The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today a Boston police officer did nothing wrong in chasing after and arresting a man he suspected was packing a gun late one night on Norfolk Street in Roxbury.
In its ruling, the court overturned an order by Boston Municipal Court Judge Raymond Dougan that prosecutors could not use the gun allegedly found on Olajuwan Jones-Pannell on Aug. 6, 2011.
The appeals court begged to differ with Dougan's assertion that that particular stretch of Norfolk Street was not a high-crime area and that the officer who began chasing Jones-Pannell when he started running away from him had no indications that Jones-Pannell was doing anything wrong at the time. A Supreme Court ruling lets police stop people they suspect of committing or being about to commit a crime if they have reasonable suspicion based on several factors.
Two circumstances counted against reasonable suspicion. The patrolling officers had not received any information of criminal activity in the area on that night; nor did they recognize the defendant in connection to any prior criminal or gang activity. Factors supporting reasonable suspicion included [Officer] Anjos's training and nine years' experience in the district, the history of firearms in the neighborhood, the late hour, the defendant's head movements, his continuous placement of his hand inside his pants, and his accelerating evasion of the police. Under the governing case law, these collective factors establish reasonable suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm. ... The police had reasonable grounds to conduct an investigative stop and frisk at the moment when the defendant turned the corner at either a walking or jogging pace. Thus, the judge should have denied the defendant's motion to suppress.