The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court threw out the 2011 gun conviction of Jimmy Warren after ruling that the police had no reason to stop him in the first place.
Officers first approached Warren as a suspect in a bank robbery because he was wearing dark clothing which matched “the description.”
“Mr. Warren was later arrested and searched. Officers found nothing illegal on him but recovered an unlicensed gun in a nearby back garden.”
Despite not being the person involved in the bank robbery, Warren was arrested and convicted for having an unlawful possession of a firearm. Black men in Boston are disproportionately targeted in Boston. For instance, an ACLU report in 2014 found that black men in Boston represented 63% of stop and frisk searches despite being 24% of the population.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that running does not imply guilt.
“Rather, the finding that black males in Boston are disproportionately and repeatedly targeted for FIO [Field Interrogation and Observation] encounters suggests a reason for flight totally unrelated to consciousness of guilt. Given this reality for black males in the city of Boston, a judge should, in appropriate cases, consider the report’s findings in weighing flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion calculus.”’