At approximately 3:00 a.m., a radio transmission was broadcast of a robbery in progress and three police officers claimed to have heard it, each initially stating they heard a broadcast describing a robbery that had been committed by four male blacks that fled in with a vehicle. One of the police officer later revised his statement to reflect that the radio broadcast described two attackers, not four. The two other police officers maintained that they heard four male blacks. One of the police officers also stated that he received additional information, that there were four black attackers, by radio from a different unknown source.
The initial radio transmissions, a recording of which was presented in evidence, includes that there had been 10-30 robbery at gun point and that the attackers were described as two male blacks, one mask over face, who fled with a vehicle with unknown license plate and unknown direction of flight. Such radio transmissions did not specify a more detailed physical description of the offenders or their clothing, the license plate of the fleeing vehicle, the model, the number of doors, the age or condition of the vehicle, or as noted, its direction of flight.
Shortly after receiving such radio transmissions, approximately three to four miles from the scene of the robbery, a police officer and his partner, who were in an unmarked police car, and another two police officers who were directly behind them also in an unmarked car, were proceeding northbound. The officers observed a gray vehicle traveling southbound.
When the court asked the officers if the vehicle had any beige on it, the officer responded that it was gray with faded paint on it. He also stated that it was like peeling on certain areas of the car and may have appeared to be beige.
The owner of the vehicle and the mother of the former co-offender provided a copy of the vehicle’s registration that indicated the color of the car was gray. The court then credits her testimony that she never had the car re-painted or refinished.
The photographs of the vehicle were also presented in evidence, showing the vehicle was silver/gray in color, in good condition. The criminal court also stated that from their inspection of such photographs, it is clear that while a small portion of the rear bumper appears to have a slight amount of peeling paint, in no way can the color be described as beige or gray.
The officers further assert that after sighting the alleged vehicle, they observed four individuals inside the car and prior to stopping it, they were unable to identify their race or gender and it was not until the individuals exited their vehicle.
The police officer turned the car around, and followed the offender’s vehicle for a short distance. So did the second police vehicle. The offender’s vehicle stopped at a red light and both the police vehicles activated their lights and sounded their siren briefly.
All four officers exited their vehicles, and approached the offender’s vehicle with their a gun drawn. The police officer indicated that as he approached the vehicle, he could see that the individuals inside the car were dark-skinned but could not tell what gender they were. The police officer also told the occupants to show their hands.
The officer also testified that suddenly, a male Hispanic exited the rear passenger side of the vehicle. He engaged with the other police officer in a physical argument. They were about ten feet from the car. A gun popped out of the male Hispanic’s waistband and the police officers proceeded to chase him.
The three remaining occupants were then removed from the vehicle. As to the offender, who had been seated in the front passenger seat, the police officer placed him on the ground, handcuffed him, searched him and recovered money from his right front jeans pocket and left front jean pocket. Money was also recovered from the floorboard of their vehicle.
The third police officer, after hearing the initial radio transmission, proceeded to the site of the robbery. When she arrived at the location, she observed a man holding his head. She saw that his head was bleeding and an ambulance was already on the scene while the medical assistant is attending the man.
The police officer approached the man and asked him if he was okay. He advised her that he had just got robbed with a gun, and got hit in the head. The man also told her that they took money from him and that the incident happened right in front of his house. She did not ask him how many robbers and what any of the robbers looked like.
At about 3:50am, the officer received a radio transmission. She asked the man to accompany her and her fellow officer in a marked radio patrol car. She proceeded to the vicinity and the man was seated in the back seat.
They arrived at the location within 5-7 minutes and three male blacks were standing. At that point, the man, approximately ten to fifteen feet away, blurted out that’s it was the car and they are the assailant. The officer turned to the man and told him to make sure of what he was telling her. He repeated that it was the car, there are the persons, and one of them is the guy that hit him. She also indicated that the man was pointing to a particular individual who he referred to as the tall and the skinny one. Immediately thereafter, the offender was placed under arrest.
The offender then move to suppress identification testimony and physical evidence. Consequently, he was charged with ten count indictment with two counts of the crimes of robbery in the first degree, three count of robbery in the second degree, two counts of grand larceny in the fourth degree, one count of criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and two counts criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
Turning to the physical evidence recovered from the offender such as money from his pockets and the money recovered from the floor of the vehicle, the court found that the evidence directly flows from the unlawful stop. As such, the physical evidence seized from the offender and from the floor of the vehicle is suppressed.
As to the weapon discarded by the unapprehended other individual, the offender does not assert standing with regard to the evidence. As a result, the court stated that there is no basis for suppression of such item.
In sum, based upon the testimony of the police witnesses, that of the police officers and the lack of reasonable suspicion, the court conclude that there was insufficient legal basis for the stop of the offender’s vehicle.
Consequently, the offender’s motion to suppress physical evidence recovered from them at the time of his arrest and from the floor of the vehicle is granted. As previously stated, there is no basis for suppression of the weapon discarded by the unapprehended other. Further, the offender’s motion to suppress identification testimony is granted to the extent that the evidence of the show up identification is suppressed. The court will also conduct an independent source identification hearing with respect to any prospective in-court identification testimony to be offered by the man, prior to the commencement of the trial.
Whenever you are charged of a crime that you did not commit and you want to seek legal assistance for such matter, you can ask the help of the Queens County Criminal Lawyer. Further, if you are involved with unlawful bringing of a gun and you are arrested with an offense, you can have the assistance of the Queens County Possession of a Weapon Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates office.