Another Botched Drug Bust in Manassas Park

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about a bust conducted by the same police department as the one below. In this one, undercover officers decided to apprehend the suspect in the parking lot of a busy shopping center, a confrontation that ended in a public shootout.

The impetus of the parking lot confrontation was apparently a tip from an informant that the suspect had drugs on him. Why police couldn’t wait to apprehend him in a place less dangerous to the general public, I don’t know. One thing about the original article jumped out me, though. This sentence:

Police did not say whether they found drugs in Jenkins’ car.

Usually in a public police debacle like this one, officials release anything and everything they have on the suspect, both to make him look bad, and to justify their use of force. That they didn’t in this case speaks volumes.

That was last May. The state of Virginia’s criminal courts system has a handy website that lets you look up what charges the state has pending or dismissed against a given suspect. If you look up the name of the suspect in this case, Erving Eugene Jenkins, you’ll see something interesting. First, four of the nine charges of causing bodily injury to a law enforcement officer were dismissed. Five are still pending before a grand jury.

But the drug charge? Nolle prosequi, meaning prosecutors determined there wasn’t enough evidence to charge.

Which means that in all likelihood, police confronted that this guy in an unnecessarily aggressive and public manor, ended up shooting up a public parking lot where people were shopping…and the guy had nothing on him.

Now, I don’t know much about Mr. Jenkins. For all I know, he may be a creep. A search of his prior record indicates a slew of charges in 2000 in what seems to indicated an armed breaking and entering/abduction case. All of those were nol-pros, too.

But that’s sort of beside the point. The question here is, why was such a violent, public confrontation necessary? It obviously wasn’t because the narcotics team had certain proof the guy was carrying drugs.

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