist, pulling out of his shirt. In Officer
Charles's experience, intoxicated individuals tend to be
aggressive and noncompliant. For that reason, and given Mr.
McGlenn's resistance, Officer Charles handcuffed Mr.
McGlenn, to safely detain him while officers investigated the
assault. Mr. McGlenn resisted being handcuffed. Officer
Charles also radioed for an ambulance to come and assess Mr.
McGlenn's medical condition. It is standard practice to
call an ambulance to evaluate individuals who are suspected
of being high on PCP, because such individuals can suddenly
become incredibly aggressive and very strong, and often hurt
Officer Galli arrived, she saw Officer Charles restraining
Mr. McGlenn. Officer Galli smelled PCP coming from Mr.
McGlenn's person. Mr. McGlenn "appeared to be high
on something" and was displaying disorientation and
"broken thought process." Officer Galli interviewed
Mr. McGlenn's mother, who had called the police. Mr.
McGlenn's mother explained that Mr. McGlenn had come into
her home and was yelling for his son, who was in bed. Mr.
McGlenn's mother concluded that Mr. McGlenn had been
smoking something, because he did not usually act the way he
was acting. Mr. McGlenn's mother was so frightened that
she ran to a neighbor's house and called the police. Mr.
McGlenn's mother indicated, however, that no actual
assault had occurred. Mr. McGlenn's mother told the
police that she wanted Mr. McGlenn to be treated because he
was under the influence of something.
Galli informed Officer Charles of her conversation with Mr.
McGlenn's mother. The officers decided not to arrest Mr.
McGlenn for assault, but they also decided not to release him
until an ambulance came to evaluate him, because he might be
a threat to himself or others if he were released. The
officers decided to leave Mr. McGlenn in handcuffs until the
ambulance arrived, to prevent him from leaving or hurting
himself or the officers. During the officers' encounter
with Mr. McGlenn, Mr. McGlenn was angry, irate, and upset;
was yelling; fumbled to remember information; slurred words;
was at one point incoherent; seemed to be "out of
it"; and frequently repeated himself. Once he was
handcuffed, however, Mr. McGlenn did not act aggressively
towards the officers or threaten them. Mr. McGlenn also was
able to answer a number of the officers' questions. At
one point, Mr. McGlenn stated that he did not remember having
seen his mother that evening.
ten minutes after the officers decided not to arrest Mr.
McGlenn, and while they were waiting for the ambulance to
arrive, Mr. McGlenn told the officers that he had a gun in
his pants. Officer Charles then recovered a gun from Mr.
McGlenn's pants. The officers arrested Mr. McGlenn for
possessing the gun. Before he was transported from the scene,
Mr. McGlenn was evaluated by medical personnel, who
determined that he did not need to go to the hospital.
trial court credited the officers' testimony, much of
which was corroborated by body-worn camera footage that had
been admitted into evidence at the suppression hearing. The
trial court determined that even after the assault
investigation was over, the officers could lawfully continue
to detain Mr. McGlenn until an ambulance came, "for his
safety and the safety of the community." Specifically,
the trial court relied upon the facts that Mr. McGlenn (1)
was sweating heavily and breathing hard; (2) appeared
disoriented; (3) was non-compliant to the point of pulling
out of his shirt; (4) was at one point incoherent; (5) was
slurring his speech; (6) did not seem to understand what was
going on, particularly at the beginning of the encounter; (7)
had behaved in ...