Clinton, SC -- Police incompetence coupled with the war on drugs is a dangerous mixture that all too often takes the lives of entirely innocent people and hurls them into turmoil and destruction. Not only does the war on drugs lay waste to the rights and lives of countless innocent people caught with substances deemed illegal by the state but many people who never possess these substances fall victim to drug warrior cops so hell bent on ruining lives that they will claim bird poop is cocaine and arrest someone. Seriously.
Last month, Shai Werts -- GSU's junior starting quarterback -- was targeted for extortion when police claimed he was speeding. Werts was subsequently pulled over on July 31 in Clinton, South Carolina. The routine revenue collection stop quickly morphed into a rights violating nightmare for Werts, however, when cops claimed the bird feces on the hood of his car was cocaine.
As TMZ reports:
Shai Werts -- GSU's junior starting quarterback -- was pulled over on July 31 in Clinton, South Carolina after cops say he was speeding.
During the stop, officers placed 21-year-old Werts in the back of their patrol car ... and went to search Werts' 2016 Dodge Charger.
In the video, you can see cops paying close attention to the hood of Werts' ride, shining a flashlight on the area and allegedly discovering a foreign white substance on it.
Then, in what seemed like a scene out of a comedy movie, but was actually a tragic reality, the officer pointed to the bird poop and said, "What's the white stuff on the front of your hood, man?"
Werts immediately responds, "Bird sh*t."
But the officer did not believe him and somehow thought Werts must have been snorting lines of cocaine off the hood of his car while driving down the highway at 50 mph. Yes, we know how stupid that sounds, but this cop actually believed it.
"I swear to God it's not [bird poo]," the officer says, "because I just tested it, and that turned pink."
Werts had just become one of the many victims to suffer horrific fates at the hands of negligent cops and their continued use of faulty field drug test kits.
In fact, tens of thousands have been convicted and served time for crimes they didn’t commit, according to a report, because the cases against them relied on horribly unreliable field drug test kits.
So prone to errors are the tests, courts won’t allow their submission as evidence. However, their continued use by law enforcement — coupled with a 90 percent rate at which drug cases are resolved through equally dubious plea deals — needlessly ruins thousands of lives.
Case in point, this cop thought bird sh*t was cocaine.
As TMZ reports, Werts insists over and over again it's bird poop ... but the cop clearly doesn't believe him, with the officer eventually telling him, "It tested positive for cocaine."
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Throwing all logic and common sense out the window, the cops then kidnapped Werts and charged him with possession of cocaine. He was suspended from the football team as he fought the bogus charges.
Like all the victims before him, Werts had to wait until actual lab tests proved the substance on the hood of his car was not cocaine and on Thursday, prosecutors announced they were dropping the charges.
"I was informed that the test did come back and that there was no controlled substance found," Saluda County prosecutor Al Eargle told the Savannah Morning News.
Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein announced Friday the team was "elated to get the news" and then announced that the punishments handed down by the school over the incident would all be lifted.
"On August 8, 2019, SLED [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] received the substance and completed the drug analysis. The forensic scientist determined that no controlled substance was detected," prosecutors said in a statement."The Solicitor’s Office has begun the expungement process to have this charge removed from the system to ensure that this arrest and charge does not create a criminal history for Werts."
Sadly, Werts' story is extremely common and happens every day throughout the US. The standard $2 field drug tests, manufactured by The Safariland Group, have been proven to be unreliable. And according to the manufacturer, should not be used as a stand-alone test for convictions related to drug possession.
Studies have shown how everyday foods, spices, and medicine tested positive in field drug tests. In one experiment, scientists even discovered that air could set off false positive for these tests.
According to Forensic Resources:
"The director of a lab recognized by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for forensic science excellence has called field drug testing kits “totally useless” due to the possibility of false positives. In laboratory experiments, at least two brands of field testing kits have been shown to produce false positives in tests of Mucinex, chocolate, aspirin, chocolate, and oregano."
Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, a Ph.D. chemist and former FBI lab supervisor, has also voiced objections, saying that he has “no confidence at all in those test kits.”
According to the national litigation and public policy organization, the Innocence Project, at any given time there are an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 innocent people currently locked in a cage in U.S. prisons.
Over the years, The Free Thought Project has reported on countless stories of odd things creating false positives in field drug tests. We have seen people put behind bars for possession of things like drywall, glazed donuts, crackers, kitty litter, baking soda, cotton candy, and apparently bird sh*t.