L.A. County deputy blows off 4th Amendment so drug dealers go free

Apparently the police in California have no working knowledge about the U.S. Constitution, and in particular, the Fourth Amendment.

As a result, one Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy is being made an example of by the courts. Although he routinely made large drug busts along a stretch of the 5 Freeway, the deputy’s credibility is being questioned in court.

A dash cam video shows Deputy James Peterson making a traffic stop during which drugs were found. A judge ruled the deputy’s traffic stop was improper and suppressed the drug evidence.

In recent months, Peterson made at least six large busts, uncovering stashes of narcotics in cars he stopped for speeding and other minor violations. In one vehicle, he found a storage compartment stuffed with 28 pounds of methamphetamine and three pounds of heroin. Some of the men he arrested were armed.

They appeared to be the kind of needle-in-a-haystack discoveries that sheriff’s officials wanted from Peterson and the handful of other deputies assigned to a small unit launched in 2012 with a tough mission: Interrupt the flow of drugs north from Mexico by picking off traffickers as they try to make it out of Los Angeles on the busy freeway.

But in court, some of Peterson’s cases have crumbled.

In one recent case, evidence found by Peterson — guns and drugs — was thrown out when a judge decided that a video showed no legal grounds for his traffic stop.

And in another, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office simply gave up, asking the judge to set free two men Peterson caught allegedly armed and carrying nearly two pounds of meth.

Law enforcement records obtained by the Los Angeles Times show that concerns about Peterson’s credibility were first raised several years ago in the U.S. attorney’s office.

In 2014, the federal prosecutor dismissed a case after concluding that Peterson’s account of how he found the drugs was unreliable, according to an L.A. County district attorney’s memo. Months later, the government dismissed another of Peterson’s drug cases.

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

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