A North Carolina police detective accused of planting fake drugs on numerous Black men that resulted in their wrongful arrests for suspected drug trafficking was relieved of his duties on October 28.
According to HuffPost, Omar Abdullah’s termination from the Raleigh Police Department came a month after the city paid $2 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit that was filed by the men after the charges that were brought against them were dropped. Prior to his termination, Abdullah had been placed on administrative leave for over a year.
Between December 2019 and May 2020, fifteen people reportedly fell victim to alleged heroin drug busts that were orchestrated by Abdullah. The fired detective allegedly used packets of brown sugar in those operations.
The lawsuit that was filed against the city and Abdullah alleged the detective paid a drug informant to arrange meetings with the men, and then lie about recovering drugs from them. Abdullah then went ahead to arrest the men on suspicion of drug trafficking – despite the fact that field tests that were conducted on the sugar for drugs came out negative.
“Abdullah and other officers often failed to submit the alleged heroin for lab testing until weeks or months after Plaintiffs’ incarceration,” the lawsuit stated.
And after laboratory tests determined the sugar did not contain any drugs, Abdullah and other officers either did not notify the district attorney about the outcome or seriously delayed relaying the information. The suit also claimed the district attorney wasn’t notified about the negative field tests, HuffPost reported.
The suit also added that seven officers who knew about Abdullah’s actions did nothing about it. “Plaintiffs served a combined approximately 2.5 years in jail before the charges against each of them were dismissed,” the lawsuit stated. The men could have each been sentenced to seven years in prison had they been found guilty.
Robin Mills, whose son was one of the men Abdullah wrongfully arrested, told ABC11 she wants answers on why no action has been taken against the other officers. She also said Abdullah’s termination and the civil settlement do not suffice.
“They did what they needed to do from a civil perspective. But now we’re talking about criminal,” she said. “And there’s no way the kidnapping of over a dozen black men is not criminal.”
In September, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said she wasn’t going to prosecute Abdullah because of lack of evidence.