Episode 622: Drive Up Drugs
(EMMY Award Winner)
Above is the extended version of the 'Drive Up Drugs' news feature that won JohnTV's Video Vigilante Brian Bates an EMMY in 2009. The first part of the video is the actual news story. The second part is the raw footage of the drug dealing. The third part is excerpts of raw video from the day of the police sting.
Details: (by Brian Bates) - In May of 2008 I was out video taping (literally taping - no hard drive or HD video yet) street prostitution on S. Robinson Ave. At some point I witness a street prostitute we call 'Scary Sherry' jump into a 'Johns' car. Sherry is a drug addict who also claims to be bi-polar.
Sherry convinces he 'John' to take her to her drug dealer before they engage in a sex act - she's hurting for a high that bad.
As I follow Sherry and her 'John' they drive to a section 8 housing complex called Ambassador Courts - this place has a long and horrible reputation for drugs, prostitution, gang activity and violence.
When Sherry arrives at Ambassador Courts she jumps out of the John's vehicle and runs straight to a crack dealer. Sherry buys her crack with the $20 she charged her 'John' and then heads back to his car.
Up to that point I had never seen such blatant street level drug dealing. After returning to Robinson I decided to get some fresh batteries and video tape and headed out to see if I could document the drug dealing and identify the dealers.
After returning to Ambassador Courts I remained in my car recording footage for a few hours.
I turned my footage over to Ali Myer at Ch4 so they could do a feature story.
When ch4 showed the video to the police, the first thing they asked was "Who video taped this? We need to meet with him." However, after they told police it was me, they decided they didn't want to talk to the videographer after all - wouldn't want to have to admit that I'm responsible for what later became the largest street drug bust in Oklahoma City history (based on number of people arrested - according to police).
For whatever reason, even though police now had unbelievable evidence of drug dealing - some at the hands of kids as young as 14 - they choose not to act for several weeks.
In fact, it looked like they were not going to do anything until they realized the local news was going to air the footage and the police would have to respond as to why they hadn't made any arrests.
Bates was awarded a regional EMMY in 2009 for his footage.
Bates often tapes drug activity, but this was the most obvious example.