[T]he officers had an objectively reasonable and particularized suspicion that justified the investigative seizure to determine whether the occupants of the car were involved with the robbery.
State v. Parks
2020 – Ohio – 4524
Eleventh District Appellate Court
Lake County, Ohio
September 21, 2020
On Monday July 2, 2018, felon emeritus Mr. Jabrown Parks, while wearing a motorcycle helmet and carrying a red gasoline container filled with gasoline entered the Fifth Third Bank at 5831 Som Center Road, Willoughby carrying a can of gasoline.
Fifth Third Bank 5831 Som Center Road, Willoughby, Ohio
Mr. Jabrown Parks entered the Fifth Third Bank wearing a motorcycle helmet and carrying a gallon of gasoline.
He demanded money and doused the counter and the tellers with gasoline. Mr. Parks then threatened to set them ablaze unless they gave him money. He left in a white Honda Lexus. Police saw the car and a high chase ensued traveling in excess of 100 mph on Euclid Avenue. The Lexus lost the police but not before they obtained the license plate number. Why would a bank robber not remove a license plate prior to a bank robbery? Because he would not want the minor misdemeanor citation!
Willoughby Police Sergeant Derrick Stewart and Detective David Burrington utilized the license plate information and went to the residence listed for the registered owner of the car. Sgt. Stewart and Det. Burrington arrived at the residence approximately thirty minutes after the robbery. The owner was Mr. Parks’ brother, Anthony. The investigation would later determine that Mr. Anthony Parks was the getaway driver.
While staking out the residence, Sgt. Stewart and Det. Burrington saw a man, later determined to be Mr. Anthony Parks, arrive at the apartment, exit a car and was carrying a white Styrofoam cooler. Det Burrington testified that Mr. Anthony Parks did not match the description of the bank robber because the clothing did not match, and this person had a heavier build. He went into the house, and they continued to surveil the home.
Soon thereafter, Sgt. Stewart and Det. Burrington learned that the white Lexus was found burning in a residential neighborhood in South Euclid, Ohio, which is near Willoughby. Moments later, a car with dark tinted windows pulled in the driveway, and Mr. Jabrown Parks was the front seat passenger. Sgt. Stewart and Det. Burrington pulled up to it, drew their guns, and ordered the occupants to exit the vehicle. They used their guns because the robbery was violent in nature, and the officers were concerned for their safety since they could not see inside the car.
Apartment where Mr. Jabrown Parks was arrested.
Mr. Jabrown Parks got out of the front seat passenger’s side first. Ms. Ciara Smith was driving, and there were two small children in the car. This vehicle was also registered to Mr. Anthony Parks. Upon exiting, Mr. Jabrown Parks immediately apologized to Ms. Smith, stating he was sorry for getting her involved and asked her to say things to his family. Mr. Jabrown Parks then directed Ms. Smith to tell the police that she had picked him up from the recreation center, which Det. Burrington perceived as an attempt to establish an alibi.
Mr. Jabrown Parks would later claim that these statements he made without being questioned violated his Miranda rights. Neither the trial court or appellate court agreed with Mr. Parks. He was handcuffed and placed in a police vehicle.
Mr. Jabrown Parks filed a Motion to Suppress the initial detention stating that Sgt. Stewart and Det. Burrington did not have reasonable suspicion to detain him and that all evidence should be suppressed. The trial court denied his Motion to Suppress.
When asked why he assumed this second car was involved in the robbery, Det. Burrington replied: “Because we had real time information that [the white Lexus] was just burned out. And we thought that obviously they’re getting a ride from the scene.”
Following the failed Motion to Suppress Mr. Jabrown Parks was tried, convicted by a jury and sentenced to a total of 22 years in prison consisting of three consecutive sentences, including 11 years in prison for count one, aggravated burglary; eight years for count three, attempted aggravated arson; and 36 months for count four, tampering with evidence. He was ordered to serve five years post release control and pay restitution. Mr. Jabrown Parks was also deemed a violent offender and an arson offender.
Following his conviction, he appealed to the Eleventh District Appellate Court, once again focusing on the officers’ lack of reasonable suspicion to detain him when he exited the car driven by Ms. Smith. The court held “Based on the facts known to them, the officers had an objectively reasonable and particularized suspicion that justified the investigative seizure to determine whether the occupants of the car were involved with the robbery. Thus, Jabrown’s initial detention in the driveway for an investigatory stop was objectively reasonable since stopping the car to investigate the robbery soon after the car involved in the high-speed chase was found burning was what reasonable and prudent officers would do under the circumstances.”.
- Anthony Parks accepted an Alford Plea and was sentenced to five years in prison for his role as the getaway driver. He claimed he did not know that his brother Mr. Jabrown Parks was going to rob the bank when he exited his car donning a motorcycle helmet and full gallon of gasoline. Because who hasn’t dropped someone off at a bank from a car wearing a motorcycle helmet and gallon of gasoline?
- At the time of the bank robbery, Mr. Jabrown Parks was on federal probation. He had previously served fourteen years in federal prison for a bank robbery in Central Ohio in 2003. In that bank robbery his other brother, Mr. Lavelle Parks was his co-conspirator. The getaway driver in that armed robbery was killed when he struck another vehicle fleeing from law enforcement.
- The bank tellers were significantly impacted by this robbery. They were doused in gasoline and threatened to be set on fire by this felon emeritus. Afterwards the bank had to be shut down for professional cleaning and according the news article. Jabrown Parks was given the maximum sentence in this case. When he is released, he will have spent more of his life in prison than free.
Information for this article was obtained from State v. Parks, 2020 – Ohio – 4524 and multiple news stories.
- At the time Mr. Jabrown Parks emerged from the car with Ms. Smith, Sgt. Stewart and Det. Burrington had more than enough reasonable suspicion to stop and detain Mr. Parks. The threat of violence was significant in this case even though it excluded a firearm. There was no doubt that Mr. Jabrown Parks was immediately seized under the Fourth Amendment when the officers approached with their firearms pointed at him. These officers had to make quick decisions and there was no judge or attorney shouting out instructions. The officers must be commended for their surveillance and approach as Mr. Jabrown Parks arrived. The officers patiently waited for his arrival and then quickly detained him. These actions are nothing short of a Fourth Amendment symphony!
- The primary case that supported the detainment of Mr. Jabrown Parks is Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). That case originated out of a reasonable suspicion stop on October 31, 1963 by Cleveland Police Det. Martin McFadden. That stop occurred at 1120 Euclid Avenue. This is the same Euclid Avenue that Mr. Anthony Parks drove Mr. Jabrown Parks in the getaway and exceeded 100 mph. Euclid Avenue is quite the spot for reasonable suspicion.
Don’t fail your training.
Don’t let your training fail you!
Be safe, smart and Objectively Reasonable!