Judge Rejects Baltimore Police Officers’ and Department’s Attempts to Dismiss Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit in Drug-Planting Case

On September 12, 2019, a federal judge issued a 72-page opinion allowing a lawsuit alleging that Baltimore Police Department officers planted drugs on two innocent men to move forward.  On April 28, 2010, plainclothes officers planted approximately 32 grams of heroin in Umar Burley’s car, in which Brent Matthews was a passenger.  Both men were sent to prison as a result.  Years later, in the course of investigating corruption in the Baltimore Police Department’s infamous Gun Trace Task Force, the government learned that the officers had planted heroin in Mr. Burley’s car.  Upon this discovery, a judge in the District of Maryland fully exonerated Mr. Burley and Mr. Matthews of their drug convictions.

Andy Freeman, one of the attorneys representing Mr. Burley and Mr. Matthews said, “We are pleased that Mr. Burley and Mr. Matthews are finally on the road to compensation for the egregious wrongs done to them by the Baltimore Police Department officers, supervisors, and the department itself.  For decades, the Baltimore Police Department and its supervisors condoned rampant misconduct by their plainclothes officers, which emboldened them to violate citizens’ rights—including by planting guns and drugs on innocent Baltimoreans.”

Mr. Burley and Mr. Matthews are represented by Andy FreemanChelsea Crawford, and Neel Lalchandani of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, along with co-counsel at Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White.

Read Baltimore Sun’s article covering the case here.