by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:
Jackson County, FL — Dozens of innocent people who were rotting in jail have been freed and their charges erased after the corrupt cop who put them there was caught on his own body camera planting meth on an innocent grandmother. As TFTP has reported, Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Zachary Wester has since been fired and arrested, and a slew of lawsuits are now rolling in.
Last year, this most insidious police officer was arrested on 52 counts of planting meth and other street drugs on entirely innocent motorists he would randomly pull over. Now, even more victims have been discovered and he was just hit with dozens more charges.
“A deputy is accused of planting drugs on people and arresting them under false pretenses,” said Thomas Williams, Assistant State Attorney, 1st Judicial Circuit. “We’re very fortunate that this is not a common prosecution. It’s one that our office is taking very seriously and prosecuting very thoroughly. ”
Williams told WTXL that body camera footage not only shows Wester planting the drugs, but taunting his victims.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, prosecutors filed an amended information charging Wester with two dozen additional counts involving five more of his alleged victims. The charges stemmed from traffic stops in 2017 and 2018 in which drivers or passengers were arrested on drug charges including possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.
During the initial investigation, Wester’s coworkers searched his vehicle and found a wealth of unmarked evidence, including 42 pieces of drug paraphernalia, 10 baggies of meth and five baggies of marijuana. The items were similar to those he planted on drivers, investigators said.
As TFTP reported, Wester’s fall from law enforcement grace and roughly 120 people who were exonerated are due largely in part to the diligence of a single person, assistant state attorney at the 14th Judicial Circuit, Christina Pumphrey.
Pumphrey’s job as assistant state attorney included reviewing evidence before moving forward with charges against individuals. When she began reviewing cases, she found something very peculiar.
“This is an exaggeration, but it felt like his (Wester’s) name was on half the cases,” Pumphrey told The Appeal. “It was seriously disproportionate.”
When Pumphrey began watching the body camera footage from Wester’s arrests, she found something even more disturbing. Many times, Wester was seen conducting illegal searches. Also, his written affidavits did not match what she watched in the videos. But that wasn’t the most telling aspect of all these videos.
While it is no question that folks will claim that drugs found on them or in their possession “aren’t their’s” and “they don’t know how that got there,” nearly all of Wester’s cases had this. The videos showed that people were utterly shocked when Wester claimed to have found drugs in their vehicles. While a single person may have been lying, when everyone reacts the exact same way, something is up.
Although she reviewed multiple videos, Pumphrey never saw the actual act of Wester planting drugs or otherwise hiding them. However, all that changed when Wester pulled over Teresa Odom in February of 2018.