Running Away Before Police Could Ask Any Questions in New York

In People v. Stephens, 47 AD3d 586, 851 N.Y.S.2d 136 (1st Dept), lv denied 10 NY3d 940, 892 N.E.2d 412, 862 N.Y.S.2d 346 (2008), the defendant was observed at night walking in an area known for recent gunpoint robberies. As he walked behind another man, Stephens clutched his waistband and kept his right arm tightly against his body. When the defendant observed police officers in an unmarked police car, he looked startled. The officers stopped their car and began to approach the defendant, however he ran away before the police could ask him any questions. As he ran, officers pursued and observed the defendant discard a gun. The Stephens' court found these observations justified the officers' pursuit of the defendant and the recovery of the firearm. Based upon the totality of the circumstances, the police had reasonable suspicion to support the actions taken.