They say that the police are "peace officers" and are responsible for protecting our communities. Every day they diligently fight crime and lock up the bad guys. What if the bad guys that they are locking up, are really innocent? WYNT Channel 13 News reported, that a video had gone viral, which clearly shows an undercover police informant placing a bag of crack, inside a store, in order to frame the innocent shop owner Donald Andrews, Jr. The video first appeared on WYNT's website in July.
Police officers in Schenectady County, New York, believed that Andrews was selling drugs. Because of their hunch, they regularly sent in undercover informants to try and catch Andrews red handed. Two undercover informants had visited the smoke shop twice during March. There was only one problem, they could never catch Andrews selling drugs. Instead of conducting more surveillance, an undercover informant placed a bag of crack on the stores counter will Andrews wasn't looking.
A smoke shop is more commonly known as a "head shop." It sells things such as incenses, pipes, grinders, water bangs and other smoking paraphernalia. All items sold in the smoke shop are considered legal but could be used illegally for illicit purposes.
The undercover informant is seen placing the crack on the counter and taking pictures. He later showed those pictures to Schenectady County police officers, who then had the evidence they needed to arrested the Andrews. If convicted, Andrews faced 4 years under federal guidelines and 2 to 7 years under New York State law. The Schenectady County Police padded themselves on the back for another job well done. They successfully used an undercover informant to get a drug dealer off of the their streets.
There was something that the undercover informant forget to inform the policy about. Andrews store has 7-different cameras placed at different angels. It didn't take long for Kevin Luibrand, Andrews attorney, to get his client freed. He showed the officers the video footage and they had no other choice but to let Andrews go. The so-called undercover informant has fled. WYNT spoke with the Schenectady County Sheriff via the phone. The sheriff said that proper procedures were not followed and denied that his investigators purposely framed Andrews.
The Schenectady community is outraged, especially its African-American community members. What is also interesting is that the name from the undercover informant hasn't been released. You also see, what appears to be, a mug shoot of Andrews during the news report from WYNT. Isn't Andrews innocent?