There has long been a controversy over the use of snitches and informants by police who are willing to say or do anything to avoid jail time for their own crimes or simply make some money framing another person. Many cases are built virtually entirely on such testimony of jailhouse confessions or stings using such unreliable individuals. To see just how easy it is to frame someone, look at the video below where an informant is caught planting drugs at a “smoke shop” to allow for the arrest of its owner, Donald Andrews Jr.
Police often target such shops selling merchandize that can be used for either legal or illegal uses. The arrest of Andrews (shown right in his mugshot) was treated as just another story by the local media until Andrews’ lawyer reviewed the security tapes at the business.
The video appears to show the informant planting the baggie of crack on the counter. It was enough to secure a seven year sentence for Andrews. The fact that it was placed so obviously would seem to indicate that the informant expected the police to be right behind him.
After the truth was revealed on the tape, the informant fled and remains on the run.
Of course, the sheriff blames the informant and not his officers in using such a person in these operations. Why use some low-life rather than an undercover officer?
What is missing is a video of the arrest or an idea of how fast the police entered the business after the informant’s departure. We also do not know if the officers gave him the drugs to use or what he was being offered in return for the sting operation. What is clear is that this informant was acting as an agent for these officers and ultimately for the police department.
Those details will likely come through a wrongful arrest lawsuit, hopefully.
Yet, the police (which is refusing to make a statement) have an obligation to explain themselves. Are the officers suspended pending investigation? Apparently not since the Sheriff has told media on the side that it was the informant’s fault alone. How can you reach that conclusion and not share more information with the public?
I also cannot find a story giving the name and picture of the informant and a warrant out for his arrest. I would think that such a warrant would be issued on the basis of this video alone.