Press Release – November 15th, 2013
FBI, SPD Used Paid Informants to Frame Springfield Man
SPRINGFIELD, MA: On Friday, November 15 at 9:00 a.m., friends, family and supporters of Springfield resident Ayyub Abdul-Alim will join him in court as he and his attorney Thomas Robinson present a motion to suppress evidence gathered from an unconstitutional search and arrest of his person in December 2011. Prior to the hearing in court, supporters will hold a vigil on the sidewalk beginning at 7:00 a.m.
Springfield police Officers Ronald Sheehan, Anthony Sowers and Angel Berrios are expected in court as well Wednesday. Police radio transcripts from the night of Ayyub’s arrest and subsequent court filings have described how the officers stopped and searched Ayyub without warrant or cause, then planted a gun on Ayyub when the original search found him unarmed.
Also expected in court is a confidential informant from whom Officer Sheehan says he received information that Ayyub possessed a gun. No identification of this informant has been made in any court proceeding to date, and more information on the relationship between the informant and the Springfield police should be divulged on Wednesday.
If Ayyub and Attorney Robinson are granted their motion to suppress the evidence, Hampden Count District Attorney Mark Mastroianni will be hard put to come up with any reason to keep Ayyub behind bars. The FBI, for their part, will also have some explaining to do concerning their offer of exoneration if Ayyub agrees to become an informant for their as yet unspecified investigation.
Background: Just after 7:00 p.m. on December 9, 2011, Ayyub Abdul-Alim closed up his store Nature’s Garden on State St in Springfield, and walked towards the Getty gas station near the intersection of State and Hancock Streets to get some milk before heading home. A drug bust was occurring at the gas station when Ayyub approached from down the block. Under the orders of Officer Ronald Sheehan, Ayyub was detained by Officer Anthony Sowers and Officer Angel Berrios. Sheehan ordered Sowers and Berrios to search Ayyub for weapons. A police radio transcript shows that an initial search of Ayyub produced no weapons of any sort. After private communications between Sheehan and Berrios, Ayyub was stripped naked outside and searched again by Berrios. Sowers approached Berrios with a handgun, which Berrios then held up as though he found it in Ayyub’s possession.
The current charges against Ayyub are unlawful possession of ammunition without an ID card, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of a loaded firearm – all felonies carrying significant sentences. No other charges have been filed against Ayyub.