A Florida sheriff’s deputy was recently caught planting drugs on drivers during traffic stops. He had apparently been doing it for years, and more than 100 people were charged based upon the drugs he ‘found’ in their cars. The pattern was the same- pull the car over on some pretext, claim that he could smell marijuana, and then meth would be found. Mysteriously, his camera would not be turned on until AFTER the drugs were found. In one case, he did leave the camera on, and it caught the drugs in his hand right before he planted them:
This deputy made over 300 drug arrests as a result of traffic stops. More than 120 of them had to have their charges dropped. The state attorney claims that there is no evidence that there were more than 100 victims. Here is what he had to say:
there’s no indication Wester planted drugs or fabricated arrests in all of those cases.
and there is no indication that he didn’t plant evidence and fabricate arrests. However, since he has done so in multiple cases shows that it is reasonable to assume that he did plant evidence in at least some of those cases. This means that each and every one of the 300 people he arrested now have reasonable doubt, and in my opinion, should be set free.
You can read the arrest warrant here.
This is far from the first time that cops have been caught framing people or planting evidence. That’s why I don’t think cops should get the automatic credibility that they get. In fact, I think it is time for a law that:
~ Requires all police to wear cameras at all times while on duty.
~ I get that the cops have a right to turn them off for personal reasons, such as restroom breaks. So accordingly:
– If anything occurs while the camera is off, such as an arrest or accusation of improper behavior of the officer, the police will be required to produce the video. If the video is unavailable, then the cop’s testimony is inadmissible.
– The smell of marijuana is no longer permitted as a pretext for a search.
This is what the war on drugs has brought us.