By Zhuoshan Liu
SACRAMENTO – This is a story about a neighbor who stopped a home invasion with a golf club and police officers who showed compassion—and almost lost their case because of it.
At the arraignment of three suspects in Sacramento County Superior Court early this week, 21-year-old Ivory Spratt, 20-year-old Kymon Anderson and 19-year-old Zamir Alshabazz pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, home invasion, assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy.
They were arrested by the police officers early Tuesday afternoon on Campania Court, near Bruceville Road.
They were chased by a neighbor armed with a golf club out of an Elk Grove home. The police officers found $45,000 in a suspect’s pocket. And they also found some evidence in the vehicle.
In court, Deputy District Attorney Sylvia La Rosa asked Officer Gregory James several questions about the process of searching the suspect’s mother’s vehicle.
The defense argued the vehicle search was unlawful.
James said he followed procedure, including when he decided to tow the vehicle for future investigation. But one of the suspects told the officer that his mother just died and asked the officer not to do that. Consequently, James and other police officers canceled the tow and searched the vehicle on the spot.
Defense lawyers seized on that decision, questioning whether the process of searching was lawful, noting that the police officer should have followed procedure and towed the vehicle away to be searched, which was lawful. The defense claimed there was no reasonable suspicion for the search.
DDA La Rosa pointed out that the officer did the right thing. There was reasonable suspicion.
The judge read the court file of what allegedly happened that day. Police attempted to stop the vehicle because the driver was driving dangerously. He did not stop at six stop signs, was speeding through the neighborhood, and turned off the taillights and driving lights to avoid detection. When he got home, he yelled at police and refused to come out of his home.
The judge said that the police officers possessed enough reasonable cause to search the car because the suspects were driving dangerously, adding that they didn’t tow the car out of compassion, and that wasn’t a bad thing.
All suspects were bound over until their next court date.
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