New York Daily News

July 4, 2012


City Hall says lives are at risk after court tosses gun charges on another teen who was caught packing heat during stop-and-frisk

Appellate Division decides searches illegal. Mayor's office says court establishing precedent that will keep more guns on the street and get people killed

By Rocco Parascandola

Police officer and 9/11 first responder Alonzo Harris's discussed carcinogens found on his uniform during a press conference on Sunday. Photo by Kevin Hagen for New York Daily News

Viorel Florescu for New York Daily News

Pat Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, says search on gun-toting suspect was "legally executed and appropriate."

For the second time in a week, a court has tossed charges against a teen who was caught packing heat during a stop-and-frisk, and City Hall says the ruling could cost lives.

In both cases, the suspect who beat the rap — because the Appellate Division decided the search was illegal — was arrested for other serious crimes after the gun bust.

"They are basically saying officers need to wait for someone to stick a gun in their face before looking for a weapon," said Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg. "They are establishing a precedent that is going to keep more guns on the street and get people killed."

Tuesday's ruling in the case of a juvenile identified in court papers as Jaquan M. came days after the same court reversed the gun arrest of 14-year-old Darryl C., who was subsequently charged with attempted murder in a shooting.

Jaquan also was 14 when cops spotted him pacing and looking around in a drug-prone location in Harlem in 2010. He took something from his waistband and put it in his backpack.

The teen allowed police to search one section of backpack for his ID; they found the gun in a different section, encased in bubble wrap, its magazine loaded with 11 rounds.

Jaquan was sentenced to 15 months' probation.

The five-judge panel said police were right to suspect Jaquan was up to no good — but three jurists ruled against the search.

It noted the cop who found the weapon admitted he thought the object Jaquan took from his waistband "could" have been a gun. "Mere hunch or gut reaction will not do," the panel said.

Jaquan's mom told the Daily News she knew "nothing about" the appellate decision. "I'm glad if it was tossed out," she said.

"It was hard for him to go through," she added.

Jaquan was busted three times last year. His mom declined to talk about those cases.

The Bronx teen's Legal Aid Society lawyers said the ruling "reiterated that a police stop-and-frisk which is not based upon a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime cannot be condoned."

City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said the city will appeal both decisions.

Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said the search was "legally executed and appropriate" in a "neighborhood overrun with guns."

With Daniel Beekman