Topher Freeman shared the following post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.
Date of Interaction: 02/17/2015
Police Employees Involved: DEA Agent William T. Conrad and Detective Christopher Boyd
On June 30th, the Washington Post reported: On February 17th of 2015, 24 year old Central Florida State student Charles Clarke was returning from Cincinnati to Orlando via the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport.
A ticketing agent notified the airport police, which consists of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport Police as well as the DEA, that a checked piece of luggage had “an odor of Marijuana”.
DEA Agent William T. Conrad, Detective Christopher Boyd and their K-9 responded and the dog “hit” on two pieces of luggage. The dog told them it smelled like Cannabis. The luggage was registered to Mr. Charles Clarke.
Prior to locating Mr. Clarke, the police ran his criminal history, if any. The police located Mr. Clarke by his U.S. Airlines jetway and detained him though they claimed at this point, he was free to leave.
They questioned Mr. Clarke about his reason for travel and why he had a 1-way ticket. He explained he was a student in Florida and was visiting friends in Ohio. The officers explained that they were part of an interdiction unit and asked him if he had any weapons, drugs or money on his person or in his carry-on luggage to which he said he had only money. They asked for his consent to search his carry-on which resulted in nothing “evidentiary”. Agent Conrad then asked Clarke where his money was at which point Clarke said it was on his person. He was asked to produce it.
He had on his person $11,000 in cash which he said was savings he had been accruing from his mother who is a disabled veteran who had been sending him money. He didn’t have any proof about his mother or logs of her sending money to him on his person.
Agent Conrad told Mr. Clarke that his checked luggage had an odor of marijuana. Mr. Clarke admitted that he was a Cannabis user and reasoned that would be the reason why his bag smelled. Both his bags and his person were not in possession of any drugs or Cannabis. The police admit to these facts in their affidavit.
Agent Conrad and Detective Boyd then told Mr. Clarke they have reasoned that the cash was the proceeds of drug trafficking because Clarke was traveling on a recently-purchased one-way ticket, he was unable to provide documentation for where the money came from on-demand and his checked baggage had an odor of marijuana, so said their dog. Their dog also told the officers his money smelled like marijuana as it also claims in the agent’s affidavit.
They officers then grabbed at Mr. Clarke’s money, which he refused to willingly surrender. The officers caused a scene in the airport trying to forcefully take Clarke’s money. They eventually did take his money from him by force.
Clarke was charged with “Resisting Arrest” and “Assault on a Police Officer” (because he removed the detective’s hand from his wrist while being grabbed at). Both charges were eventually dropped according to Mr. Clarke’s lawyer.
But what about his money? It’s still gone. And as sick as this may sound, this story takes an even crazier turn because there are now THIRTEEN different law enforcement agencies looking to take their slice of Mr. Clarke’s money. Federal, state and local agencies are all expecting their taste from this “seizure”.
He has little to no recourse. This is “legal” robbery by force because men with badges “thought” he “may” be a drug dealer or trafficker. Absence of any actual evidence and with no sticking charges, Mr. Clarke, a young college student, is still beat for his savings.
Does this sound OK to anyone? If it were your money being taken by force with NO evidence nor charges wouldn’t you at LEAST expect to have your property returned to you?
Good luck with that it seems.