Jun 1

Commonwealth v. N.W.

Commonwealth v. N.W.

A Philadelphia police officer received information from another officer that a male matching flash information of an individual involved in a gunpoint carjacking that occurred on 3100 Jasper Street two days prior was hanging out on the same block. Police responded to the area and observed N.W. wearing a “North Carolina” blue hoodie that was purported to be the same as the person who committed the carjacking. As they approached N.W. they claimed he was holding a green tinted plastic container commonly used for packaging and distribution of marijuana. Police claim they asked N.W. if he had marijuana on him and he said “yes”, and when they went to detain him, he immediately fled. He was apprehended, and police recovered a loaded .40 caliber handgun, 47 packets of heroin and 51 containers of crack cocaine. The defense filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the police illegally stropped and searched him. Specifically, the defense argued that the information regarding the identity of the carjackings suspect was not specific enough and was too “stale” for the police to reasonably believe that N.W. was engaged in criminal activity. In addition, the defense obtained body worn camera footage from the arresting officer that clearly showed that the green container N.W. was holding was empty and that he had in fact denied possessing marijuana. The footage also showed the police grabbing N.W. before any flight occurred. As a result, the judge agreed that police lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause that N.W. was engaged in criminal activity and that the gun and drugs were obtained illegally. With the evidence suppressed, the DA was forced to withdraw all charges against N.W.

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