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There’s a reason why I have always said that a police report is not a credible news source. Sure, a responsible news outlet will always report what investigating officers and police departments officially stated regarding an incident, but it’s not unbiased journalism if you’re treating a cop’s word like it’s gospel and citing a police report as your sole source for factual reporting.

Here’s a news flash: Cops have the same incentive to lie that everyone else has.

Meet 56-year-old Calvin Riley Sr.

Last May, Riley was pulled over in Tallahassee, Florida, by Tallahassee Police Department Officer Kiersten Oliver, who had decided to arrest Riley for driving with a suspended license, which they, of course, had the option of not doing.

Police bodycam footage appears to show Oliver, 26, and other officers doing what cops tend to do when they’ve pulled over a Black motorist and found probable cause to detain them—they started fishing for more serious crimes to charge him with.

From Our Tallahassee:

After initially stopping Riley and getting his information, Oliver calls in backup and discusses the particulars with Officer Margaret Mueth who arrived at the scene. Oliver asks Mueth to contact Riley under the pretext of verifying his address to check if she thinks he is under the influence of something. “I feel like I’m getting some indications, I’m not really sure. I can’t really smell anything right now,” Oliver says to Mueth, indicating that her sense of smell was diminished.

Oliver, in comments captured by her body-worn camera, tells Riley that he smells like marijuana. [Riley], who says he doesn’t smoke weed, took offense to Oliver’s comments.

“You lie,” Riley says in the video.

At various moments in the forty-four-minute-long body camera footage, Officer Oliver seems to go from charge to charge, looking for a way to arrest Oliver. In Florida, officers have discretion whether to ticket or arrest someone driving with a suspended license for the first offense. If an individual commits a second offense, it is mandatory for the officers to take them into custody and make an arrest. Riley received a suspended license notification just weeks before the stop on March 7th.

Officers Mueth and Oliver discussed the interaction in Oliver’s car before approaching Riley again. Mueth testified that they formulated a plan: ask Riley to submit to a voluntary field sobriety test, and if he refused, they would exercise their voluntary discretion to arrest him for a first-time offense of driving with a suspended license.

So far, we have a story that millions of Black Americans across generations can easily identify with. A cop pulling over a Black man for something minor and then claiming to smell marijuana just so they can present an excuse to search the vehicle for drugs (or anything they can arrest for, really) is as normal as a cop making a donut run while out on patrol. What happened, next, however, appeared to be far more nefarious (although, far from uncommon).

So, the cops asked Riley to participate in the sobriety test cops pretend is truly voluntary and optional, and he was placed in handcuffs and taken into custody after he refused. Meanwhile, the apparent fishing expedition the conspiring officers were on had shifted from Oliver telling Riley she smelled marijuana, to her telling her fellow officers she wasn’t sure if she could smell anything at all, to the cops deciding they thought Riley might have smelled like alcohol.

When officers began searching Riley’s car, they didn’t find marijuana, and it isn’t clear if they found any bottles of alcohol, but Mueth does tell other officers that Riley “had a bunch of alcohol stashed in” his vehicle that he claimed were in “open” containers.

Interestingly enough, the only bottle seen on camera during this entire stop was a sealed bottle of liquor, which Kiersten Oliver appears to unseal, pour out and then place back in the vehicle. One wouldn’t even have to listen that closely to hear what sounds like the seal on the bottle being broken.

During a pretrial hearing, Kiersten Oliver was asked about why she opened the bottle and poured it out. She claimed TPD policy prohibits taking liquids as evidence, which, firstly, makes zero sense, and, secondly, is not an actual TPD policy that exists.

More from OT:

Officer Oliver has been deposed twice in the case. In her second deposition, public defenders handed her a copy of TPD Policy #42. However, she was unable to locate any section that prohibited impounding liquids. Oliver stated “I don’t remember” at least sixteen times during her second deposition.

Despite this case showing all the hallmarks of racial profiling and, quite possibly, planting evidence, Riley has been charged with DUI and is facing a jury trial, which has been scheduled to begin Friday. It’s difficult to imagine that his council won’t have a field day with what the police bodycam footage shows. Whether it will be enough to exonerate Riley or not, however, remains to be seen.


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The post Tallahassee Cop Appears To Open And Pour Out Sealed Bottle Of Liquor Before Arresting Black Man For DUI appeared first on NewsOne.

Tallahassee Cop Appears To Open And Pour Out Sealed Bottle Of Liquor Before Arresting Black Man For DUI  was originally published on