The informant who helped police arrest Lawrence Taylor on drug charges last year said he was trying to help the Hall of Fame linebacker.
After helping Taylor buy crack cocaine one day about a year ago, Clemente Brown said, he began thinking about how children looked up to Taylor. So Brown called police.
"My decision was trying to help him get some help because a person with those capabilities financially would never stop," he was quoted as saying in Friday's editions of the St. Petersburg Times.
But as Brown talked to Taylor on the telephone in October 1998, trying to set up a drug buy as police listened in, Taylor wouldn't go forward, court papers revealed.
Brown, a self-described crack addict, said he figured he needed to show Taylor a few rocks of crack.
"I knew that in my heart, that if I could just get him to agree upon me coming out there and just putting his eyes on the drug itself, then he would cop," Brown told lawyers last month in a deposition. "I knew if he opened the door it was all over."
Taylor, 40, whose long battle with drug addiction has been well-publicized, eventually was charged with buying $50 worth of crack cocaine, possessing crack and possessing drug paraphernalia. He is set for trial Nov. 30.
But his lawyers will ask that much of the evidence be suppressed and the cocaine charges dropped. They say their client was entrapped.
"I think it was outrageous conduct by police," said lawyer Angelo Ferlita of Tampa. "Police were chasing him because he is who he is. They knew he was battling drug addiction."
St. Pete Beach police Capt. Joe Cornish said Taylor was looking for drugs in St. Petersburg the day before his arrest.
"He came to us; he came to our informant," Cornish said. "We certainly didn't target him."
According to court papers, Brown was walking his dog when Taylor chanced upon him.
"You don't recognize me?" he said Taylor asked as he pulled up in a rental car.
In town for a charity golf tournament, the player introduced himself, Brown said, and asked if Brown could help find some crack.
Brown said he did so, and the two smoked a few rocks together. They exchanged phone numbers with the expectation that Taylor would buy more, Brown said.
He called police, and with them recording every word, Brown called Taylor at his hotel on Oct. 18, 1998.
Taylor was nervous. Police had stopped him earlier in the day, he said. "I'm thinking somebody was trying to set me up," Taylor said.
Brown mentioned a crack buy. Taylor resisted, saying "I deal with you tomorrow."
Ferlita said Taylor was flying home the next day and was trying to get rid of a pest. The call ended with Taylor asking for Brown's number.
Three hours later, an uninvited Brown knocked at Taylor's door with an undercover police officer posing as his wife.
Bown mentioned the crack he said he was holding for Taylor, who said "I'll do it tomorrow
Then Taylor said, "I just take a look at it."
As he looked at the crack, Taylor repeated three times, "That's good looking stuff."
Still, Taylor said he couldn't "do nothing until tomorrow."
The undercover officer and Brown pretended to argue about money.
Taylor held up a $50 bill, and the officer provided the crack. Taylor was arrested.
Brown said police paid him $100 for his work.
"The man is an addict," he said, "just like me."
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