The Fourth Department affirmed Supreme Court’s ruling that the officer did not have a sufficient basis for detaining the defendant on the street, searching defendant’s bag and transporting defendant to the burglary scene:
The evidence at the suppression hearing established that the officer who initiated the encounter with defendant was responding to a radio dispatch of a burglary in progress. Because other officers were already at the scene of the burglary when he arrived, the officer canvassed the nearby area in his patrol car. Shortly thereafter, the officer noticed defendant three blocks from the burglary scene, walking alone and carrying a bag and a cell phone. The officer approached defendant, exited his vehicle, and asked defendant what he was doing, and defendant stated that he was looking through garbage cans. The officer then searched defendant’s bag in order to check for weapons and informed defendant that he was going to drive defendant back to the scene of the burglary in order to determine whether defendant was a suspect. The officer placed defendant in the back of the patrol car and drove him to the scene of the crime, where a showup identification was conducted and defendant was identified as the burglar and arrested. The evidence also established that, prior to beginning his shift on the day of the encounter, the officer received a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) photograph depicting defendant and reflecting that defendant may have been involved in a prior burglary.
Contrary to the People’s contention, we perceive no basis in the record for disturbing the court’s finding that the officer did not recognize defendant as the individual depicted in the BOLO until after he drove defendant to the scene of the burglary for the showup identification … .
Although the officer justified the search of defendant’s bag as a check for weapons, the record does not reflect that, at any time during the encounter, the officer “reasonably suspected that defendant was armed and posed a threat to [his] safety” … . Further, all the officer could definitively recall of the initial radio dispatch reporting the burglary in progress was that it described the suspect as a male, although the officer also testified that the dispatch might have identified the suspect as Hispanic and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. The vague description of the suspect provided by the radio dispatch, as recounted by the officer at the suppression hearing, did not provide the officer with the requisite reasonable suspicion to effect what was at least a forcible detention of defendant and to transport him to take part in a showup identification … . People v Nazario, 2020 NY Slip Op 00955, Fourth Dept 2-7-20