After reviewing over 250 drug cases handled by a corrupt former sheriff’s deputy, more than 100 charges were dropped, and the sentences of eight people were vacated. Several people have also filed lawsuits against the former deputy. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.
The officer’s credibility was destroyed after body cam footage came to light that showed him using a roadside test to determine if a substance he allegedly obtained from a suspect’s vehicle included methamphetamines. After the roadside test turned pink — indicating that there were no drugs in the bag — he shrugged, announced that it was “blue” and told the suspect that he was being arrested and his car impounded. He continued to press the suspect to admit to having drugs, even as the suspect tearfully denied the charges.
This wasn’t the first time that particular officer had been caught on tape doing something similar. Some time before that incident, he was filmed planting what appeared to be a small bag of drugs in a woman’s car during a traffic stop — and then arresting her for it.
Numerous people have stepped forward alleging that they were framed by the dishonest officer in yet another Florida law enforcement scandal. In 2018, three Florida officers went to jail after it was discovered they intentionally arrested poor, young black men for unsolved robberies — knowing they were innocent — just to keep their clearance rate at 100 percent.
Incidents like this show how important it is to have an experienced defense attorney handling your drug case. All too often, officers can lie or fabricate evidence in order to get a conviction. Even body cam videos can’t protect innocent citizens from a wrongful conviction when nobody’s watching the footage.