ST. LOUIS (CN) – A man claims corrupt cops stole his casino winnings – twice – then had him falsely convicted and sent to prison for 7 years on bogus drug charges, to punish him for reporting them.
Eddie Johnson claims St. Louis cops stole a total of $8,100 in his casino winnings during two traffic stops in 2001.
He claims Officers Bobby Lee Garrett and Vincent Carr stole $4,500 from him during a traffic stop in March 2001, and did not write him a ticket, or even a warning, or give him a receipt.
He says Garrett stopped him again on April 6 and took $3,600. This time, he says, he objected, and Garrett handcuffed him and took him to the police station, but without telling him why he was being arrested.
Johnson says both stops were made after he left the President Casino on the St. Louis riverfront. And he says both ex-cops are now in federal prison.
Johnson says he complained to the police department’s internal affairs on April 9, 2001 and was told that there was no record of the first stop and that the record of the stop in April showed that only $900 had been seized.
But that’s not all, Johnson says: “On or about September 9, 2001, as Mr. Johnson was standing on the porch of a house … defendant Garrett and defendant [Leo] Liston approached him and pulled him from the porch. They told him that he ‘was going to wish he had not gone to the Internal Affairs Division,’ or words to that effect. They told him they would ‘see to it that he did 20 years hard federal time,’ or words to that effect.”
Johnson claims Garrett and Liston then planted cocaine in his truck and arrested him for possession of cocaine base with intent to sell. Johnson says he pleaded guilty rather than face 20 years in federal prison if found guilty at trial. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, was released after 7 years and is still on probation.
Johnson says the officers’ true intent was revealed later.
“Defendant Carr has since admitted that he and defendant Garrett planted evidence, namely drugs, on persons for the purpose of charging them with drug-related offenses and seized money from citizens and split it between themselves,” the complaint states. “Defendants Garrett, Liston and Carr are serving time in federal prison for said offenses.”
Johnson claims the St. Louis Police Department knew of Garrett’s, Carr’s and Liston’s illegal actions before his unjust arrest; that the department knew or should have known of their illegal conduct; and that it delayed investigating their conduct.
Johnson seeks damages for civil rights violations, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and false imprisonment. His wife seeks damages for loss of consortium.
The Johnsons are represented by Eric Wolfgram.Named as defendants are the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, individual members of the Board of Police Commissioners of the City of St. Louis, and Bobby Lee Garrett, Vincent T. Carr and Leo Liston