State of Ohio v. Jaonte D. Hairston, Case No. 2017-1505
Tenth District Court of Appeals (Franklin County)
ISSUE: When responding to very recent gunfire in an area known for criminal activity, is it reasonable for officers to draw their weapons and detain the only individual seen in the area?
Columbus police officers responded to a call about a domestic dispute near 9 p.m. on March 29, 2015. When the officers arrived, they heard gunshots they thought came from the west. They returned to their cruiser and drove about four-tenths of a mile in the direction of the sound. One of the officers said they traveled along a few residential streets for no more than a minute when they saw Jaonte Hairston. He was walking across a street talking on his cell phone.
Because Hairston was the only person they saw in the area, the officers exited their vehicle with their guns drawn and approached him. They asked Hairston if he heard the shots, and he replied that he had. Hairston was told to place his hands behind his back and asked whether he had any weapons, which he said he did in his jacket pocket. Police retrieved a pistol and arrested Hairston for carrying a concealed weapon.