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David Weaver

Other North Carolina Exonerations
On August 23, 2018, police in Raleigh, North Carolina, arrested 40-year-old David Weaver and charged him with sale of cocaine and possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public park.

The arrest was based on a confidential informant named Dennis Williams telling Officer Omar Abdullah that he had paid Weaver $40 for 2.8 grams of cocaine on August 22, 2018.

Abdullah took Weaver into custody and later added two additional charges: misdemeanor possession of marijuana; and trafficking in cocaine by possession. Abdullah said in court papers that he found 36 grams of cocaine in a brown paper towel hidden in Weaver’s underwear. Under North Carolina law, possession of more than 28 grams (one ounce) of cocaine is considered trafficking, with enhanced sentences for convictions.

Weaver maintained his innocence, but his bond was set at $250,000, and he remained in the Wake County Jail for more than 16 months until he entered a guilty plea to cocaine trafficking on January 22, 2020. He received a sentence of between 35 months and 51 months in prison.

In the months after Weaver’s plea, Abdullah and Williams worked together on 12 cases where Williams said that defendants had sold him heroin. After these men were arrested, laboratory tests reported that the substances tested negative for heroin. In some instances, the material turned out to be brown sugar, and most of these cases were dismissed. The police department stopped using Williams as an informant on May 22, 2020. The Wake County District Attorney began a review of cases involving Abdullah and Williams. Williams was indicted on five charges of obstruction of justice on August 24, 2021.

In September 2021, the City of Raleigh paid $2 million to the defendants who were arrested on heroin charges for substances that later tested negative. All but one had their charges dismissed. Curtis Logan pled guilty to possession of a counterfeit controlled substance, and he was exonerated on September 24, 2020.

The police department fired Abdullah in October 2021.

A few months later, Weaver contacted the attorneys who had represented those defendants in their lawsuit. One of the attorneys, Abraham Rubert-Schewel, filed a motion to review the video footage captured by Williams and logged as evidence. Weaver was not visible in the footage, and there was no audio or video evidence of a sale.

Weaver’s attorneys and prosecutors filed a consent motion for appropriate relief on March 4, 2022. The motion said Williams had been found to be unreliable and the video did not independently corroborate the information Williams told Abdullah. Weaver completed his prison sentence on March 13, 2022.

A judge granted the motion to vacate his conviction and a separate motion to dismiss the charge on March 14, 2022.

On June 15, 2022, Weaver filed a civil-rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina against Abdullah, other police officers, and the City of Raleigh. In the lawsuit, Weaver said he never sold Williams any cocaine, nor did he have any cocaine in his possession at the time of his arrest. He noted that the price Williams allegedly paid for the 2.8 grams was a quarter of the street price, an indicator of the falsity of the purported drug deal.

After his arrest, Weaver said in the lawsuit, Abdullah and officers found a small amount of marijuana and took him to a police substation. Weaver said Abdullah asked him to work as a confidential informant. He refused. Weaver said he was then strip-searched, and he could hear Abdullah tell another officer about planting the drugs in his underwear.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 6/27/2022
Last Updated: 6/27/2022
State:North Carolina
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2018
Sentence:2 years and 11 months to 4 years and 3 months
Age at the date of reported crime:40
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No