United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
C. Mullen United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants City of Charlotte
and Chief Rodney Monroe's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. No. 31), Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in
Opposition (Doc. No. 39), and Defendants filed a Reply brief
(Doc. No. 44).
case arises from an encounter between Charlotte Mecklenburg
Police officers (“CMPD”) and the Plaintiffs in
the parking lot of the Rodeway Inn motel located at 3601
Brookshire Blvd in Charlotte. On April 14, 2015, at roughly
10:30 p.m., Mr. Barideaux and Mr. Harris arrived at the
Rodeway Inn located on Brookshire Boulevard. Once parked, Mr.
Darryl Moffett entered the vehicle to let Mr. Barideaux and
Mr. Harris listen and talk about music tracks.
owner of the Rodeway Inn allowed CMPD officers regular access
to the property and officers patrolled the property at least
three times each day. The Rodeway Inn also maintained
conspicuous signage stating that individuals not registered
with the motel were not allowed on the property.
performed his zone check at the Rodeway Inn, Officer Wallin
observed a dark colored Toyota Camry in the rear parking lot
that was backed into a parking space with the lights on and
the engine running. He drove past the vehicle and observed
to and as he was approaching the driver's side of the
car, he noticed the three occupants making movements in the
car and their hands going towards the floorboards and sides.
Officer Wallin could smell the odor of marijuana as he
approached the vehicle. He walked around the vehicle and
approached the driver's side front window to talk with
the occupants. With the window down, Officer Wallin could
tell that the odor of marijuana was coming from inside the
car. Plaintiff Jeramie Barideaux was the driver of the Camry,
Plaintiff Jonathan Harris was the front seat passenger and
Darryl Moffett was in the rear driver's side passenger
Wallin asked the driver for his license and registration and
asked the occupants for their licenses. While at the
driver's window, Officer Wallin requested backup at the
scene because of the odor of marijuana and because he was a
single officer with three vehicle occupants.
Bodenstein heard the radio transmission from Officer Wallin
requesting that another unit assist him at the Rodeway Inn
with an “occupied suspicious vehicle” and
responded to the request for assistance. As Officer
Bodenstein arrived, Officer Wallin walked back to his car to
run the licenses and check for outstanding warrants. He found
that Mr. Moffett has several warrants for his arrest.
Sergeant Gorrod arrived at the scene soon after Officer
Bodenstein. Sergeant Gorrod and Officer Bodenstein both
smelled marijuana when they approached the car.
Wallin approached Mr. Barideaux and asked him to step out of
the vehicle so he could speak with him. Once he stepped out
of the vehicle, Officer Wallin asked Mr. Barideaux if he had
anything in the car such as drugs, knives, or guns. Mr.
Barideaux said he did not. Officer Wallin asked Mr. Barideaux
for his consent to the search his vehicle. Mr. Barideaux said
there was nothing in the car and did not consent to the
search. Officer Wallin then told Mr. Barideaux that because
he smelled the odor of marijuana, he had probable cause to
search the vehicle. Mr. Barideaux then put his hands up and
allowed Officer Wallin to search his person. Officer Wallin
did not find anything in the search of Mr. Barideaux.
Officer Wallin walked to the front passenger side where Mr.
Harris was seated in the vehicle and where Officer Bodenstein
was standing. He asked Officer Bodenstein whether he smelled
anything and Officer Bodenstein responded in the affirmative.
Officer Wallin asked Mr. Harris to step out of the vehicle
and asked Mr. Harris if he had anything on him. Mr. Harris
said that he had a knife and raised his hands. Officer Wallin
removed the knife and placed it on the hood of the vehicle
and then he conducted a person search of Mr. Harris just like
he conducted on Mr. Barideaux. Officer Wallin did not find
anything else on Mr. Harris.
his search of Mr. Harris, Officer Wallin saw that Sergeant
Gorrod had placed marijuana on the roof the car. Officer
Wallin learned that Mr. Moffett gave a baggie containing
approximately seven grams of marijuana to Sergeant Gorrod.
Officer Wallin got Mr. Moffett out of the vehicle and, based
on both probable cause and consent, started searching him,
finding a small baggie with a white powdered substance. Mr.
Moffett told the officers that the bag's content was
Molly (i.e. methylenedioxymethamphetamine). Officer Wallin
placed Mr. Moffett in handcuffs while he completed the
search. Officer Wallin then placed Mr. Moffett in the back
seat of his patrol vehicle and activated his DMVR.
Wallin returned to the Plaintiffs' vehicle and started
searching it, starting in the back seat where Mr. Moffett was
sitting. Officer Wallin found a small digital scale in
between the seats on a little hump between the floor boards
and found marijuana that had been broken up all over the
floorboard. After searching the vehicle, Officer Wallin
talked to Mr. Moffett. The DMVR audio from Officer
Wallin's vehicle shows that after Mr. Moffett was advised
of his rights, he acknowledged that he had the marijuana in a
ball; that he began breaking it up when Officer Wallin
arrived; and that's why there was marijuana on the floor
of the car. (Wallin DMVR, 23:27:04-23:27:19, 23:36:20). Mr.
Moffett also acknowledged that the scale and Molly were his,
and that he had given Officer Wallin the wrong name when he
was asked for his identification. During his deposition, Mr.
Moffett confirmed that he had the marijuana, the
“Molly” and a drug scale in his pockets and a
beer in his hands as he walked to Mr. Barideaux's car
from the motel room. Mr. Moffett also acknowledged that he
had been smoking marijuana “all day.”
point, after the drugs and scale were discovered, Mr.
Barideaux and Mr. Harris were standing in front of Officer
Bodenstein's vehicle. Officer Wallin asked Officer
Bodenstein and Sergeant Gorrod to conduct secondary searches
of Mr. Barideaux and Mr. Harris. Wallin asked for these
back-up searches because he suspected a drug transaction
involving the Plaintiffs and Mr. Moffett. Officer
Wallin's belief was based on the discovery of the
marijuana, Molly and drug scale; the time of night and the