Drug case raises serious questions about police conduct

CLEVELAND - An Action News investigation into a drug case raises serious questions about police conduct in Cleveland.

The Investigator, Tom Meyer, had the story that you couldn't see anywhere else.

Drug suspect Terrance Moore said that police went too far by trying to shake him down and pocket his money.

"I just felt tricked all the way," Moore said.

Moore's attorney, James Willis, advised his client to start tape recording his conversations with police.

"It didn't sound right to me," Willis said.

It all began when police say they found drugs in Moore's trailer home. Detectives wanted to cut a deal with Moore. If he snitched on drug dealers, he wouldn't get indicted. However, they first wanted Moore to dump his lawyer and use an attorney who they recommended.

Moore taped that conversation.

"We have dealt with many, many, many of his clients before and a lot of guys would say, 'Yeah, we'll work with you. Then they get a hold of Mr. Willis and Willis talks them out of it. Then they wind up going to prison for a long time,'" a detective is heard telling Moore.

"I think it's terrible," Willis said. "I think it would be bad judgment on the part of anyone who's been accused of a crime to allow the people who are accusing them to select an attorney for them."

Moore said police wanted attorney Brett Merner to represent him, and that's when they started talking money. He said that detectives wanted him to give them $1,500 so that they could hire Merner for him.

Moore could only come up with $500 -- money that he planned to give to Willis. During a taped conversation, Moore asked police to advise him on what to do with the money -- give it to Willis or give it to them.

"How do you want me to do that?" Moore is heard asking the detective. "(Do) you want me to stop the check or something?"

"Let me check with some people this evening and by the time we get together this evening, I'll have some better answers for you on that because if we let everybody know what we were doing, we would be out of business," the detective responded.

Moore said that he cashed the $500 money order after having that conversation and gave the cash to a narcotics detective. He said that he never saw the money again.

The money was supposed to be a payment to secure Merner's services, but Merner had no knowledge of the case when Action News approached him.

"I have received no money from Mr. Moore or from an agent on behalf of Mr. Moore," Merner said.

Moore has been busted for drugs in the past. This time, he said that he cooperated with police and got burned. He's not only out $500, but he was indicted as well.

The FBI and the Cuyahoga County prosecutor acknowledge that they've interviewed Moore and said that they're in the process of evaluating his information.