In Oklahoma, a man has been cleared of cocaine charges soon after lab tests revealed that cops had grossly misidentified the substance they claimed was cocaine.
Even though the man’s case has now been dismissed, he was nevertheless forced to invest several weeks behind bars. The case highlights various complications with existing drug law enforcement and sentencing practices.
Cocaine Case Dropped
The complete incident began back on August 12. That evening, a homeless man named Cody Gregg was riding his bicycle when cops attempted to pull him more than.
The officer involved claimed that Gregg did not have correct taillights on his bike. Additional, when cops attempted to cease Gregg, he reportedly “did not cease but began to pedal tougher as if he was attempting to get away,” police reports mentioned.
In the end, cops chased him down and pulled him more than. They then apparently searched his backpack. That is when they found a coffee can containing a substantial plastic bag filled with a white powder.
“Inside the baggie was a substantial quantity of white powder substance that I believed to be cocaine primarily based on my coaching and practical experience,” the arresting officer mentioned. “The white powder inside the baggy later tested constructive for cocaine and was a total package weight of 45.91 grams of cocaine.”
Right after getting arrested, Gregg was detained in the Oklahoma County Jail, reportedly held on a $50,000 bail.
Ultimately, Gregg pled guilty to charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He mentioned he entered the plea in order to get out of the county jail.
Gregg was locked up till final Friday when—despite the arresting officer’s “training and experience”—lab tests revealed that the white powder was unquestionably not cocaine. As an alternative, it was powdered milk that Gregg had received from a meals pantry.
Right after the lab tests came back, Gregg was released from jail. He then requested that his guilty plea be dropped, considering that he entered that plea only in an try to be released from jail.
Oklahoma County District Judge Timothy R. Henderson granted Gregg’s request. As a outcome, Gregg’s guilty plea and his complete case have now been dismissed.
Highlighting Issues With Legal Technique
Gregg’s case highlights a quantity of complications with the existing legal program in the U.S.
Very first off, it shows the methods that poor folks and homeless folks have a tendency to be targeted for petty offenses such as bicycling with no a taillight.
On top of that, it shows how problematic and harmful police discretion and field drug testing can be. Gregg ended up behind bars for a number of weeks all mainly because of one particular cop’s assumptions and a grossly inaccurate field test.
In reality, a current investigation located that field tests are unable to detect important variations involving legal and illegal substances. Especially, the investigation located that drug field tests regularly fail to differentiate involving THC—which is illegal in numerous places—and CBD—which is legal.
Even much more, Gregg’s case reveals the complications linked to income bail. Since he could not afford the $50,000 bail, he was forced to remain locked up.
And lastly, this incident also sheds light on the dangers of mandatory minimum sentencing, a practice that usually ends up pressuring folks to accept plea offers regardless of their innocence or guilt.