21-year-old Devon Williams of Irvington was arrested in Paterson allegedly in possession of a handgun and half-pound of marijuana, but his attorney says police arrested the wrong person.
“I really just think that the police officers have the wrong person,” said Williams’ attorney Kenyatta Stewart on Thursday morning. “Our argument is my client isn’t that person.”
Stewart’s client was arrested on July 21 in the high crime area of 17th Avenue and East 29 Street at about 8 p.m.
Police said they observed him with a fanny pack. As officers got out of their vehicle, Williams tried to hide in an auto mechanic shop. Police seized the bag and found 1/4 kilogram of marijuana and a loaded Kel-Tec 9mm semi-automatic handgun inside.
Stewart argued for the release of Williams during the detention hearing.
“It is an extreme risk to the community for anyone to be in possession of a loaded handgun,” said assistant prosecutor Mariam Qudah citing recent surge in shootings and killings in Paterson.
Qudah also pointed out Williams was convicted in 2014 for second-degree robbery.
Williams’ public safety assessment score suggested he should be released, but on conditions.
“This is a very serious offense,” said judge Joseph Portelli. “There’s a possibility that this man is a danger to the community.”
Stewart suggested the judge release him with a monitoring bracelet. He also began making faces after it became apparent the judge would not release Williams.
Portelli rebuked Stewart for making faces in the virtual hearing.
“Do not make faces. If you are disappointed, I understand,” said Portelli. He said he would not tolerate Stewart’s conduct.
“I’m sorry judge. I apologize,” Stewart told the judge.
Williams has been held at the Passaic County Jail since his arrest.
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