In the recent Queens County case of People v. Clermont, 11-4-15, the Appellate Division Second Department reversed a judgment and dismissed the indictment, overruling the lower court’s denial of suppression of a handgun.
In this Queens case, the police were on routine patrol in an unmarked car in a Queens neighborhood known for gang activity. The detective observed the defendant make “constant adjustments” to his waistband, and after the officer showed his shield and identification, the defendant ran and eventually threw a firearm from his waistband to the ground.
The Appellate Division held that the police did not have a reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed, so the chase was not justified. The Court ruled that the facts in this case established at most that the police could only ask the defendant questions (the “right to inquire”).
Since the gun should have been suppressed, there was not enough evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd and 3rd Degree.