United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Search and Seizure — pat-down searches
Where police were investigating shots fired, and one member of the group behaved evasively, officers had reasonable suspicion to frisk him. “Winkle testified that in his experience, when a suspect exhibits a ‘flight or fight response’ to a police presence, it usually means that the suspect has a weapon or is wanted on a high-bond warrant for a serious offense. Because the reasonable suspicion standard is an objective one, Winkle’s subjective interpretation of Patton’s behavior does not control our own assessment of whether the circumstances confronting Winkle supported the pat-down. Nonetheless, the inferences that an experienced officer like Winkle draws from an individual’s behavior do inform our assessment of what a reasonable person in Winkle’s position would think about the likelihood that the suspect poses a danger to him. See United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 273-74, 122 S. Ct. 744, 750-51 (2002). Winkle’s belief, based on his years in the field, that the possession of a gun was a plausible explanation for Patton’s nervous and evasive behavior strikes us as reasonable, and we agree with the district court that the way in which Patton backed away from the officers and the other suspects gave rise to a reasonable suspicion that he might be armed.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Mihm, J., Rovner, J.