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March 2005
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We put our freedom in their hands

The Las Vegas Review Journal is justifiably suspicious about this atrocity:

Editorial: Metro cop planted drugs in suspect’s car
Sheriff says suspensions will suffice

While officers were in the process of arresting local resident Mark Lilly last July on suspicion of selling harmless legal substances and claiming they were narcotics, an official police spokesman now admits, canine officer David Newton placed real controlled drugs in Mr. Lilly’s vehicle. He has since contended he did so “as a training exercise” for his dog.

It seems pointless to ask whether contaminating active crime scenes is an accepted time, method, or location for a canine “training exercise.” A better question might be what Officer Newton was doing carrying narcotics to an active crime scene in the first place. Has he been charged with possession of those narcotics? Were they of a quantity that would get anyone else automatically charged with “possession with intent to sell”?

Police next expect us to believe officer Newton “forgot” he had placed the drugs in the car, whereupon officers Kevin Collmar and David Parker searched the car, found the planted drugs, and charged Mr. Lilly with possession of actual controlled drugs without proper licenses or prescriptions.

Read the whole article. It’s really bizarre. It’s also scary. And regardless of whether the officers were corrupt or somehow criminally stupid and negligent, suspension is insufficient.
There can be no tolerance when it comes to the issue of law enforcement officers planting drugs on people. We put our freedom in their hands.
Any one of us could find ourselves in prison for years based solely on a corrupt officer planting drugs. In particular when you have multiple officers testifying against you (as in this case) – what court will believe you’re innocent?
You have to make it clear. In this case, Sherriff Bill Young should be fired for not firing the officers, and then they should be fired. Period.

[Thanks to Scott for the tip.]

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