The Appellate Division recently upheld the suppression of evidence recovered from someone who was walking down the street in the late afternoon and was accosted by police officers.

The Defendant in the case was lawfully walking on the sidewalk wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black sweatpants when an unmarked police car with two plainclothes detectives drove past him.  The car was traveling no more than 10 miles per hour when they rolled past the Defendant who the cops claimed made eye contact with them and grabbed his waistband “in such a way that it seemed as if he had a bulge or something heavy that he was holding inside of his garments.” The cops then made a U-turn, got out of the car, and approached the Defendant.  The Defendant then ran away from the cops, and while being pursued discarded a gun.

The Court rightfully held that a person walking down the street who then merely makes eye contact with the police and grabs their waistband area does not allow the cops to detain or pursue them.  The Court then suppressed the gun that was recovered during the pursuit.

These cases are going to continue to clog the New York Courts until the local police departments train their officers on when they can legally detain / stop and frisk someone on the street. Walking down the street wearing a black hoodie should not subject someone to being stopped and manhandled by police officers.  Whenever someone is stopped by the police and in the process arrested they should consult with an attorney experienced in fighting these unlawful stops immediately.