It was magical.
The marijuana magically appeared in the backseat of a car containing four black boys. Moments before it happened, one of the boys somehow magically knew that the white cops were conjuring up evidence. Police footage showed the entire episode but, for some reason, magically cut off the moment the cop found the weed. Video shows that an invisible blunt must have wondrously lit itself. Prosecutors finally saw the footage and made the case disappear. After a judge saw the video, he magically knew that the police officer would need a lawyer.
Yes, there is such a thing as white magic.
After spending two weeks in jail, a New York teenager’s claims that he was framed by the NYPD seem to be supported by video evidence that shows weed suddenly materializing in the back seat of a vehicle moments after two NYPD officers searched the car and found nothing.
According to the New York Times’ review of police bodycam footage, on Feb. 28, New York Police Department officers Elmer Pastran and Kyle Erickson pulled over a black BMW on Staten Island. The cops said that the car’s windows were too darkly tinted and the driver, 19-year-old Lasou Kuyateh, did not use his signal light. The footage shows the young men admitting to the officers that they had smoked marijuana earlier.
In the recording, all of the men comply with officer Pastran’s instructions as they “swear to God” that there was no weed in the car. Officer Pastran says he can smell the weed and tells his partner that the boys are members of a violent gang in the area called “OTA.”
Backup arrives, searches the boys, and finds nothing. Erickson searches the car and finds nothing, which is captured on his body-worn camera. During his search, he tells his partner, “We gotta find it. We have to find something...You know what I mean?”
Pastran then searches the back seat, which is also captured by his camera. He finds nothing and tells his partner, “The back seat looks pretty clear.”
One minute later, Erickson decides to search the back seat of the car again. For some reason, at this moment, Erickson’s bodycam spontaneously stops recording. Erickson searches an area in the back seat that he and his partner have already checked, but Pastran’s camera shows Erickson fiddling with something in the back seat area.
“Nothing...clean,” one of the cops mutters, to which the other replies, “Fuck.”
Kuyateh is filming the incident with a cell phone and catches Erickson holding little plastic baggies, at which Kuyateh screams, “Yo, you were just putting something in my car?”
As the cops tell the teenager to step back, Kuyateh repeatedly yells to everyone around him that Erickson is putting something in the car. Kuyateh frantically starts frantically screaming, “He’s putting something in my car, yo! He’s putting something in my car!”
Pastran handcuffs Kuyateh and takes his phone. As he appears to delete Kuyateh’s footage, Pastran walks over to a backup officer on the scene and tells him that they couldn’t find anything but informs the officer that they are going to arrest Kuyateh for OGA (Obstructing Government Administration).
And then, voila!
After four minutes, Erickson’s bodycam inexplicably turns back on at the exact moment he finds a half-smoked blunt, still lit, burning on the back floorboard where two separate bodycams showed nothing just minutes before. There is also a baggie on the seat that doesn’t appear in any of the previous footage.
Erickson suggests they should arrest all the occupants, but they eventually only arrest Kuyateh for possession of marijuana. Kuyateh spent two weeks in jail before he was able to make bail.
During Kuyateh’s pre-trial hearing, the teen maintained that the officers planted the drugs. When Judge Christopher Robles and prosecutors reviewed the video evidence in court for the first time, the judge suddenly stopped Erickson in the middle of his testimony and had an off-the-record sidebar with the lawyers.
And then, as if it were all a dream, everything suddenly disappeared. The prosecutors dropped the charges. The attorneys immediately suggested that Erickson obtain legal representation. Judge Robles dismissed the case and, curiously, instructed that it be sealed. The New York Police Department reviewed the footage and said that it had miraculously found no evidence of misconduct.
“After a thorough investigation, the allegations were determined to be unfounded,” said NYPD spokesperson Phillip Walzak, in a statement.
And just like an optical illusion, everything went back to normal. No one else suffered. The officer/magicians were not punished. After jail, court time and worrying about prison, Kuyateh was amazingly sent back into the world as if he had volunteered to be sawed in half.
Now isn’t that some spectacular abracadabra? Some Harry Houdini stuff? Some magic lamp, talk-to-a-genie shit? But this is America, and Kuyateh is black. In America, this is a rite of passage. Lasou Kuyateh learned what all black boys eventually discover about this country:
When it comes to the police, the criminal justice system or being a black man in America, there is no such thing as magic...