Convicted: A Crooked Cop, An Innocent Man, And An Unlikely Journey Of Forgiveness And Friendship by Jameel Zookie McgeeConvicted: A Crooked Cop, An Innocent Man, And An Unlikely Journey Of Forgiveness And Friendship by Jameel Zookie Mcgee

Convicted: A Crooked Cop, An Innocent Man, And An Unlikely Journey Of Forgiveness And Friendship

byJameel Zookie Mcgee, Andrew Collins, Mark Tabb

Hardcover | September 19, 2017

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Jameel McGee: “For the next three years not a day went by that I didn’t think about my son who I had never seen and the cop who had kept me from him. And for most of those three years I promised myself that if I ever saw this cop again, I was going to kill him. I intended to keep that promise.”
 
Andrew Collins: “I watched this angry man march through a crowd, a little boy and another man struggling to keep up with him....The man walked straight up to me, stopped, and stuck out his hand. I took it. “Remember me?” he asked in a tone that sounded more like a threat than a question.
Somehow, a name came to me. ‘Jameel McGee,’ I replied.”
 
It reads like a gripping crime novel…except this story really happened.
 
Racial tensions had long simmered in Benton Harbor, a small city on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, before the day a white narcotics officer--more focused on arrests than justice—set his sights on an innocent black man. But when officer Andrew Collins framed Jameel McGee for possession of crack cocaine, the surprising result was not a race riot but a transformative journey for both men.
 
Falsely convicted, McGee spent three years in federal prison. Collins also went to prison a few years later for falsifying police reports. While behind bars, the faith of both men deepened. But the story took its most unexpected turn once they were released--when their lives collided again in a moment brimming with mistrust and anger. The two were on a collision course—not to violence—but forgiveness. 
 
As current as today’s headlines, this explosive true story reveals how these radically conflicted men chose to let go of fear and a thirst for revenge to pursue reconciliation for themselves, their community, and our racially divided nation.
Jameel McGee continues to serve as a mentor to Benton Harbor youth. He has previously worked for E.S.S. Emergency Shelter Services, assisting the homeless find housing. Andrew Collins is a former police offer who now is a licensed pastor ministering to youth as part of Young Life. Both men live in Michigan.Mark Tabb Mark is the New Yor...
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Title:Convicted: A Crooked Cop, An Innocent Man, And An Unlikely Journey Of Forgiveness And FriendshipFormat:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.6 × 6.4 × 0.7 inPublished:September 19, 2017Publisher:The Crown Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0735290725

ISBN - 13:9780735290723

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth the read I enjoyed this book, it was well written and thorough. It did jump around slightly, but that was only because the two men were each telling their side of the story and had different back stories that led up to the moment, but it was clearly marked when they switched points of view. I was a bit hesitant at first to get this book as I was part of a book launch team so there was only the blurb to go on. I'm normally not a fan of non-fiction books, because I find they can be a bit slow paced at times. The blurb made me decide to go through with it though, and I'm glad I did. It's hard to believe something like this could still happen in todays world, but unfortunately it does. I grew up in a town of about 20,000 people, and almost everyone is white or native. In my grad class of 300, I can think maybe a handful of students who weren't, and only one black person. Maybe because there wasn't such a divide as poor blacks in one town and white rich in the next I had blinders on to the rest of the world. Or maybe I'm just so accustomed to racism I don't notice it my day to day life. Either way, we can only pray that one day we'll live in a world where a story like this could never happen.
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from With God you can overcome. I have been thinking about the book, a lot. I am amazed at how much Jameel went thru and how much he has forgiven. And to become friends with the man who has changed his life so drastically. My heart hurts for them both. I am thankful that they both are able to get past the hurts and move forward with their lives.
Date published: 2017-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring story of forgiveness Convicted is a true story of two men who were caught in the snare of ego, greed, and corruption, one inadvertently, the other intentionally. Jameel McGee is an innocent man who was convicted because of a corrupt and arrogant cop, Andrew Collins. Convicted is a story of God's grace and redemptive power in a frustrating situation of injustice that could have led to murder and revenge. Racial unrest, poverty, and drugs all played a part in creating a scenario where this true life tragedy occurred. A young man making a wrong choice and a cop who had no qualms about shaping the truth to ensure indictments...you say what you need to say to get a conviction and who cares whose life is shattered. The journey to freedom from fear and anger and to friendship and fellowship from this appalling beginning is an amazing testament to a God of second chances. Written from both men's viewpoints, readers are given an eye witness account of the background, arrest, conviction, and imprisonment--gritty and divisive. The story moves quickly and kept my interest as I wondered how things would be turned around...how God would work in each of their lives to bring about reconciliation. Convicted sends a powerful message that God is alive and at work in our lives as we let go and let Him do His redemptive, restorative work. I received a complimentary advance reader copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a review and the opinions are my own.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story of redemption and forgiveness! When I first picked up this book, I didn't really know what to expect. The story sounded interesting enough, but I was expecting such a beautifully written and powerful book! Wow! This redemption and forgiveness story is simply amazing! This is the true story of Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins. These two first meet when Andrew Collins, a police officer at the time, arrests Jameel McGee for something he didn't do and lies on the police report to get a conviction. Jameel is sent to prison, and eventually Andrew is arrested for his crimes, but it is only the beginning of their journey. I found this book to be written in a very compelling way. Non-fiction can sometime feel a bit drab, but not Convicted. The story is told from alternating POVs, both Jameel's and Andrew's. They each get to give their side of the story. This is a book that I will never recommend enough. Furthermore, this is a real story, which makes it that much more powerful!
Date published: 2017-08-07

Read from the Book

PrologueAndrewThe crowd parted like the Red Sea. At first I could not see what was happening or why the hundreds gathered in Benton Harbor’s Broadway Park for our church’s Hoops, Hotdogs, and Hip-Hop Festival moved aside so quickly. But then I saw him. I recognized the face but I had trouble putting a name to it. Whoever he was, he was angry, angry enough that the crowd instinctively cleared a path for him. And he was heading straight toward me.To be honest, I had expected someone like him, in an apparent rage, to come and find me. This was, after all, the first time I’d shown my face in the heart of Benton Harbor since my release from federal prison. A couple of people I’d arrested back when I was a policeman had already found me. I ran into one guy at a mall right before I went to prison. He thanked me for coming clean about what I’d done because it got him out of jail. The rest of these reunions had come after my release. I ran into people at the grocery store and at gas stations and anywhere I went in the area. Some tried to act tough when they first saw me, but they ended up just smiling and laughing because they’d gone free while I went to prison. A couple others had cussed me out for ruining their lives. One guy threatened to get even.And now this.I glanced around the park, looking for my five-year-old daughter. Bringing her to the park with me had seemed like a good idea when I left my house.What can go wrong at a block party? I thought. When my daughter asked if she could play on the swings with some other kids, I told her sure, have fun. Who wants to spend a day at the park watching their dad hand out snow cones? Now, as I watched this angry man march through the crowd, a little boy and another man struggling to keep up with him, I wished she were right next to me. Perhaps he might think twice about doing anything in front of a five-year-old girl.The man walked straight up to me, stopped, and stuck out his hand. I took it. “Remember me?” he asked in a tone that sounded more like a threat than a question.Somehow a name came to me. “Jameel McGee,” I replied. His grip on my hand tightened when I said his name. I tugged back a little, which only made him grip down that much harder, to the point of pain. I half expected to hear my bones crunch.I looked closely at Jameel to try to get a read on what he was about to do. While I was a cop I was pretty good at reading people. What I read in Jameel made me even more nervous. His jaw was clinched, the muscles pulsating on the side. I glanced over to the man who had come up behind him. He looked terrified, not of me, but of what was about to happen. Then there was the little boy, who seemed more interested in the snow cones than anything else. He was a little older than my daughter.I hope she doesn’t come over here right now, I thought.My mind raced. I had to do something to diffuse the growing tension, so I did what I had planned to do in exactly this situation: I apologized. “Jameel, man, I am so sorry for what I did to you. I, er, I was an addict back then, not to drugs, but to my own ego and making a name for myself. That caused me to do a lot of stuff I’m ashamed of now. I was a real messed-up person back then, and unfortunately, people like you paid the price for that. I am so sorry.”Jameel’s expression did not change. His grip stayed tight on my hand. I couldn’t feel my fingers.“But I’ve got to tell you,” I continued, “that I’m a new person today. That guy you’re mad at, I’m mad at him too, because, you know, he threw away his career and he left his wife and daughter behind when he went to prison. But that guy’s dead now. He was crucified with Christ. Today, I’m a new creation in Christ. I am a different man, one who is very, very sorry for what I did to you back then.”The whole time I’m talking, I’m staring at Jameel, looking for some sort of reaction, either good or bad. But there’s nothing. His expression never changes and his grip never loosens.When I finished my little speech, Jameel huffed a couple of times and sort of shook his head. He bit his lip and looked over toward the little boy, then back at me. Finally, without loosening his grip on my hand even a little bit, he nodded over toward the boy and said, “I need you to tell him why his daddy missed out on three years of his life.”I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. What was I supposed to say tothat? I didn’t have an answer. I couldn’t give him back his time with his son that I had taken away from him. But I also thought perhaps we had made a little progress because he hadn’t punched me in the face yet. I decided to build on that. I now knew the little guy was his son. Jameel is a dad and I am a dad, so I decided to connect with him on a dad-to-dad level. I wanted to let him know I understood his pain and frustration because I had felt it myself. So, like an idiot, I opened my mouth again.“Jameel, man, I’m sorry. I know how you feel. I missed out on eighteen months of my daughter’s life when I went to prison,” I said.Immediately, Jameel said, “I don’t care what you missed out on.”I shut up. You idiot! I shouted at myself in my mind.Why did you bring up your little eighteen-month slap on the wrist when he served three years because of you?I wanted to disappear, to grab my daughter, jump in my car, get out of Benton Harbor, and never come back. More than anything, I just wanted this to be over, not just my confrontation with Jameel, but all of it. I’d already quit one job when a customer recognized me as the guy who put him in prison and threatened to come back and shoot up the place. How many more times was I going to find myself face to face with someone who blamed me for ruining his life? And when might one of these meetings turn into something from which I could not walk away?Jameel’s jaw muscles kept flexing. The grip on my hand grew even tighter. He didn’t just look angry. I saw a war going on inside this man, a war I believed was about to spill outside as well. The man with Jameel turned away like he didn’t want to see what was about to go down. I braced myself. It had been a long time since someone had hit me in the face.I hope my daughter doesn’t see this, I thought.1February 8, 2006JameelI knew I was taking a chance driving with a suspended license, which was why I was extra careful. I didn’t speed. I didn’t float any stop signs. I signaled before every turn. My taillights and brake lights all worked. The police should not have pulled me over, but this was Benton Harbor, and I am a black man, so I got pulled over anyway. The cop was cool, though. When he ran my license and found out it was suspended because of a couple of unpaid speeding tickets, he could have run me in. But he didn’t. He handed me a ticket and told me to drive home and park my car until I paid my fines.That’s cool. Okay. I can do that. I had no plans for the rest of the day anyway.Even before the cop pulled me over I had planned on taking care of the tickets soon. A couple of months earlier I made a deal to open a car wash in Michigan City, Indiana, as soon as the weather warmed up in March. Before making the deal, I did a test run. I did more than wash cars. My shop did full-car detailing, both inside and out. I worked twelve hours or more a day, but that was all right with me. Owning my own business and being my own boss had been my dream all my life.Most of the paperwork was signed, and I had only a few details left to take care of before I opened up the shop for good the next month. The last thing I was going to do was let some unpaid speeding tickets keep me from driving forty minutes each day between Benton Harbor and Michigan City to run my business. I definitely planned to take care of them in time to open my car wash.After the cop let me leave, I drove over to my grandma’s house where I was staying and decided to just chill for the rest of the day. Some of my cousins were there, along with some of their friends, most of whom I didn’t know. There is always a crowd at my grandma’s house. I’ve got a ton of cousins, and some of them were always around. That wasn’t a big deal for me.I hooked up my PlayStation 2 and started playing some games. One of my cousins came in and played a couple of games with me. He told me he really liked my game system. “Why don’t you sell it to me?” he asked.I told him, “No man, I don’t think so.”“I’ll give you a hundred bucks right now,” he said.“All right, sold.” I needed the cash to pay off my tickets. Between that and the money I had from a check I’d just cashed from another job, I had about all I needed to pay them off.After I sold the game to my cousin, we kept on playing. This was pretty much all I had planned for the day until one of my brothers, Buck, called to tell me he’d just talked to my ex.I’d had a long-term girlfriend, but we had broken up over a year before.“Yeah, what did she say?” I asked.“She wants to bring your baby boy over to see you today, this afternoon,” Buck said.“Wow, man, finally,” I said, excited. My ex and I had dated and then lived together for quite a while. However, things between us started falling apart when we found out she was pregnant. I started working extra-long hours so I could take care of my new family. At the time I worked a couple of different jobs. This was before the opportunity for the car wash came up. She didn’t like my working so much and eventually everything just fell apart. She took off and I had not seen her since. I didn’t even know she’d had the baby until long afterward. This was going to be my first time to see my son.“Yeah, I know it,” Buck said. “So she’s going to bring him over to see you, and I don’t know, she might leave him with you for the day or maybe a couple of days.”“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be ready.”When I hung up the phone I went to my room and changed my clothes and got ready to meet my son for the first time. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I checked out the kitchen and we didn’t have a lot in there. Since I did not know how long I might have my son, I figured I needed to run to the store to pick up a few things. Going to the store presented a real problem. If I drove to the little neighborhood convenience store that was only a half mile from my grandma’s house and got pulled over, I’d probably be arrested for driving with a suspended license. If that happened, there was no way I’d see my son. If my ex showed up and I wasn’t here, she’d leave and not wait for me. But if my ex brought my son over and the cupboard was bare, I might not see him again for a long time either because she would think I was not able to take care of him.I had to go to the store, but I could not drive. Not a problem, I thought. I had some cousins and their friends there in the house and they had cars. “Any of y’all want to give me a ride to the store real fast?” I asked.One of the guys in the house, a guy named Will who knew one of my cousins, said, “Yeah. I’m fixing to go. I’ll take you.”“All right, cool,” I said. I got up to leave right away, which is what I needed to do, but he kept messing around, doing something, I don’t know what. To be honest, I could have walked to the store and back by the time he was finally ready to go. I didn’t say anything because I was the one asking for a ride.Finally, he said, “You ready? Let’s go.” We drove to the store in his silver Dodge Durango. He drove. I rode in the passenger seat. Will had come over from Detroit, and the back of the car was full of his stuff.When we pulled up to the store, Will asked me, “Can I borrow your phone?” Actually he asked before we even got to the store.“Sure, man,” I said. I figured that was the least I could do since he had given me a ride. He parked the car. I handed Will my phone and went into the store. This was not going to be a long shopping trip. I wanted to get in and out and back to my grandma’s house as quickly as possible. For all I knew my ex was already there with my little boy.Little boy! The thought of that caused a smile to break free on my face. I picked up some milk, chips, pop, and gummy worms and went to pay for them. Gummy worms were my thing back then.Will had better be ready to go as soon as I get out of here, I thought. I didn’t have a minute to spare.

Editorial Reviews

“In Convicted, Mark Tabb has captured a story that illustrates the grace and redemption first modeled for the world by Christ on the cross. It’s also a story of an improbable friendship that will challenge your assumptions and transform the way you see all those who might live on the other side of town. Convicted is a must-read for anyone who longs for the day when the dividing lines of race, class, and bigotry are finally overcome by the greater forces of love, forgiveness, and brotherhood.” —Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and author of Be Light“What an amazing story of the work the Holy Spirit can do in our lives when we allow him and the power of forgiveness to heal all wounds!” —Daniel Muir, former NFL player with the Indianapolis Colts and other teams“By all accounts, Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins should be hardened, bitter enemies. But their story demonstrates in a powerful way how God can bring beauty out of brokenness. Convicted is a gripping true story that you don’t want to miss.” —Jim Daly, President – Focus on the Family