In prison, Jameel “Zuki” McGee vowed revenge on the cop who framed him unjustly.
“I made a goal for myself in prison to harm the officer whenever I got out,” Jameel says in an “I am second” video. “I was deeply hurt by everything that happened.”
But three things softened his simmering rage: He found out that he had become a father. Second, the corrupt cop got saved. Third, Jameel started reading his Bible in the cell.
Today, Jameel McGee, wrongly convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, and former corrupt cop Andrew Collins are friends and brothers in Christ thanks to an unusual outpouring of grace and forgiveness.
Years after the fateful false accusation, years after being released from jail before schedule, Jameel happened to see the formerly crooked cop who stole years out of his life. Jameel was with his son and so was Andrew.
Jameel was quick to forgive. Evil was overturned by grace.
Andrew Collins had a rough home life. Growing up in Benton Harbor City, Michigan, he decided to become a cop because a police officer, summoned to his parent’s home, brought peace during one particularly acute domestic dispute. Little Andrew associated heroism with the cop.
“I remember thinking from that point on, that’s what I want to do with the rest of my life,” Andrew says.
He started police work with high ideals. But eventually, his sense of justice crumbled and the old evil upbringing began to exercise a bizarre control over his professional course.
Jameel McGee also grew up in tough circumstances.
“Mom used to kick the crap out of us,” says Jameel, the youngest of six. Dad left the picture early on. “Violence became a part of my nature.”
Their lives became intertwined in February of 2006 when Officer Andrew, on the narcotics beat for four months, acted on a tip and was looking for a crack dealer. The car matched the description, but the suspect did not.
Then Jameel walked out of the grocery store with milk and groceries. Because he nearly matched the description, Andrew moved in.
“Where’s the dope?” he barked at Jameel.
“What?” Jameel responded. “What dope?”
Andrew, who was plain clothes, pulled his badge. Jameel, who had been confused by the confrontation, suddenly realized that something had gone terribly wrong.
“This is for real,” he thought.
Cops are rewarded for arrests and convictions. Andrew decided that Jameel was his suspect and made the arrest. He wrote in his report that he found dope on him. That was a lie. Jameel was charged with possession with intent to distribute. Andrew fudged facts, knowing this would secure a conviction in court. He didn’t really think much about the possibility that he nabbed the wrong guy.
This is what Andrew had come to. The old ideals of heroism has succumbed to the dirty work of busting guys without regard for the means. Sadly, his conscience didn’t bother him.
Andrew’s life had descended into utter corruption, and there was no way out… until he got caught.
“Two years after I met Jameel, I got caught with crack, heroin and marijuana in my office,” Andrew says. “I got caught on a Tuesday. I thought about killing myself on Wednesday.
“I couldn’t see coming back from this.”
Fortunately, his wife was a Christian, and at her urging, Andrew went to see her pastor. He confessed everything. Read the rest of crooked cop and framed man.