In State v. Peter Nyema, police officers seized evidence of a robbery following an investigatory stop of an automobile in which Defendant was a passenger. Following the denial of his motion to suppress, defendant pled guilty to first-degree robbery. The arresting officer testified he stopped the car because he was advised two black men had robbed a store. The officer used a spotlight mounted to his car to illuminate the interiors of passing vehicles as he traveled to the store. According to the officer, in one car, he observed three black men who did not react to the light. The officer stopped the car based on those observations.
On review, the appellate court held that knowledge of the race and gender of criminal suspects, without more, does not establish a reasonable articulable suspicion that the men in the car had robbed the store.
Defendant’s conviction was reversed.
The Court’s full decision can be read here.
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