Being approached by a police officer can be a very frightening experience. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, there are some situations in which an officer may confront you and accuse you of unlawful behavior. In the event that this happens, people should try to remember to stay calm and consider contacting an attorney. Being accused of a crime — even by a police officer — does not mean that a person is guilty.
One story that illustrates this fact quite well is the case involving the “Snowball Five.” New Yorkers may want to be aware of this, as it serves as a strong example of how effective it can be to defend yourself against criminal charges.
The event took place in 2010 when the lives of five young men in the Bronx were turned upside town. They were arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon after they allegedly assaulted an officer — with snowballs.
But this story had two dramatically different sides. While the five men say they never assaulted the officer, the officer claimed he was attacked by snowballs thrown by the group and was so afraid that he pulled out his loaded gun. Another officer responded to the scene and she arrested the five men. However, the second officer never detailed that the arrest was based on snowballs in her report, making the report inaccurate. That critical error combined with the fact that the alleged victim of the assault changed his story numerous times made it not surprising that the charges were ultimately dropped.
But the five young men are not letting the incident go. They are working with an attorney and pursuing a civil lawsuit against the NYPD for false arrest.
Facing criminal charges related to a weapons offense in New York can be devastating, especially if they stem from an altercation with police officers. It may seem as though the cards are already stacked against you. But in order to avoid unfair charges or a wrongful conviction, people who are in situations similar to the one discussed in this post may want to contact an attorney. Every person who is arrested for criminal possession of a weapon has the right to defend themselves against charges.
Source: New York Daily News, “‘Snowball Five’ false-arrest lawsuit: NYPD officer admits she didn’t write down ‘snowball’ in weapons charge,” Michael Feeney and Corky Siemaszko, Jan. 29, 2014