It was early in the morning, when Ellis decided to race an Acura against another vehicle. Perhaps Ellis thought no one would be around, perhaps he didn’t care. Sgt Martin saw and cared; he called for backup and followed as the vehicles raced through a residential area. The racing vehicles parted ways and Sgt Martin could only follow one; he stayed with the Acura. Ellis sped away from the marked police cruiser and found himself on a dead end street; he abandoned the car in a driveway and fled on foot through the backyard of the property.
Minutes later Sgt Martin located the Acura and spotted Ellis and another man, Gonzalez, walking past the dead-end street and looking back towards the car. The backup arrived on scene and intercepted Ellis and his friend. Officers conducted a pat down search and found the keys to the Acura in Ellis’ pocket; at that point officers returned the keys to Ellis. They testified that the keys were returned because the search was for safety reasons and in the officers’ opinion the keys did not pose a threat. Officers also discovered that Ellis had a number of outstanding warrants, that he was affiliated with a gang and that he may be armed and dangerous.