In a recent case before a New York court, the defendant appealed the lower court’s denial of his motion to suppress tangible evidence. The defendant originally pled guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, but he argued on appeal that the officers arresting him did not actually have the legal right to stop him before arresting him. On appeal, the higher court agreed, reversing the lower court’s decision on the motion to suppress and vacating his guilty plea.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, police officers patrolling one evening received an anonymous 911 call that a Black male with an orange sweatshirt was in the area and had a gun. Officers began to look for the individual, and they eventually came across a Black male with an orange sweatshirt. The officers exited their car and ordered the individual to show his hands. The individual ran, taking his jacket off and throwing it on the ground as he sped away.
Officers eventually caught the suspect, and they found a handgun in the jacket he discarded. He was then arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
The defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence of the gun, which the lower court denied. The defendant appealed, arguing that the officers did not have legal grounds to stop and arrest him. Officers must, argued the defendant, have “reasonable suspicion” that a suspect is participating in criminal activity in order to chase and legally stop that individual. Here, the officers did not know anything about the defendant and therefore had no reasonable suspicion that he had a gun.