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Police Accused of Planting Drugs on Video

An Atlanta TV station reports on a case in Decatur, Georgia where a man who was arrested for marijuana possession has accused the police of planting the drugs on him — and he says a nearby surveillance camera shows it happening. I’d sure like to see the full video, but you can watch a bit of it at the link.

A man who claims a police officer planted drugs on him will have the charges dismissed one day before his case was set to go to trial.

But the DeKalb County Solicitor General’s Office said the dismissal has nothing to do with a surveillance video Alphonzo Eleby said proves the officer set him up…

His attorney said surveillance video from the location shows the officer call the officer guarding Eleby over to the SUV he had been searching.

As she searches the vehicle, Zenobia Waters said the video shows the officer circle back to her client and toss marijuana next to him. She said the officer then picks the drugs up and repositions them.

“I was shocked,” Waters said.

“And then he stands up and yells, ‘Look what you tried to throw,’” Eleby said.

The prosecutor’s office says they’re dropping the charges not because of the video but because the police department “could not produce the alleged marijuana.” That alone suggests a real problem, don’t you think? The Atlanta PD drug unit was disbanded many years ago after a fatal killing of an elderly woman led two of the officers to admit that the officers routinely carried drugs in the trunks of their patrol cars to plant on people, so this should hardly be surprising. It’s standard operating procedure in many police departments.

Comments

  1. Didaktylos says

    As a matter of interest – just what effect on the ex-accused’s future will the record of this arrest and charge have?

  2. Ben P says

    The prosecutor’s office says they’re dropping the charges not because of the video but because the police department “could not produce the alleged marijuana.” That alone suggests a real problem, don’t you think? The Atlanta PD drug unit was disbanded many years ago after a fatal killing of an elderly woman led two of the officers to admit that the officers routinely carried drugs in the trunks of their patrol cars to plant on people, so this should hardly be surprising. It’s standard operating procedure in many police departments.

    The mere loss of evidence results in a busted case, but happens more often than you might think even with relatively strict “bag and tag” procedures and check-in/check-out procedures from the evidence room. I’m aware of a couple cases in my local area where evidence (not necessarily drugs, I know one was stolen property) couldn’t located four or five months down the road when it was time for trial.

    that’s worthy of a scandal by itself. (Headline “criminal charges against burglars dismissed after police lose evidence.”) But planting drugs is pretty disgusting.

  3. Ben P says

    As a matter of interest – just what effect on the ex-accused’s future will the record of this arrest and charge have?

    That’s a good question.

    Legally, if the charges were dismissed, the charge is just gone, it’s as if it never happened.

    However, the fact that a police report was filed remains in the system and the fact that a court case was filed remains in the courthouse records unless it’s sealed.

    Many commercial criminal background checks are notoriously bad about simply relying on the existence of court cases as indicators of a criminal record. They merely document that charges have been filed and don’t indicate that there was an aquittal or a dismissal.

  4. Phillip IV says

    the police department “could not produce the alleged marijuana.”

    “Sorry, your Highness, we can’t produce the dope – the judge in that other case hasn’t given it back yet. And I think we’ve busted another guy for that same dope, so that judge might also want to see it. Should really start to keep better track of that.”

  5. dingojack says

    Was it BETA or VHS? If it was the former the police officers were totally justified ’cause BETA is evvvuuulll -
    Oh wait now. Headline failure.
    :) Dingo

  6. lldayo says

    Eleby was handcuffed and put in a choke hold, all on video. I’d say this warrants arrest of the officers for kidnapping and assault…or at least a very large lawsuit.

  7. escuerd says

    The Atlanta PD drug unit was disbanded many years ago after a fatal killing

    That’s the worst kind.

  8. dingojack says

    SAM: No, no. If this were football violence, the injuries would be more serious.
    HUNT: He’s dead. That’s quite serious
    :) Dingo

  9. kantalope says

    So, don’t suppose the DA’s Office is going to investigate the cops for corruption?

    Didn’t think so. “That’s some good work boys”

  10. laurentweppe says

    Many commercial criminal background checks are notoriously bad about simply relying on the existence of court cases as indicators of a criminal record. They merely document that charges have been filed and don’t indicate that there was an aquittal or a dismissal.

    At that point, it’s probably more prudent to write “Arrested by crooked cops who were later fired for being rotten” in your résumé.

  11. abb3w says

    Stories like this sometimes make me think General Sherman should have used salt as much as fire.

  12. Ichthyic says

    However, the fact that a police report was filed remains in the system and the fact that a court case was filed remains in the courthouse records unless it’s sealed.

    absolutely true, and the results DO matter.

    I have my own personal case in point:

    I was arrested for assault at a barfight once, about 15 years ago, but I never hit anyone in that fight. The person who accused me never showed up to court, and all charges were dropped and the case dismissed.

    when I applied for residency here in NZ, the FBI report had that arrest on file, and it took FOREVER to get immigration to finally accept it had nothing to do with my “character”, even though there was literally NOTHING else in the file, not even a damn parking ticket.

    so, yeah, ANY arrest goes on your permanent record at the FBI, and any time someone requests a background check, it will come up, and you will have to at least explain it, if you’re lucky, or else if an employer, they might just make it the deciding factor it dumping your application into a circular file.

    it sucks, it’s totally not fair, but that’s the way it is right now. Someone should push for these things to be purged from FBI files. the FBI should ONLY have convictions in publicly accessible records IMO.

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