A shocking video is now making its way around the Internet. The video involves a man who was under police suspicion for selling drugs, even though he wasn’t selling anything illegal. The man, Donald Andrews Jr., ran a smoke shop in Schenectady County, New York.
Law enforcement officials in the area were suspicious of the man and regularly sent undercover officers to do surveillance on his store. During one trip, an officer is caught in plain view of store cameras pulling out a small bit of crack cocaine and putting it on the counter when no one was looking.
“He comes in, 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,” attorney Kevin Luibrand said while narrating the video for an audience that was in stunned by what they saw.
The community is outraged over the incident. The Schenectady chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has taken the lead on the matter, expressing their shock and concern over the incident.
Schenectady County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino reportedly told WNYT-TV that procedures weren’t followed and that the rogue cop who planted the evidence is now on the run. Andrews is in the middle of filing a wrongful arrest lawsuit against the police department.
Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University Professor and founder of the Your Black World Coalition, says that this case is reflective of the slippery slope that exists for black men when it comes to the criminal justice system.
“If this is the case where the officer got caught planting the drugs, what about all the thousands of other cases where the officer wasn’t stupid enough to do it in a room full of cameras,” says Dr. Watkins. “The truth is that these incidents are not anomalies, and are reflective of the corruption that exists in a system that has found black men to be lucrative commodities for the prison industrial complex. It has destroyed our families and must be confronted in its entirety.”
If police testimony is always valued above and beyond the defendants, how often do you think this happens? With black men being arrested for drug distribution more than any other group of people, it probably happens more than you know.