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How an Innocent Man Befriended a Crooked Cop

Andrew framed and arrested Jameel on false charges, and both ended up in prison. They join The 700 Club to tell their story and how they chose true reconciliation. Read Transcript

GORDON ROBERTSON: Well, Andrew Collins

used to brag that he could tell if someone had drugs on them

just by looking at them.

Still, his most famous arrest came

after he cuffed a man who didn't have any.

But that didn't stop Andrew from filing a police report

against an innocent man, and ultimately, it

landed both men behind bars.

NARRATOR: Andrew Collins woke up on February 8, 2006, determined

to make a drug bust.

He was narcotics cop trying to make a name for himself.

Jameel McGee headed to the grocery store that morning

and had no idea he wouldn't see his infant son for three more


Andrew set his sights on Jameel as he walked into the store.

Then, falsely accused Jameel of possessing crack cocaine.

Jameel spent three years in a federal prison

as an innocent man, hoping to one day get revenge.

But two years later, after an investigation

for falsifying police reports, Andrew also went to prison.

In their book, "Convicted," Jameel and Andrew

share how their paths crossed as free men,

and why Jameel chose to pursue forgiveness and reconciliation

for themselves, their community, and our racially

divided country.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Well, for the rest of this story,

we bring in Andrew Collins and Jameel McGee.

And welcome to "The 700 Club."

ANDREW AND JAMEEL: Thanks for having us.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Jameel, I'm reading this story

and I've got to say, if it wasn't for bad luck,

you wouldn't have any luck.

It just seems to be an ongoing thing with you.


GORDON ROBERTSON: Do you ever sort of cry out, why, God?

JAMEEL MCGEE: Oh, I did, plenty of times.

Why me?

But now I know why.

I needed to get through those things to be who I am today.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Well, I've got to say

that you're giving Nelson Mandela a run for his money

to come through with a smile.

Take us back to the day when you got arrested.

You were going to see your son.

JAMEEL MCGEE: My son's mother was

on her way to bring him for me to see him for the first time.

I'd just went to go to the store and get some stuff.

I got pulled over that morning for driving on a suspended

license, so I didn't want to make that decision

to drive again.

My cousin's friends was at my auntie's house

where I was living at the time.

And I asked them, could I go to the store?

Would they take me to the store?

And they was like, yeah, I'll take you.

I'll run you over there.

And we get to the store late.

He asked me to use my phone.

I grabbed my phone, went inside the store,

and man, when I came out, it wasn't pretty.

I was being arrested for possession

of drugs, which I didn't have.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Did you did you

think it was just a big mistake and everything was

going to get cleared up?


Even the officer that I was in his car

said, just calm, because I was very, very upset.

And he was just like, calm down.

If you don't have nothing to do with this, then worry about it.

It'll all be cleared up when we get to the station.

And when we got to the station, I was sent to jail.


JAMEEL MCGEE: Yeah, it got worse.

GORDON ROBERTSON: All right, Andrew, I'll turn to you.

What was going on with you that day?

Why did you arrest him?

ANDREW COLLINS: Yeah, so it started the day-- caught

a guy with some crack cocaine.

He made a phone call, ordered up some more crack cocaine,

and then he told me where the vehicle would be

and who was bringing it.

So I had in my mind who the target was.

When I got to the store, the vehicle was there.

There was one guy in the car, but he

had some physical ailments, so I knew that wasn't my target,

because I knew my guy wasn't physically disabled.

Then all of a sudden, another guy

comes out of the store who ended up being Jameel.

So I thought, there's my guy.

So I went up to him.

And I just walked through the entire motion that day

thinking, guilty, guilty until proven innocent.

So my filter was that this guy was absolutely guilty,

and it was my job to bridge the gap.

So I ended up lodging him under the name who I thought he was.

I thought I was going after this target,

and it was two days later that it came to my attention

through fingerprints, that he was not the man.

So I ended up falsifying the report even further

to make sure that the conviction stuck, because in my mind,

I was convinced he was guilty.

And it was my job to--

GORDON ROBERTSON: So that's why you didn't let him go?

ANDREW COLLINS: That's right.

GORDON ROBERTSON: The finger prints came back.

You have the wrong guy and--

ANDREW COLLINS: I just changed the report.

I put a supplemental report in saying, I was wrong that day.

This is who it really was.

GORDON ROBERTSON: This wasn't the only time you did this.

There's a whole string of these.


So there was many instances where

in the beginning of my career, I saw it as creatively

articulating my reports.

I saw it as I wasn't breaking the law,

I was just bending the law to do my job better.

But looking back on it now, that's ridiculous,

and it's illegal.

You can't do those things.

GORDON ROBERTSON: And you went to jail for it.


I ended up getting caught with crack, heroin,

and marijuana in my office.

And that was the end of my world as I had built it.

GORDON ROBERTSON: How long do you spend in jail?

ANDREW COLLINS: So I did 18 months.

I was looking at 22 years, originally.

I accepted the Lord at age seven.

I accepted Jesus as my Savior, but not as my Lord.

So the rest of my life, I kind of walked out my own lordship.

And that kind of brought me back to my place of faith.

A three day journey.

Got caught on a Tuesday, thought about killing myself

on Wednesday, and then talked to a pastor on Thursday.

And we talked about that lordship piece.

Even though I had to come back to Christ, come back to faith,

I still had consequences I had to walk through.

But we saw God's grace through it all.

We prayed for God's grace, and that he

would soften the heart of the judge and the prosecutor.

So we went from 22 years to 12 years to 10 years

to seven years to five years, and then I

ended up with a 37-month sentence,

which I served 18 months on.

GORDON ROBERTSON: All right, you ultimately get out.

It ultimately comes out you're wrongfully convicted.

You get out.

And then Andrew's out.

Let's fast forward to the moment where you see him

and what goes through your mind.

JAMEEL MCGEE: I was angry.

Everything I thought about in prison

and that I made a goal for myself in prison--

whenever I got home, I was going to try to kill him.

I was going to hurt him.

That was my goal.

And then when I came home, when I first saw him--

now we face-to-face--

I'm like, oh boy, yeah.

It's time to get him.

Right now.

So I beelined right over there to him.

I stick on my hand and asked him, do you remember who I was?

And he was acting like he was kind of--

like yeah.

He said-- and as soon as he said my name, Jameel McGee,

I grabbed his hand, and I locked on it.

My mind was telling me just to hit him right there,

hit him, hit him, hit him.

GORDON ROBERTSON: So you reach out

your hand to shake his hand?

Then you grab it and, you're going to hit him.


I'm squeezing his hand really, really tight.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Andrew, what's going through your mind?

ANDREW COLLINS: Yeah, so I'm standing in the park that day

during a church outreach event, and I

see this guy coming at me.

And it was clear that he was coming straight to me.

I was going through the Rolodex in my mind of the people who

I had offended.

And as soon as I shook his hand, it came to me--

Jameel McGee.

And when he gripped down, I was thinking, oh no,

this is not going to end well. because I felt like God had

called me back to the city to be reconciled with people

for the wrongdoings I had done.

He looked at his son, and he said,

tell my son why he missed out on years of his daddy's life.

And I said, man, there's nothing I can do but tell you

I'm sorry.

I'm so sorry for the things I did.

I was addicted to myself and my ego.

I'm so sorry for the things I did to you.

And I wanted reconciliation that day,

but as you read in the book, that's

not exactly how that day ended.

GORDON ROBERTSON: How did that day ended?

ANDREW COLLINS: That day ended with Jameel leaving the park

after saying some-- just a Christian that--

he said some things to me.

GORDON ROBERTSON: That you can't say on TV

ANDREW COLLINS: And then we didn't see each other again.

GORDON ROBERTSON: But you let go.

JAMEEL MCGEE: Yes, I let go.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Then what happened to you

when you let go?

JAMEEL MCGEE: Man, some things started changing for me.

I began to do a lot of things different

than I normally would.

But when I let go, I knew then that I

was giving my son something different to look up to.

So letting go--

GORDON ROBERTSON: Did he get that?


Yes, he got that.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Was they expecting you to--

JAMEEL MCGEE: Probably so.

GORDON ROBERTSON: --break bad.

ANDREW COLLINS: Everybody was expecting that that day

at the park.

JAMEEL MCGEE: Pretty much everybody that was there

expected something to go down--

GORDON ROBERSTON: And you let go.

JAMELL MCGEE: And I let it go.


And now-- and I find this absolutely amazing-- you

guys are friends.


GORDON ROBERTSON: You're friends.

You didn't just let it go.

You said, I'm going to be part of his life,

and he's going to be a part of my life.

ANDREW COLLINS: I'm closer to this man

and than a lot of my family.

It used to be, there was a lot of that

that was built out of guilt at the beginning

of our friendship.

And he's just been so passionate and so caring to me

to allow me to walk through that process

every time I apologize to him when

I come to a new revelation of how wrong I had really

treated him.

And we're able to just look at life together.

We stand for something greater than ourselves.

It's a black man who was innocent but got convicted

and a white police officer.

We understand we stand for something bigger in our country

right now, and that God has given us this opportunity.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Well, let's talk about this.

I mean, how do you view your story speaking

into "Black Lives Matter?"



ANDREW COLLINS: I mean, I look at a month ago,

Jameel had a really bad encounter with police officers,

where they accused him of smelling like marijuana,

and by the end of the day, he's sitting

in the back of a squad car, almost identical story

from my incident with him.

And as they search his car, they find our book in the trunk.

And then the whole scene changes.

They called the tow truck back.

They're no longer towing his vehicle.

They let him out of the car, take the handcuffs off of him

even though they've placed their hands on him.

No drugs were ever found because no drugs were ever present.

And yet, I get pulled over two weeks after that because I was

speeding-- because I was really wrong--

and never once was I worried about getting pulled out

of my car.

Never once-- I shook the guy's hand

and thanked him because he was nice to me.

And he wrote it for five over instead of 18 over.

There's a difference in how we perceive things

and how we've experienced police interactions,

and we get to speak to that.

We'll be in front of the Michigan State Police

in November.

We've been in front of Little Rock Police Department,

and we hope that there will be more opportunities

to speak to police departments in the cities.

GORDON ROBERTSON: You think it will change?

JAMEEL MCGEE: I'm hopeful.


JAMEEL MCGEE: I'm definitely hopeful.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Reading your life story,

you have a long history of really bad encounters

with the police.


A lot of that I definitely want to say, they were my decisions.

They were my decisions and--

GORDON ROBERTSON: Some of them weren't.

ANDREW COLLINS: When the state police are pulling you just


JAMEEL MCGEE: Oh no, not that one.

GORDON ROBERTSON: That's not on you.

ANDREW COLLINS: Well, like he shared in our talks

before is, the day that I arrested him, he chose to--

I can't stand on the same side as Jameel

and say that it's his fault. It's not, but he says,

I jumped in the car that day.

And I knew the guys were up to no good,

but I didn't know they were doing that at the moment.

JAMEEL MCGEE: But I'm hopeful though, I'm hopeful.

I'm hopeful it will change, even though with the last incident

with the police.

It kind of jarred me a little bit

to make me realize this is still going on.

It's everywhere.

GORDON ROBERTSON: It's gotta go deep in your spirit--

not again.


GORDON ROBERTSON: Here I am again.

JAMEEL MCGEE: Yes, so that threw me way off.

It threw me way off.

GORDON ROBERTSON: How did you get peace?

Because I see it today-- you're smiling.

This is just a month ago.

This is fresh.

JAMEEL MCGEE: This is fresh.

GORDON ROBERTSON: And you're smiling, and you're saying,

God is good and I'm loving life today.

How do you do that?

JAMEEL MCGEE: Man, I keep pushing.

I know if I fall back off into the anger, that type of mindset

is not going to change anything.

Because all they're going to get is the angry guy.

If I change my approach and keep going about my day,

OK, that happened.

I can't do nothing about--

that just happened.

So I can't do nothing about it.

It already happened.

So what I can do something about,

is stopping it from happening to myself again

and other people that looks like.


Keep preaching that.

That's a great message.

I could talk to you guys for a long time.

We're out of time.

If you want to know more about this story,

Andrew and Jameel have collaborated for a book.

It's called "Convicted," and it's

available in stores nationwide.

I encourage you to get it.

We need answers today.

We certainly know the problem of what's going on,

and we need answers.

And this book will show you a way.

Yeah, thanks for being here.





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