In a recorded phone call between Ghent and Lesueur on January 11, 2007, the cop admitted to taking the $5,000. Lesueur also gave Flannery a copy of a videotape that showed Ghent taking a payment from her husband. Flannery interviewed several of the girls working at Relax With Us, who admitted to masturbating Ghent several times. One of the girls told Flannery she watched Ghent snort a white powder before she began.

West Palm police arrested Ghent on February 22, 2007, and charged him with bribery, solicitation of prostitution, and perjury. He could've faced decades in prison. But two months later, prosecutors gave him a sweetheart deal. He agreed to do 60 hours of community service and give up his certification to work as a cop. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the charges, and Ghent avoided having the crimes on his record.

Relax With Us has since closed, and Ghent declined to comment when New Times reached him in Jacksonville, where he now lives. He hung up the phone when questioned about Phillips. Asked later by text message, he responded, "I don't care what people say, only what god think, god bless you and the ones talkin bout me."

Elroy Phillips was known as "Eighty-Six" on the streets of Miami. In prison he's now known as "Law."
Eric Barton
Elroy Phillips was known as "Eighty-Six" on the streets of Miami. In prison he's now known as "Law."
Private investigator Ralph Marston helped Phillips dig up documents and scored a key interview with the government’s lone witness.
Michael McElroy
Private investigator Ralph Marston helped Phillips dig up documents and scored a key interview with the government’s lone witness.

Phillips learned about Ghent's criminal case when he received a copy of the former cop's personnel file. He requested court documents that detailed the accusations against Ghent and filed them in his own case. The cops had claimed that only the CI and Ghent had seen Phillips sell drugs, and now the testimony of both of those witnesses was in question.

Ghent's history as a dirty cop could have instigated a review of cases, such as Phillips's arrest, in which Ghent was the only witness to a crime. Instead, West Palm cops backed the guy they ran off the force.

On December 21, 2009, Phillips received an unexpected record in the mail. It was a new copy of the log of the department's use of investigative funds. The document covered roughly the same dates as the previous one, but this time it was written in different handwriting and included just the right damning information.

It claimed Ghent had taken out $50 for an undercover drug buy. The new record included the right case number for Phillips's drug investigation. But still, the date was off — it showed Ghent hadn't taken out the $50 until a week after Phillips allegedly sold him crack.

The so-called corrected document is indicative of the declarations filed by federal prosecutors in the fall of 2010 in an attempt to keep Phillips from receiving his evidentiary hearing. (The officers and LeClainche did not return phone calls from New Times. Captain Coppin, reached on his cell phone, said he'd call back but never did.)

On September 2, 2010, Coppin signed a seven-page declaration meant to put to rest the court filings Phillips kept submitting.

Phillips had claimed in court documents that the personnel records proved Ghent was in class the night he claimed to have bought drugs from Phillips. But rather than concede that the dirty cop could not be trusted, Coppin conducted a little experiment. He got into his city-issued Ford Crown Victoria and drove to Palm Beach State College's Criminal Justice Institute at 4200 S. Congress Ave. in Lake Worth. He started at 8:52 p.m., which was about when Ghent might have gotten out of class the night of Phillips's arrest. Then he drove 9.9 miles north to the West Palm Beach Police station at 600 Banyan Blvd. It took him 16 minutes. The captain argued in his statement that Ghent had plenty of time after his class to get to the bust at 9:30.

But Coppin's experiment ignored several simple facts. Ghent might have been able to make it to the bust if he had driven straight there. However, police and prosecutors say he ran several errands first. Department policy required him to stop at the police station to clock in and check out money from the evidence locker. If he skipped those steps, violating department policy, and used money out of his own pocket, he still wouldn't have been able to make it to the bust after his next step.

Statements from Sgt. Bradley Emmons and Lt. Brian Kapper claim Ghent then met them at the parking lot of a closed building on the north end of the city. That's where they met the CI. Ghent then frisked her (this would have violated department rules, which specify that a female officer must frisk a female CI). The crew then drove to 625 Eighth St. and tested the wire Ghent was supposedly wearing that night. Emmons and Kapper allegedly parked around the corner in hopes of listening in as the deal went down.

Considering Coppin took 16 minutes to drive just from the college to the police station, it's impossible that Ghent could have completed all the necessary steps and bought drugs from Phillips just 22 minutes after leaving his class.

LeClainche, a federal prosecutor since 1991, also filed a declaration to refute Phillips's evidence. LeClainche wrote she got involved in the Phillips case when she was assigned to work with the DEA. LeClainche denies ever offering money to the CI or threatening her children during the meeting in the police department's conference room. In fact, LeClainche and Coppin claim that during that meeting, the CI called Phillips a killer and said she was afraid of him.

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10 comments
P_Nis
P_Nis

Unfortunately police and prosecutorial misconduct is rampant throughout our justice system. Cornell West says "Justice is what love looks like in public". Considering what we've seen in this case and in many other similar cases, that's a pretty sick thought isn't it?

john
john

Beyond a 'reasonable doubt'. It's easy for love-boat to talk with such callousness, as one enjoys' their freedom and privileges. Reverse rolls, and let's see how cavalier they are. Corruption, cover-up, lack of integrity and criminal conduct by the prosecutor and police is not uncommon in our judicial system. I've been involved with the Innocence Projects, and unfortunately there are many, very innocent, individuals in prison. Innocent people have been murdered by the government for crimes that they had no part in. This is a Truth, which reflects poorly upon us. Hopefully we are evolving into a more compassionate society; it appears that love-boat needs to put a little more love in that boat; and a little less contemptuousness. Great story Eric. I'm just coming off of a victory against the Florida Department of Corrections. The DOC charged an inmate with committing 3 crimes, that each had a life sentence. He was 300 yards away from the alleged crime scene, when this offense supposedly occurred. This innocent inmate was thrown into solitary confinement and isolated on the notorious Q-Wing at Florida State Prison, confined with murderers, psychopaths and the criminally insane for 3 years, for crimes that he had no involvement with. We won our case and I believe Elroy Phillips will win his case. Mr. Phillips is a rich man now; he will be a wealthy man upon his release.

loveboat2010
loveboat2010

Both phillips and the dirty cop should be sitting together in a cell. I dont think either one is innocent. Drug dealers ruin communities and attempt to paint this robin hood character.The dealer in this story admitted he did not do street level sales he delt with Colombians, which means he brought trafficking amounts of drugs into the inner city. To say he quit that life to do landscaping is BS. Although, there is a small percentage of corruption I dont think this story portrays the people that risk there lives everyday in extremely violent drug land of south florida. You have to be an idiot to be a corrupt cop eventually, you are caught or turned in by a real criminal.

Amber Phillips
Amber Phillips

My name is Amber Phillips & Elroy Phillips is my father, your comment is ignorant and narrow minded my father does not deny his wrong doings but he has served 10 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit. I have not seen my father since i was 8 years old I am now attending college on a full 4 year scholarship and my father from behind bars has been there every step of the way a decade is an extreme sentence for the alleged charges, and drug dealers do not ruin communities but the addicts themselves do. Drug abuse is a self detrimental crime if they didn't get the drugs from my father they would get it from someone else so do not blame him but blame the people who seek out drug and the dealers.

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

You have a good point, loveboat2010. Maybe he was still a dealer and, the logic goes, deserves his fate. But the justice system simply can't work that way. The cops are supposed to have the evidence to convict you, and when they fabricate evidence, as they may have done here, you ought to be set free.

shjanita_j
shjanita_j

@Amber Phillips i understand what you are saying and have been following your Dads story for a little bit. The last statement you made..." if they didn't get the drugs from my father they would get it from someone else so do not blame him but blame the people who seek out drug and the dealers."is a deep statement and since as he says was back when he was in High school, that should have been added at the end  or better yet, not posted because these same narrow minded folk, will take that statement and use it against you as  if you are confirming that this is the reason he is where he is now.

I am praying for him and your family. This case has bothered me for years. FLORIDA is a hot mess!! What do they do , put the sentences in a hat and whatever is pulled out is it? I just don't understand but know God has the final say.HONEY, DON'T LET THESE FOOLS ON HERE PUSH YOUR BUTTONS! Focus on school 

loveboat2010
loveboat2010

Your right Eric, my point is I dont feel sorry for either one of them. I grew up in the inner city and I know first hand how this life of a drug trafficker is glorified by the media. He chose to live a criminal life, you "live by the sword" and there is a price you pay for that, Karma. Drug dealers live by a "stop snitching" rule which makes the drug industry thrive with violence that plagues communities. On the other hand we have become a society that believes CSI Miami is real life you simply send a hair sample to washington and the facts of any case are revealed. This same menatlity set Casey Anthony free. It is the law to look at the totality of the circumstances. This idiot may be innocent because of a crooked cop but he is not innocent for the life he chose and the harm he has caused hundreds of people that suffer from addictions, not to mention the families he has ruined. Therefore, this attempt to portray a story of poor inncoent man can get to the back of the line of the millions who suffer from addiction and violent crime at the hands of drug dealers. I know one thing growing up in overtown I didnt worry about violence from a police officer but my family did suffer crimes at the hands of local criminals who will do anything for a buck. Guys like this that have a long rap sheets know how to manipulate the system and people who wil read and believe this criminals story.

Lucky Lieberman
Lucky Lieberman

loveboat2010, only a person of ignorance, who has no respect for the democracy of America woukd write such a cold, distorted and hateful comment. Your actions put you in the same category as the arresting police officer and the assistant U.S. Attorney in this case. They are the real criminals.

Lucky in South Beach

ivxx
ivxx

I get it, we should focus on 1 strike and your out then. If you get a speeding ticket, revoke your license.

Obviously this man made mistakes and he's paid for them. Hell those mistakes contributed to the image that the judge and jury saw when he sat in that court room.

"Oh lord, another wanna be gangsta drug dealer."

The difference is this man made his mistakes and moved on, then was dragged into this because god forbid someone make a legit living and live in the ghetto. Do you still live in Overtown? I bet you shot out of there like a bat out of hell once you got some money.

Whether he made bad decisions in his life is irrelevant, this man has been railroaded into the prison system. For you to sit there and insinuate that he deserves this because he "worked with Colombians" is ridiculous.

loveboat2010
loveboat2010

Let me get this straight, I write a comment on The New Times expressing my opinion as provided by the constitution and you are putting me in the same category as a corrupt cop and notorious drug trafficker? wow, you have gone a little above ignorance and into dumb ass category. Put down the bong and admiration for street life which you know nothing about. I grew up in Overtown, I never sold or aquinted myself with drug dealers which thanks to hardwork and drive I have a beautiful family and legal career. You my friend watch MTV and think these rappers actually care about community and live the life they portray. Glorifying the life of a drug trafficker has ruined many cultures and lost youths. When you live in such despair all you know is cold and straight facts. STop watching tv and walk these neighborhoods for yourself.

 
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