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People v. Salgado

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division

September 9, 2019

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
GIOVANNI SALGADO, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division. No. 16 CR 16566, Honorable Vincent M. Gaughan, Judge Presiding.

          GRIFFIN PRESIDING JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Pierce and Walker concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          GRIFFIN PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant appeals his conviction for defacing the identification marks of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-5(b) (West 2016)). He challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to quash arrest and suppress the evidence, and asks this Court to reverse his conviction outright. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On October 16, 2016, Chicago Police Sergeant Ricky Rivera and his partner were directed to patrol the 3800 block of West 30th street due to retaliatory shootings that had occurred in the area between rival gangs. As Sergeant Rivera drove down the block in an unmarked squad car, he made eye contact with one of two males walking in public on the sidewalk. They immediately broke apart and walked in different directions. One of them, defendant, was adjusting and grabbing at something in his waistband.

         ¶ 4 The police drove past defendant, stopped the car and Sergeant Rivera exited the passenger side. He walked toward defendant with his body camera rolling. Defendant continued to grasp at the object in his waistband.

         ¶ 5 Upon reaching defendant and at close range, Sergeant Rivera asked him if he had any weapons in his possession. Defendant answered "no," and continued to walk past him. Sergeant Rivera asked defendant to lift up his t-shirt so he could "see." Defendant responded, "I don't have to" and simultaneously grabbed the object in his waistband. Sergeant Rivera immediately placed his hand on the object, which was covered by defendant's t-shirt. It was a "9mm Hi-Point" handgun, loaded with ten live rounds. The serial numbers on the gun had been removed. Defendant was placed under arrest.

         ¶ 6 The State charged defendant with one count of defacing the identification marks of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-5(b) (West 2016)) (count I) and eight counts of AUUW (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6 (West 2016)) (counts II through IX). Defendant filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress the evidence, and the trial court heard his motion and conducted a bench trial at the same time. The State called Sergeant Rivera.

         ¶ 7 Sergeant Rivera testified that he was directed to patrol the 3800 block of West 30th street on October 16, 2016. There had been "recent aggravated batteries with firearms in that location" involving the "Two-Six street gang" and the "Latin Kings." The shootings were "retaliatory" and the location was designated a "high threat gang conflict zone."

         ¶ 8 As he drove down the block with his partner, Sergeant Rivera observed defendant and another Hispanic male look in the direction of the unmarked squad car, break apart and walk in different directions. Defendant grabbed and adjusted an item in his front waistband.

         ¶ 9 Sergeant Rivera exited the car and as he approached, defendant "continued to grasp an item in his front waistband." At that point, Sergeant Rivera believed that defendant "was in possession of a firearm" or "had a weapon." There was a "clearly visible" bulge in his waistband. Sergeant Rivera conducted a "pat-down" of defendant for "for [his] safety" and recovered a firearm from his front waistband. It was loaded with "ten live rounds" and the serial numbers used to identify the firearm had been "scratched out."

         ¶ 10 Sergeant Rivera wore a body camera during the incident and testified that it accurately depicted his encounter with defendant on October 16, 2016. The body camera footage was entered into evidence and played in open court. After the parties stipulated that an Illinois State police Sergeant, if called to testify, would affirm that defendant did not have a valid FOID card or concealed carry license on October 16, 2016, the State rested its case. Defendant's motion for a directed finding was denied and he rested his case without presenting any evidence.

         ¶ 11 The trial court briefly expressed its reasoning on the record and denied defendant's motion to quash and suppress the evidence. The trial court found him guilty of counts I and II: defacing the identification marks of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-5(b) (West 2016)); and AUUW (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(3)(A-5) (West 2016)). The trial court merged count ...


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