For as long as police officers are willing to dress up and threaten the freedom of people for possession of a plant, headlines will be made about the absurdities of the drug war.
For decades, different stories of police posing as drug buyers accidentally arresting other authorities posing as drug dealers have circulated. It has actually been multiple stories. One of the most recent examples of this phenomenon was in November 2017, when Detroit undercover cops had a particularly heated incident in which both sides were undercover.
On the east side of Detroit, undercover cops from two different precincts “got into a turf war” as described by a local Fox2Detroit news article. Near the infamous Seven Mile road, two special ops officers from Detroit’s 12th Precinct were pretending to be selling dope, only to arrest simple users who try and buy from them, “and seize their vehicles.”
That’s when instead of encountering users, they encountered other special ops officers from the 11th Precinct. They ordered the other undercover cops selling to get on the ground, and nobody wanted to diffuse the situation before it escalated into a physical altercation, Guns were drawn, punches were thrown, and Internal Affairs said they would perform an investigation but it has been quiet since.
“This is probably one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in this department,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.
The situation got ugly: body camera footage was obtained by WXYZ-TV, showing two groups of cops shouting, pushing each other and throwing hands a little bit.
“They appeared to be like Keystone cops,” Craigs continued, joking about “fictional police officers depicted in comedic silent films.”
This type of thing has been happening for a very long time. It was noted in one article that in 1986, about 33 years ago, two Detroit cops lost their lives in a similar incident in which plain-clothes cops raided a home, and the other officers responded to a shooting at the same place, and the police shot each other.
About 23 years later, in North Carolina, an Iredell County Sherrif’s Office deputy tried to bust other cops by purchasing drugs from them: undercover Statesville officers.
To bust someone selling “a small amount of marijuana,” in the words of an archived local Statesville news article about this, Statesville Police Chief Tom Anderson said undercover cops from his department were working on a week-long case.
The undercover cops set up a meeting in the parking lot of a store in the area, and then they started to become suspicious that the dealer they were trying to bust was undercover as well.
They even tried to contact the sheriff’s office narcotics unit, called Capt. David Ramsey, and they were falsely told the seller was not a cop.
“At that point we proceeded like we normally do and placed him under arrest,” the chief said.
Sheriff Phil Redmond said: “We had several large-scale operations going on at once, and the wires got crossed on this one,”
Several large-scale operations: to bust people for “small amounts of cannabis” and pose in photos for that social media clout like this.
On January 12, 2017 the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit conducted a drug search warrant at a home on Jot…
The article about this mix-up in North Carolina must have been embarrassing, because it was taken down. Fortunately for the sake of the truth, there’s a thing called the Wayback Machine and it was archived, and it can be found at this link.
Who knows how many stories like this can be found: undercover drug warriors accidentally bust other undercovers all the time.
— 🇺🇲Terrell D. Lewis 🇺🇲 (@TerrellDLewis) January 30, 2019