The Christian Broadcasting Network

Browse Videos

Share Email

Unlikely Journey of Forgiveness and Friendship

Meet the white crooked cop who sent an innocent black man to jail. Read Transcript

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

to make a drug bust.

He was a 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.

Well, joining me now is Andrew Collins and Jameel McGee,

and it's an honor to have you both.

Thanks for having us.

You have quite a story of forgiveness.

And it's-- I just think it's a really unlikely one,

where Jameel, you know, I read your story,

and I'm just amazed that you can sit here with the guy that put

you in jail and did so wrongly.

You didn't have any drugs on you,

and you essentially get framed.


By the police who are supposed to be protecting you.


You get framed.


So how did you forgive?

Hm, well, I allowed God in, allowed God in my life.

And essentially I knew I had a son--

my child-- and I didn't want him to value my past

and recreate it into his own.

So I knew I had to let this go.

You know, God is telling me to let it go.

I need to let it go.

And ultimately, it was hurting me more than anybody.

I think that's a strong message, just that phrase,

"I need to let it go because it was hurting me."

A lot of people that hold anger and hold resentment

never get to that point.

It just becomes them.

It becomes them.

How did you see that?

How did you see this isn't what I want to be?

Because it was leading me down the same roads

I've always been, and I just didn't want to continue that.

And I didn't want that life for my son, you know,

and for other kids that looked like my son.

I didn't-- I want them to do something different than I did.

I didn't want them to make the same mistakes that Jameel did.

And in that I didn't have the same--

you know, I didn't have that positive role model to say,

hey, no, don't do that.

Do something different.

I want to give that to my son and other kids like him.


Well, Andrew, let's talk your journey.

Here you are, police, you're sort

of the expert at drug busts.

That's your identity.

That's your ego.

And you go from that to being caught for a lot of bad things,

not just framing people but a lot of bad things.

And then you have to come to grips with who you are.


What happened with you?


I mean, I started police work because I wanted to save lives.

I wanted to bring peace into people's lives.

I grew up in a house of domestic violence.

And one day, a police officer was called,

and he brought peace into my home,

not because he was mean or aggressive,

just because of his presence.

So from that point on, I just wanted to be a police officer.

And I started with really good intentions,

and I was a really good police officer before I was

a really bad police officer.

And it started with small integrity slips.

You know, I don't think anybody wakes up one day and says,

I'm going to steal a million dollars.

I think they start by stealing $10,

and then they see they get away with it.

And then, you know, that slow fade

leads to what becomes your identity.

And by the end of my career, I was a full-blown corrupt police

officer, stealing money from people,

stealing money from the city that I worked for,

planting drugs in crime scenes.

And that all came to a head one day in February of 2008,

where I was caught with crack, heroin,

and marijuana in my office.

And that led to a crisis of faith.

I had come to Jesus when I was seven as my Savior.

You can be the Savior of my life.

Thank You for dying for my sins.

But lordship, that's my role.

I'll take that.

And that's how I lived my life up until 25,

and I found myself sitting in a pastor's office,

crying my eyes out because my life had crumbled.

My career was gone.

My friends were gone.

My wife was confused.

I had just got caught with drugs.

You know, what is this all about?

And that's when I really turned to Jesus

as not only the Savior of my life but the Lord of my life.

And it's been a nine-year love affair, chasing after Him,

seeing what that looks like.

I think you said something remarkably key,

that it started off with something small.

And then, you think you get away with it.


But then it triggers, well, I can do that again,

and I can do that again.

And ultimately, you get to be a slave of it.

And it really doesn't matter what it is.

You're now slave to it, and you can't break out.

And as you'll read in the book, there were so many times

in my career where I took a stance

and said, no more, not doing this anymore.

And then, the very same day, I'd have a temptation

come across my plate.

I'd lift a mattress, and there's thousands

of dollars under the mattress, and I'm the only one

in the room, you know.

You know, I would say, I'm not going to do this anymore.

But there was an enemy that wanted to offer up temptation

over and over.

And I was just so far deep in my pit I couldn't pull myself out.

Do you think what happened to you

was God actually orchestrating it for your benefit

to say I want you?

Yeah, I've had--

GORDON ROBERTSON: Andrew, you're Mine.

I had had people in prison tell

me, oh, when you were born, God knew you were coming to prison.

And I said, He might have known it,

but I don't think that was my mission on Earth, you know.

But He can use all of our bad, all of our messes,

and use them for His good.

And I think that's what happened in my story was, now

that I look back, there was plenty

of times where I had inclinations

that I needed to stop.

There was times that I tried to stop.

And God finally said, enough is enough.

I'm not going to let you hurt yourself anymore.

And I'm not going to let you hurt any more people.

And just through His grace, He allowed

me to fall at that point in history.

Because if I'd have kept going, it

would have been a longer prison sentence,

or I'd have been dead.

I have no doubt about it.

All right.

Well, let's fast forward.

You go to jail.

You go to jail.

You both get out, and then you meet.


And that could have been an explosive situation,

and it turned out to not be one.



Yeah-- ahem--

God, man, God-- it could have very well

been that explosive situation.

But God intervened, and He wanted something different.

He had a different plan for the both of us.

Even though we couldn't see it then in those moments, but God

was already formed a plan.

And He just wanted us to follow it,

and then ultimately I followed that plan.


Let's get to the ultimately.

Because I think at that meeting, you left Andrew

with an emotional memory.

It wasn't a physical encounter, but you left him

with an emotional memory.

And how did you two become friends?

Yeah, so I was working at a nonprofit, the Mosaic

CCDA in Benton Harbor, and Jameel was part

of the Jobs for Life program.

And one day, the director said, hey,

I think that God has laid it on my heart

that you should mentor Zookie.

Do you know Zookie?

And I said, I don't think I know him.

This is Zookie, by the way.

This is the name that his grandma gave him

when he was a little guy.

And so she goes across the street to the class and talks

to Jameel about it and has this conversation.

Hey, Jameel, we finally got your mentor.

We understand that he may have done some things

in the city of Benton Harbor.

We can change him anytime you want

and get you somebody else if you don't want to get him.

And I was like, all right, Ms. P, enough, who is it already?

And she was like, Andrew Collins.

And I was, like, no way.

There's no way.

There's no way.

So then he ends up coming across,

has this God moment where God tells him to walk through it.

And then we met at the cafe.

And when I realized who he was, I started apologizing again.

I felt like God had given me a second chance to apologize.

And he was waving me off, like, it's all good.

It's forgiven.

It's over.

And then I said, can we do this mentor-mentee thing?

He said, I think God wants us to.

And I said, can we pray?

So we prayed together that God would bless our friendship,

and that was in fall of 2015.

And then in the spring of '16, we

had been working together all that time in the cafe,

getting to know each other and journeying together.

And then CBS picked up the story,

and God has been opening platforms

to share about His grace and reconciliation.

I think you two have a story that really fits what's

going on in America today, both the injustice

and then how do you get through that injustice

to reconciliation and to a point of friendship,

a bond that transcends everything that's

happened between you.

I just think it's absolutely incredible.

Do you feel that way?

Oh, yeah, I do.

I definitely think I do because I'm

hopeful that this type of demonstration

will show others that it's possible.

It can be done.

You can get through it.

In that light, God will use whatever

your brokenness, your hurting, He will use it for the good

if you allow.


What would you say to somebody is the first step?

Letting go, letting go of the reins,

let go of the control of it.

Let God control it.


And I would say, there's so many us versus them scenarios

in our world right now.

It's easy to slap my bumper sticker on something and say,

this is what I believe, and I don't care what you believe.

And where it starts is we've got to get

together and, with friendly conversation,

talk about our differences.

When did we lose the art to have a good conversation

and debate each other and walk away still friends?

When did we lose that ability?

It's like it's easier to be angry about it

than it is to say, we've got to work this through.

We're all in this together.

And we need to be one nation under God, yeah.

JAMEEL MCGEE: That's it.

All right.

We can talk a long time, but they're wrapping me.

So if you want to hear more of their story, they have a book.

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

available in stores nationwide.

Thank you both for being here.

It's a great story.

Thank you so much.

JAMEEL MCGEE: Thank you.


Related Podcasts | Do You Know Jesus? | Privacy Notice | Prayer Requests | Support CBN | Contact Us | Feedback
© 2012 Christian Broadcasting Network