Charges dropped against man claiming officers planted drugs on him in DeKalb

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Cahnnel 2's Tom Jones reports

A man who claims a police officer planted drugs on him saw the charges dismissed Thursday before his case went to trial, according to a Channel 2 Action News report.

But the DeKalb County Solicitor General’s Office said the dismissal has nothing to do with a surveillance video Alphonzo Eleby said proves he was set up by a police officer.

Eleby said his ordeal began in July 2012 at the Chevron gas station on North Hairston Road.

He said he stopped to speak to someone sitting in a black SUV when an officer said he smelled marijuana and arrested the driver on charges of marijuana possession with intent to distribute.

“I was searched twice,” Eleby told Channel 2. He said no drugs were found on him and he was told to sit down. An officer stood guard over him for several minutes and Eleby said he never moved.

His attorney said surveillance video from the location shows the officer call the officer guarding Eleby over to the SUV he had been searching.

As she searches the vehicle, the video shows the officer circle back to her client and toss marijuana next to him, attorney Zenobia Waters told Channel 2. Waters said the officer then picks the drugs up and repositions them. “And then he stands up and yells, ‘Look what you tried to throw,’” Eleby said.

The video shows Eleby protesting what he sees the officer do and the officer then puts him in a choke-hold while other officers look on.

Waters said in the police report the officer says he saw Eleby throw the drugs down. That’s something she said the video clearly shows is not true.

“It didn’t happen. It simply did not happen,” she told Channel 2.

Eleby believes the video is the reason his case was dismissed.

“I’m glad that camera was there to prove my innocence and justice was served,” Eleby said. “It was a blessing from God.”

Channel 2 contacted the Solicitor’s Office about the allegations.

Spokesperson Terrie Clark sent a statement to Channel 2 saying, “This case is being dismissed due to insufficient evidence because the alleged marijuana is not available. While preparing for trial, the Solicitor-General’s Office requested a release of the alleged marijuana to be used as evidence at trial.

“The DeKalb County Police Department could not produce the alleged marijuana. Therefore, the State is without the evidence needed for trial. The dismissal is not related to how the alleged marijuana came into existence at the scene of the crime nor the videotape made at the scene of the crime.”

According to a Solicitor’s Office Spokesman, the Solicitor plans a full review of the case, including the video.

—Staff writer Bryan Cronan contributed to this report.