Hennepin County District Court File No. 02076147
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and
Where police officers stop a driver based on reasonable suspicion of a petty misdemeanor, and the driver then flees on foot, the officers have enough reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to justify pursuing and stopping the fleeing suspect.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Randall, Judge
After a court trial on stipulated facts, appellant was convicted of felon in possession of a firearm and of two counts of second-degree assault. He challenges the denial of his motion to suppress, arguing that his seizure was illegal and that evidence from that seizure should have been suppressed. We affirm.
On September 19, 2002, at about 6:45 p.m., Officer Jeffrey Boeltl was on routine patrol with his partner, Officer Andrew Enriquez, in a marked squad car. Boeltl noticed a car with a loud muffler and a back end that was bouncing up and down, which he deemed a safety hazard. Boeltl decided to stop the vehicle, and he activated the emergency lights on his squad car. Appellant, the driver of the suspect vehicle, made a right turn into a parking lot of a water park. By the time that Boeltl, who had to wait for several pedestrians to pass by, entered the parking lot, appellant had left his vehicle and was running away through a grassy area in the park.
The officers pursued appellant in the squad car with the lights and siren activated. Boeltl saw appellant reach towards his waistband, throw something on the ground, and then reach back again to his waistband. Boeltl warned his partner and then saw something silver and black in appellant's hand. Enriquez advised Boeltl that it appeared to be a gun.
The officers continued their pursuit on foot as appellant left the park and ran into an alley. Appellant jumped over a fence and then turned and pointed a gun at the officers. Enriquez fired his gun towards appellant and, in response, appellant began running again. After chasing him further, the officers apprehended him.
Appellant was arrested and charged with felon in possession of a firearm, Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(b) (2002), and with two counts of assault in the second degree, Minn. Stat. § 609.222, subd. 1 (2002). The officers did not issue a citation to him for the equipment violations.
Appellant moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that his seizure was illegal. The district court denied the motion. Appellant waived his right to a jury trial and submitted the case to the court on stipulated facts. The ...