FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — A Forsyth County judge ruled Wednesday that a Winston-Salem police officer violated a man’s constitutional rights when he stopped and then searched him without a reasonable suspicion that a crime had occurred, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
Jerome Aaron Lindsay, 22, of Eastwood Drive was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a governmental official, carrying a concealed weapon, defacing a firearm serial number, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of resisting an officer.
Assistant District Attorney Mike Silver voluntarily dismissed those charges after Judge Susan Bray of Forsyth Superior Court granted a motion to suppress the evidence that Officer S.D. Concklin had seized, including a .380-caliber pistol and a plastic bag that Concklin alleged contained the odor of marijuana.
Lindsay was standing in the parking lot of a gas station on May 27 when Concklin stopped him, requested identification and asked Lindsay if he had any drugs or weapons on him, according to an affidavit that Paul James, Lindsay’s attorney, filed with a motion to suppress.
Lindsay said he didn’t and Concklin told Lindsay he would search him. Lindsay insisted he had nothing on him and ran away. According to indictments, Concklin chased after Lindsay. When Concklin caught up with him, according to indictments, Lindsay reached into his pocket, retrieved a gun and then turned to face Concklin.
James said in his affidavit that Concklin used his Taser on Lindsay six times to subdue Lindsay and arrest him. When Concklin asked Lindsay why he ran, Lindsay said it was because he had a gun, James said in his affidavit. James argued that Concklin did not read Lindsay his rights before asking Lindsay why he ran.
Concklin found a plastic bag on Lindsay in which Concklin said he smelled marijuana.
In his motion, James argues that Concklin violated Lindsay’s constitutional rights because he had no reasonable suspicion to stop Lindsay or to search him. As a result, anything that was seized during the stop and search should be suppressed, James argued.
“Confronting the defendant and requiring him to produce identification constituted a stop and seizure for which no reasonable articulable suspicion existed,” James said in his affidavit.
James said Thursday that the encounter between Lindsay and Concklin was consensual. A consensual encounter is when a police officer approaches a person and asks that person questions. James said in this case, Lindsay had the right to walk away from his encounter with Lindsay.
And even if the encounter wasn’t consensual, Concklin didn’t have enough reasonable suspicion to search Lindsay, James said.
Bray agreed and granted the motion to suppress, which included everything Concklin had seized and any statements that Lindsay made after his arrest.
“The law is pretty clear on this issue,” James said.
Silver was not immediately available for comment Thursday.