Undercover police informant busted planting drugs in legal smoke shop by in-store surveillance cameras
By End the LieThe owner of a smoke shop in New York busted an undercover police informant planting crack in his store thanks to multiple in-store surveillance cameras.
Unfortunately, this is hardly an isolated incident. The New York City Police Department, for example, has fabricated numerous drug charges, according to a former narcotics detective, and one officer was even thrown in a psych ward for revealing systemic corruption in the department.
The practice can also be seen outside of New York.
Earlier this month, Columbia, South Carolina, a police captain stated in a sworn affidavit that he was approached by then-Deputy Police Chief Ruben Santiago about planting cocaine and a stolen gun in a city official’s car.
Also earlier this month, in England, a detective admitted that he was involved in a deal to plant a shotgun and drugs in someone’s car.
Clearly, this is a problem across jurisdictions.
In this particular case, Donald Andrews, Jr. was targeted by Scotia and Schenectady County police who believed that he was involved in illegal activities of one kind or another.
The police sent an undercover informant to his store, which sells legal smoking paraphernalia which local station WNYT notes “might also be re-purposed for other illicit activities,” twice in March.
The second time the informant came to his store, Andrews caught the informant planting crack cocaine on the counter and then photographing it.
The crack that was planted in the store led to the arrest of Andrews.
“He comes in,” Andrews’s attorney Kevin Luibrand said, narrating over the video from the in-store cameras, “places the crack on the counter. Crack, which under federal sentencing guidelines, would get him 4 years in jail. Under New York State law would get him 2 to 7 years in jail.”
The seven cameras placed in Andrews’s small store captured the planting of the crack from multiple angles.
The Sheriff acknowledged in a phone call with WNYT that proper procedures were not followed, but somehow denied that Andrews was purposely framed.
The Sheriff placed the blame entirely on the informant, who has reportedly taken flight.
The Schenectady County Sheriff and the Scotia Police Chief said they were not available for a formal interview about the apparent planting of evidence.
Andrews was arrested but he was released after he was able to get police to look at the multiple camera angles capturing the planting of the crack.
He has already taken the first step toward filing a lawsuit for wrongful arrest, a case which seems it might be quite successful.
Some members of the local Schenectady chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference believe Andrews was targeted because he is African-American.
“It was a set-up and I believe that he was racially profiled and targeted,” Treasure Clayton said to WNYT. “It would be easy for them to say that he was selling drugs because he was black.”
It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty if race played any role in the incident. What is quite clear, however, is that a police informant attempted to frame a business owner by planting drugs in his store.
The fact that this is not an isolated incident but part of a larger problem in law enforcement is quite troubling. It makes me personally grateful for those officers who go after people who are actually breaking the law instead of creating their own criminals to catch.
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