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United States v. Dunn

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

November 30, 2017

United States of America, Plaintiff,
Kalil Wesley Dunn, Defendant.

          Thomas Calhoun-Lopez, United States Attorney's Office, counsel for plaintiff

          Robert M. Paule, Robert M. Paule, PA, counsel for defendant



         The defendant, Kalil Wesley Dunn, filed nine motions in this matter and the Court conducted a hearing on those motions on September 12, 2017. Min., ECF No. 27. The Court issued a brief order addressing six of the motions and took the remaining three motions under advisement. Ord., ECF No. 29. The Court now considers these outstanding motions.

         Mr. Dunn asks that this Court sever the first three counts from the remainder of the indictment. Def.'s Mot. for Severance, ECF No. 20. Mr. Dunn also challenges the seizure of evidence during two motor-vehicle searches as lacking legal basis. Def.'s Mot. to Suppress Evid., ECF No. 21. Finally, Mr. Dunn challenges “[a]ny and all statements, admissions and answers” he made to law enforcement on April 12, 2017 and June 20, 2017 “on the grounds that they are ‘fruit of the poisonous tree' following from the illegal search[es] of his motor vehicle and subsequent arrest[s].” Def.'s Mot. to Suppress Statements, ECF No. 22. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that all three motions be denied.


         The charges against Mr. Dunn arose out of two separate encounters between Mr. Dunn and law enforcement officers: one on April 12, 2017 and one on June 20, 2017.

         April 12, 2017

         On April 12, 2017, Minneapolis Police Officer Richard Knoche and his partner, Officer Schroeder, were on routine patrol when they received a call regarding a four-car accident in Minneapolis around 1:00 AM. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 13-15, ECF No. 32. A witness on the scene told Officer Schroeder that Mr. Dunn's Buick car ran into three parked cars before spinning to a stop, blocking and facing oncoming traffic. Id. at 16-17; see also Gov't Ex. 1 (depicting the scene upon the officers' arrival). Mr. Dunn was standing outside of his car upon the officers' arrival. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 27.

         Officer Schroeder instructed Officer Knoche to detain Mr. Dunn, with whom Officer Schroeder had had prior contacts. Id. at 23. Officer Knoche testified that Mr. Dunn was intoxicated, slurring his words, struggling to communicate, and swaying on his feet. Id. Though Officer Knoche activated his body camera during this interaction, it does not depict Mr. Dunn very clearly. See Gov't Ex. 6. To the extent that the footage does depict Mr. Dunn, it does not plainly support the allegation that Mr. Dunn was slurring his speech or struggling to communicate. See Id. Officer Knoche also testified that Mr. Dunn struggled to formulate sentences when the officer inquired about Mr. Dunn's potential need for medical care, but his body camera footage did not capture this interaction. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 28. Officer Knoche did not memorialize his observations as to Mr. Dunn's intoxication in the police report he prepared about the property damage. Id. at 27, 31. He determined that documenting his beliefs about Mr. Dunn's drunkenness was not necessary because he did not pursue any intoxication-related charges against Mr. Dunn. Id. at 31. Mr. Dunn denies that he was intoxicated, instead contending that he had fallen asleep while driving. Id. at 125-26.

         Because Mr. Dunn's car was blocking traffic and had sustained sufficient damage to seem unmovable, the officers decided to tow it pursuant to Minneapolis Police Department policy. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 17-18; see also Gov't Ex. 3 (Minneapolis Police Department Policy as to Vehicle Impounding and Towing). Mr. Dunn had already contacted a towing company to arrange a tow of his vehicle, but Minneapolis Police Department policy does not require police to inquire as to a driver's desire to make his own arrangements for vehicle removal prior to impoundment. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 43, 128; Gov't Ex. 3 at 7-701(D). Before impounding the car, the officers conducted an inventory search pursuant to department policy. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 18-19; Gov't Ex. 3 at 7-702. In that search, the officers recovered a Sig Sauer 9-millimeter handgun, a Kel-Tec .22 handgun with a laser sight, two bags of suspected crack cocaine, two digital scales, and two cell phones. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 19; Gov't Ex. 4.

         Minneapolis Police Officer Danielle Evans spoke with Mr. Dunn at Hennepin County Jail approximately eight hours after his arrest. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 46-47. Before interviewing Mr. Dunn, Officer Evans advised him of his rights and Mr. Dunn indicated his understanding. Id. at 49-50; see also Gov't Ex. 7. The entire interview was recorded. Gov't Ex. 7.

         June 20, 2017

         On June 20, 2017, Minneapolis Police Officer Donnell Crayton and his partner, Officer Kong Moua, were on routine patrol in their vehicle around 6:25 PM. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 54-55. Officer Crayton saw Mr. Dunn drive past him and his partner in a silver Toyota Scion car and make eye contact as he did so. Id. at 55-56. Officer Crayton recognized Mr. Dunn from previous encounters. Id. at 55. Officer Crayton believed that Mr. Dunn sped away from the officers after passing them. Id. at 57.

         The officers turned around to follow Mr. Dunn and had to speed to catch up with him. Id. at 57-58. Officer Crayton observed traffic violations of speeding and failure to properly indicate multiple turns, and testified that there were children playing in the neighborhood. Id. at 58-59, 80. After a few blocks of pursuit, the officer activated his lights as a result of Mr. Dunn's reckless driving and Mr. Dunn pulled over. Id. at 61-62, 80. Mr. Dunn parked the car, got out, and began walking away. Id. at 61-62. Officer Crayton instructed Mr. Dunn to stop, put his hands up, and walk toward the squad, but Mr. Dunn was “slow to follow those commands.” Id. at 62. Before following any commands, Mr. Dunn appeared to reach behind his back. Id. Given Mr. Dunn's lack of prompt cooperation, the possibility that he was armed, and the potential that he would flee, Officer Crayton detained him in handcuffs. Id. at 62, 84-85.

         After Mr. Dunn had pulled over and exited the vehicle, Officer Moua “walked up to the vehicle to make sure nobody else was inside.” Id. at 92. Though he did not see another person, Officer Moua “observed a plastic bag containing what appeared to be crack cocaine” with a lighter next to it through the driver's side window. Id.; see also Gov't Ex. 8. Based on his training and experience, Officer Moua recognized the crack cocaine through the window and retrieved the key for the car. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 93-95. He then initiated a search of the car and located what appeared to be a Glock pistol with a magazine and a magazine drum. Id. at 96-98; see also Gov't Exs. 9, 10, 12, 13. Although Officer Moua took photographs of the evidence found during the search, including the gun and the drugs, he did not take those photographs in the order in which the items were discovered. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 113-14. He agreed that he photographed and collected the weapon and ammunition first because “drugs didn't endanger anyone if [he] were to leave them there.” Id. at 114.

         Mr. Dunn was subsequently taken to Hennepin County Jail. Id. at 116. Minneapolis Police Officer Adam Lepinski and ATF Special Agent Bryan Lervoog interviewed Mr. Dunn at the Hennepin County Jail two days after his arrest. Id. at 115-16. The interview was recorded. Id. at 117; see also Gov't Ex. 15. Officer Lepinski began the interview by advising Mr. Dunn of his rights, and Mr. Dunn indicated that he understood. Mot. Hrg. Tr. at 117; Gov't Ex. 15.

         I. The ...

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