A North Carolina detective was fired for allegedly staging heroin drug busts on at least 15 Black men using brown sugar packets, leding to drug trafficking charges, Huffpost reported on Nov. 2, 2021.
The Raleigh Police Department confirmed that it fired Omar Abdullah on Oct. 28, 2020, a month after the city of Raleigh paid a $2 million settlement in a federal rights lawsuit brought by the men after the charges were dropped.
Between December 2019 and May 2020, Detective Omar Abdullah paid an informant to meet with the men and then falsely claim to recover drugs from them, the story said. Abdullah would then arrest them using the brown sugar packets as evidence, investigators reported.
“Abdullah and other officers often failed to submit the alleged heroin for lab testing to detect drugs,” the lawsuit said. It also alleged that seven other police officers were aware of Abdullah’s scheme but did not intervene. Abdullah and those officers failed to inform the district attorney or severely delayed the information that the lab tests had come back negative for drugs, Huffpost reported.
The 15 men spent a combined total of two-and-a-half years incarcerated, and would have faced over seven years if convicted of the false charges.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said in September she would not be filing criminal charges against Abdullah due to lack of evidence.
Another publication, The News and Observer, reported that Abdullah may fight his termination, and that none of the other officers named in the lawsuit were placed on administrative leave.