from the Judgment of Sentence April 6, 2018 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at
BEFORE: PANELLA, P.J., KUNSELMAN, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E.
Linzie Brogdon, appeals from the judgment of sentence entered
in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia following his
conviction at a bench trial on the charges of persons not to
possess firearms, firearms not to be carried without a
license, carrying firearms on a public street, and resisting
arrest. After a careful review, we affirm.
relevant facts and procedural history are as follows: During
the evening of October 29, 2016, on the 2900 block of Howard
Street in Philadelphia, John Gonzalez was robbed at gunpoint.
Appellant was arrested in connection with the robbery, and on
July 10 and 14, 2017, Appellant, represented by counsel,
litigated a motion to suppress the physical evidence seized
by the police.
suppression hearing, the Commonwealth presented the testimony
of Police Officer Stephen Bennis and Detective Matthew
Hagy. Specifically, Officer Bennis testified
that, on October 29, 2016, "there was a robbery,
point-of-gun, at the 2900 block of North Howard[.]"
N.T., 7/10/17, at 8. Officer Bennis described the 2900 block
of Howard Street as "[o]ne of the most violent, high
drug areas in the 25th District and probably in
the City." Id. at 17.
October 30, 2016, Detective Hagy and a sergeant informed
Officer Bennis that, in connection with the robbery, the
police were attempting to "identify an offender who went
by the nickname of Fifty. And they provided [Officer Bennis
with] a physical description of a tall, black male,
approximately 6'4"/6'5"." Id.
at 9. Officer Bennis testified that, based on the information
provided to him, he had "an idea who they were talking
Officer Bennis indicated that, in reference to the 2900 block
of Howard Street, he was familiar with Appellant, who matched
the description provided by Detective Hagy and the sergeant.
Id. Officer Bennis explained that, during the past
three years of his career, he has routinely patrolled Howard
Street and, approximately once or twice a day, he observes
Appellant in the 2900 block of Howard Street near the Chinese
store or the bodega. Id. at 10, 17. Officer Bennis
indicated Appellant resides on the 2800 block of Howard
Street, which is just one block south of where the robbery
occurred. Id. at 10.
Bennis testified he provided Detective Hagy and the sergeant
with information regarding Appellant, and at some point
during his tour of duty on October 30, 2016, he returned to
the police station where his fellow police officers informed
him witnesses had positively identified Appellant as being
involved in the robbery. Id. Thereafter, at around
9:00 p.m. on October 30, 2016, as Detective Hagy and the
sergeant were in the area of the robbery attempting to
recover video, they observed Appellant. Id. at 11.
Accordingly, they provided "flash
information" indicating they had observed the male,
Appellant, who is also known as "Fifty."
Id. Using the police radio, Officer Bennis asked for
Appellant's specific location, and the sergeant indicated
Appellant was "in the area of A and Tusculeum[, ]"
which is approximately two blocks from the 2900 block of
Howard Street. Id.
Bennis and his partner proceeded to the 2900 block of Howard
Street where they saw Appellant travelling southbound on a
bicycle. Id. Officer Bennis and his partner exited
their patrol vehicle, stopped Appellant, removed him from the
bicycle, and walked him towards the police vehicle.
Id. at 11-12. As the officers escorted Appellant
towards the back of the police vehicle, Appellant
"locked up his arms and began reaching towards his
jacket, actively resisting [the officers'] attempts to
place him into custody." Id. at 12. As the two
officers struggled to place handcuffs on Appellant, the trio
fell to the ground, at which point Officer Bennis'
partner placed Appellant's left hand into a handcuff.
Id. As the officers attempted to place the handcuff
on Appellant's right hand, Appellant continued to
struggle and reach into his jacket. Id. With the
additional assistance of Detective Hagy and the sergeant, who
had arrived on the scene, the officers handcuffed
Appellant's right hand behind his back, at which point a
firearm fell out of Appellant's jacket. Id. at
officers retrieved the firearm from the ground and discovered
it was loaded with one live round in the chamber and four in
the magazine. Id. at 14. The officers then searched
Appellant's person and recovered thirteen clear, ziplock
packets containing a blue glassy insert. The inserts were
stamped "PR," and they contained an off-white
powdery substance. Id. The police also seized a red
and black mountain bicycle, which Appellant had been riding,
and his canvas shoulder bag, as well as $36.00 from
Appellant's person. Id. at 14-16.
cross-examination, Officer Bennis confirmed that, when he and
his partner saw Appellant on the bicycle during the evening
of October 30, 2016, they were in a marked patrol car.
Id. at 19. Appellant was biking southbound on Howard
Street while the officers were driving northbound.
Id. Officer Bennis confirmed that he and his partner
approached Appellant because they believed he had been
involved in the previous night's robbery. Id. at
20. Officer Bennis indicated the officers did not approach
Appellant with guns drawn; but rather, Officer Bennis stopped
Appellant by quickly exiting the police vehicle and stepping
in front of the bicycle, which Appellant was riding.
Id. at 21. Officer Bennis confirmed that Appellant
stopped the bicycle and Appellant dismounted with the officer
"maintaining a hold on him." Id. at 22.
Appellant then dropped the bicycle to one side and, as the
officers attempted to handcuff him, Appellant struggled while
attempting to reach into his jacket. Id. at 22-23.
Officer Bennis reiterated that, during the struggle, a loaded
handgun fell out of Appellant's jacket. Id. at
redirect-examination, Officer Bennis explained that the
handgun fell out of Appellant's left coat pocket, which
was the pocket that Appellant kept attempting to reach into
during the struggle. Id. at 25. On recross-
examination, Officer Bennis admitted that, prior to stopping
Appellant, he did not observe a "bulge" in
Appellant's jacket; however, he testified "the
interaction went from casual to fighting within a second or
Hagy testified that he was the lead investigator assigned to
the robbery case, and after gathering information from the
victim, Mr. Gonzalez, he interviewed Reginald Carroll at
approximately 4:00 a.m. on October 30, 2016. N.T., 7/14/17,
at 6-7. Mr. Carroll informed Detective Hagy that "a male
with the nickname of Fifty" was involved in the robbery;
Mr. Carroll described "Fifty" as a black male who
was 6'5" tall. Id. at 7, 10. Moreover, on
October 30, 2016, at approximately 5:45 p.m., a witness, Anna
Gomez, arrived at the police station of her own volition, and
in the presence of Detective Hagy, she reported that
"three males [were] involved [in the robbery] and the
male that pushed John Gonzalez off the bike, his nickname was
Fifty." Id. at 9.
Hagy testified that, in response to Mr. Carroll and Ms. Gomez
informing him a man with the nickname of "Fifty"
was involved in the robbery, he spoke with Officer Bennis,
who routinely patrolled the area where the robbery occurred.
Id. Detective Hagy indicated that:
Based on the flash and the nickname, [Officer Bennis] gave us
the name of a male by the name of [Appellant]-I believe he
just said by the [last] name of Brogdon. I was able to go
into the police system and I found a male by the name of
Brogdon who lived at 2955 Howard Street and also the male was
approximately 6'5". Based on that, I developed two
photo arrays with [Appellant] as one of the males.
Id. at 10. Detective Hagy confirmed that Appellant
matched the description provided by Mr. Carroll. Id.
Hagy testified a fellow officer showed the photo arrays to
Ms. Gomez at 7:30 p.m. and to Mr. Carroll at 7:55 p.m. on
October 30, 2016. Id. at 12. The fellow officer
reported that both individuals chose Appellant's photo
from the array. Id. at 12-13. Detective Hagy then
informed Officer Bennis and his partner of the positive
identifications and requested they be on the lookout for
Appellant, who was considered to be armed. Id. at
13. Meanwhile, Detective Hagy, along with the sergeant,
proceeded to the Chinese store on the corner of Howard and
Cambria to determine whether there was video of the robbery.
Id. at 14.
cross-examination, Detective Hagy confirmed that, shortly
after the robbery, he interviewed Mr. Gonzalez, who reported
he was robbed by two males, one of whom pointed a handgun at
him. Id. at 15-16. Mr. Gonzalez reported that one of
the men was wearing black pants and a black hoodie while the
other man was wearing blue jeans and a black hoodie.
Id. Mr. Gonzalez indicated the two men had taken his
wallet and cell phone. Id. Detective Hagy confirmed
that Mr. Gonzalez told him he was pushed off of his bicycle
during the robbery, he ran away on foot, and he flagged down
a police vehicle. Id. at 17. The police then
transported Mr. Gonzalez back to the scene. Id.
further cross-examination, Detective Hagy testified as
Q. While they were transporting [Mr.
Gonzalez] back to the scene, he actually points out to those
officers, there is the man who pointed the gun at me, right?
A. Correct, he was actually in the back of
our car at that point. He was too afraid to walk down the
street on his own, so we put him in our unmarked car. While
we were at the scene, and I was taking photographs of the
scene and processing the scene, [Mr. Gonzalez] saw one of the
males that he thought was involved, yes.
Q. Who was in the car that he pointed that
male out to, if you were checking out the scene?
A. There were two officers that were at the
scene with me-I would have to look, I forget their names-who
drove off and stopped the male. And then they came over
police radio and asked us to take [Mr. Gonzalez] to that
location, I think it was the next block over. We went to that
location and positively ID'd one of the males.
Q. The male that [Mr. Gonzalez] identified
as having robbed [him was] Reginald Carroll, correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. Mr. Carroll was taken to East Detectives
and also gave a statement?
Q. That statement was videotaped, correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. There are no written records of that?
There is not a 75483 for that, ...