Tallahassee, Calvin Riley

Police Allegedly Plant Evidence During Tallahassee Traffic Stop

A routine traffic stop in Tallahassee took a turn for Calvin Riley, sparking allegations of evidence planting by the Tallahassee Police.

According to Our Tallahassee, a routine traffic stop on a tranquil May evening in Tallahassee took a harrowing turn for Calvin Riley, sparking allegations of evidence-planting by the Tallahassee Police Department and raising questions about the thin boundary between law enforcement and misconduct.

The saga unfolded when Riley, behind the wheel of his white Mercedes Benz, was pulled over by a 26-year-old TPD recruit on South Monroe Street. What transpired next would plunge Riley into a legal quagmire, culminating in accusations of planted evidence by Tallahassee police and a nightmarish encounter with the law.

Following the traffic stop, Riley found himself accused of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license after officers allegedly planted an empty liquor bottle in his vehicle. “The night nearly ruined my life,” Riley said.

In a 44-minute-long body camera footage, officers appear to maneuver through potential charges, seeking grounds for Riley’s arrest. The video captured discussions between officers about concocting a plan to arrest Riley, including the decision to administer a voluntary field sobriety test.

Despite Riley’s refusal to undergo the optional test, Tallahassee police officers purportedly shifted their focus from marijuana to alcohol, with one officer pouring out a liquid onto the street outside Riley’s car. Subsequently, they claimed to have found an open bottle of vodka inside his vehicle, which Riley vehemently denied.

After initially asserting that Riley emitted the odor of marijuana, officers subsequently alleged that Riley now emanated the scent of alcohol once they had secured him in the back of Oliver’s patrol vehicle.

“Is there enough, like before that?” After seating Riley in the back of her squad car, Oliver inquired of Mueth.

“There’s nothing we can do for the signal one portion of it? Because he refused?” Oliver inquires of Mueth whether they could charge him with a DUI. Mueth clarifies that since the field sobriety test was voluntary at the time, they couldn’t charge him for refusing it.

As Riley sat in the back of Oliver’s squad car, officers combed through his vehicle, but their search turned up empty-handed for any marijuana.

“Oh, there’s vodka in his seat… vodka was found,” Officer Oliver narrates to her body-worn camera. While rifling through Riley’s car, Officer Mueth’s body camera captures Oliver displaying a full bottle of cognac. Oliver also indicates an insulated stainless steel tumbler-style cup in the center console, alleging it “smelled like alcohol.”

Yet, the body-worn camera footage doesn’t depict the officers sniffing the cup or removing it from the center console. Riley refutes their claims, asserting the cup contained Arizona Green Tea, his beverage of choice. Additional footage showed multiple Arizona Green Tea bottles in his backseat.

Amidst the chaos, officers orchestrated a strategic maneuver, transferring Riley to a different patrol car to shift responsibility for drafting the arrest report. However, questions about the legality of their actions linger, with allegations that Officer Oliver’s actions violated TPD policy, despite her claims to the contrary.

As Riley’s case unfolds in court, Judge Jason Jones presides over pretrial motions, grappling with the admissibility of evidence and the officer’s conduct during the traffic stop. Despite attempts to strike certain evidence, the road ahead for Riley remains fraught with uncertainty as his trial date looms.