Report of a Robbery Five Minutes Before Justified Street Stop, Flight Justified Pursuit
The First Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Friedman, over a two-justice dissent, determined the police were justified in stopping the defendants for a level-two inquiry, and were further justified in pursuing and detaining them. The majority found that the report of a robbery at a country club five minutes before, together with seeing the defendants on the private country club driveway justified a level two street stop and inquiry. When one of the men fled and the others walked away, the police were justified pursuing and detaining them. The dissenters argued that the police knew only that a robbery in the vicinity of the country club had been reported and that seeing the defendants walking on the driveway in broad daylight justified only a level one inquiry and, therefore, did not justify pursuit:
… [D]efendants were first seen on private property where a burglary had just been reported, in a suburban area, with nobody else visible anywhere in the vicinity. This gave rise to a founded suspicion of criminality, justifying a level-two common-law inquiry under the De Bour analysis.
The police did not exceed the bounds of a common-law inquiry when they requested defendants to stop so that the police could “ask them a question,” because such a direction does not constitute a seizure … . Instead of stopping, defendant Nonni immediately ran, and defendant Parker immediately made what officers described as a “hurried” and “evasive” departure … . Under all the circumstances, the record supports the conclusion that both defendants “actively fled from the police,” rather than exercising their “right to be let alone” … . Defendants’ flight elevated the existing level of suspicion to reasonable suspicion, justifying pursuit and an investigative detention … . Here, “[f]light, combined with other specific circumstances indicating that the suspect[s] . . . [might have been] engaged in criminal activity, . . . provide[d] the predicate necessary to justify pursuit”… . People v Nonni, 2015 NY Slip Op 08081, 1st Dept 11-5-15