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Two Men Face Resisting Arrest, Drug Charges Following Traffic Stop in Clarion Borough

Wednesday, June 6, 2018 @ 12:06 AM

Posted by Aly Delp

police-new-12CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Two men are facing resisting arrest and drug-related charges during a traffic stop in Clarion Borough last month.

Court documents indicate the Clarion Borough Police Department filed criminal charges against 23-year-old Jovante Alexander Seard, of Hyattsville, MA, and 23-year-old Khalil Reuel Webster, of Miami Gardens, FL.

According to a criminal complaint, around 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, Officers Fox and Maxwell were in a marked police cruiser on patrol traveling west on Merle Road near 6th Avenue when they witnessed a blue Infiniti sedan with a Florida registration fail to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, and then fail to use a turn signal before making a right turn onto South 6th Avenue from Merle Road.

Officer Fox then initiated the cruiser’s lights and siren to conduct a traffic stop.

According to the complaint, a man later identified as Jovante Alexander Seard, got out of the driver’s seat and began to walk away from the vehicle.

Officer Maxwell told Seard to stop walking and get back in the vehicle, and Seard complied.

Officer Fox then approached the driver’s side door, introduced himself, and explained that he initiated the traffic stop because of the failure to stop at the stop sign and the failure to utilize a turn signal.

According to the complaint, Seard said, “That is [expletive deleted], you guys have been following us since we left the party at Frampton Street.”

Officer Fox told Seard he did not know they were at a party on Frampton Street, and he stopped them because he observed two traffic violations.

Seard handed over his Maryland license and a Florida registration card for the vehicle. When questioned about the vehicle, Seard said, “It’s his vehicle,” and pointed to the front seat passenger, later identified as Khalil Reuel Webster. Webster explained that the vehicle belonged to him but was registered in his mother’s name.

According to the complaint, Officer Fox noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and asked Seard if there was anything illegal in the vehicle. Seard said there was not. When Officer Fox questioned Seard about the odor of marijuana, Seard replied that they had just come from a party where people were smoking weed, so the smell was probably on their clothing.

Officer Fox then advised Seard that he was going to conduct a search of the vehicle.

According to the complaint, Seard stated that the officers could not “just go around searching people’s vehicle for no reason,” and Officer Fox explained that the odor of marijuana provided probable cause to perform a warrantless search on the vehicle.

The complaint states that Seard demanded to know what law gave police the right to conduct a warrantless search, and Officer Fox advised Seard of the case law and told him to research it later. Seard said he wanted to research it immediately because he believed there was a nationwide law that prohibited police from searching vehicles.

Officer Fox explained that Seard was wrong and said he could exit the vehicle first for a pat down of his person for weapons, and then the other two passengers could exit to be patted down, but Seard said, “we are not exiting this vehicle until I know for certain that you are not lying to me, officer,” and went on to say he would step out of the vehicle once Webster’s mother, who was currently on the phone with Webster, researched the law and told them what to do.

Officer Fox told Seard it did not matter what Webster’s mother said, he needed to step out of the vehicle so a search could be conducted.

According to the complaint, Officer Fox went to open the driver’s side door of the vehicle, but Seard hit the lock button, locking all of the doors, and stated that the officers did not have the right to open the door and get him out of the vehicle.

Officer Fox told Seard he was “making something huge out of nothing” and needed to stop.

At that time, due to the location of the traffic stop, a crowd began to grow on the sidewalk in front of a local bar.

According to the complaint, Seard stated that he would not let anyone search the vehicle and no one was getting out of the vehicle, so the officers should just give him his traffic ticket and let him go on his way because he could not be “illegally detained.”

Officer Fox explained that the situation was no longer a normal traffic stop for a minor traffic violation and that he, Webster, and the other passenger were being detained on an investigatory detention.

According to the complaint, Seard replied, “Fine, I have all night to sit here, officer.”

Upon being asked why he would not exit the vehicle, Seard said he was afraid to exit because of what the officers might do to him. Seard said he was afraid for his life and felt safer inside the vehicle, and reiterated that the smell of marijuana was on their clothing, and they did not have anything in the vehicle.

According to the complaint, at that time Officer Sheckler approached the driver’s side window and told Seard he needed to open the car door and exit the vehicle, and Seard again refused and stated that he was afraid to do so.

Officer Sheckler asked what he had to be afraid of with so many people out watching and recording on their cell phones, but Seard continued to refuse to exit the vehicle.

The complaint states that Officer Sheckler then reached inside the window to try to open the door from the inside, but Seard raised the window three-fourths of the way closed. Officer Sheckler told Seard to put the window back down, but Seard refused and said he was afraid. Seard then asked Officer Sheckler to leave and said he would continue to talk to Officer Fox, who did not scare him as much.

Officer Sheckler then contacted Clarion 9-1-1 to dispatch the Clarion University Police and the Clarion-based State police for back-up and to assist with crowd control because the crowd had continued to grow.

Officer Fox again asked Seard to exit the vehicle and explained that he was obstructing and resisting at that point.

According to the complaint, Seard said he would not listen to Officer Fox, and he was going to listen to Webster’s mother because he has known her for a long time, and Officer Fox was a stranger to him.

At that time, Clarion University Police Officers Ragley and McDevitt arrived at the scene along with Pennsylvania State Police Troopers Gezik and Norris.

Officer Fox then gave Seard a final warning, explaining that if he did not exit the vehicle, the officers would smash out his driver’s side window and open the driver’s side door for him and escort him out of the vehicle.

At that time, Seard began opening the vehicle to exit. Webster also began to exit the vehicle when a bag of marijuana fell from his pant leg along with a gold-colored tube containing several buds of marijuana.

Officer Maxwell placed Webster in handcuffs and performed a search for weapons on his person.

Seard exited the vehicle, and Officer Fox instructed him to put his hands behind his head for a pat down for weapons on his person. After the search, Officer Fox handed Seard over to Officer O’Neil.

Due to the circumstances of the prolonged nature of the traffic stop, a search inside the vehicle was not immediately conducted. According to the complaint, the street had become packed with bystanders on the sidewalk who recently left the local bars, and the crowd was getting unruly and hostile.

For officer safety reasons, Officer Sheckler contacted Clarion 9-1-1 to have the blue Infiniti towed away from the scene and impounded at the Clarion Borough Police Department for a vehicle search, pending a search warrant.

Officer Fox advised Seard and Webster he was having the vehicle towed due to the large crowd that gathered around the car, as it could no longer be searched due to officer safety issues. Officer Fox also told Seard and Webster they would be receiving charges in the mail and confirmed mailing addresses and a good contact number with each of them.

Mark’s Auto towed the vehicle back to the station where it was placed it in the impoundment garage.

A search warrant was granted by Judge Quinn, and a search of the vehicle obtained the following items:

– One black AWS Digital Weight Scale, found in the glove compartment of the vehicle;
– One loose bud of marijuana, found in the glove compartment of the vehicle next to the scale;
– One cardboard box of Glad Snack Plastic Zipper Bags, found in a red and silver backpack located in the trunk;
– One package of Outlaw Natural Leaf Peach Brandy Blunts with one blunt in the package, found in a red and silver backpack located in the trunk;
– City of Pittsburgh court documents for a known individual, found in a red and silver backpack located in the trunk;
– One red plastic local store bag containing loose marijuana buds, found in red and silver backpack located in the trunk; and
– One Ziploc vacuum sealed bag containing a large amount of marijuana, found in a red and silver backpack located in the trunk.

Based on the investigation, charges were filed against Seard and Webster on Friday, June 1, in Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn’s office.

Charges filed against Seard:

– Resist Arrest/Other Law Enforcement, Misdemeanor 2
– Disorderly Conduct Hazardous/Physical Offense, Misdemeanor 3
– Possession Of Marijuana, Misdemeanor
– Use/Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor (five counts)
– Duties At Stop Sign, Summary
– Turning Movements And Required Signals, Summary

Charges filed against Webster:

– Resist Arrest/Other Law Enforcement, Misdemeanor 2
– Disorderly Conduct Hazardous/Physical Offense, Misdemeanor 3
– Possession Of Marijuana, Misdemeanor
– Use/Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor (five counts)

Both men are awaiting preliminary arraignments on Thursday, June 14, with Judge Quinn presiding.


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