On September 4, 2000, Officer Sewell of the Baltimore Police Department stopped Frederick L. McCoy as he was leaving a vacant home and charged him with burglary. He also charged him with possessing a bag of drugs found earlier at the corner of Presstman and Madison streets in Baltimore City. In the processing documents, Sewell wrote that he had seen McCoy "placing a clear plastic bag into a crack of a park bench" and this bag had contained drugs.

Sewell knew the drugs were there because he had responded earlier to an anonymous call about the drugs in the park and had reported that he could not locate them. It was later revealed to him that the bags he reported to have seen Mr. McCoy drop in the park were placed there around 9am that morning by Internal Affairs officers, and were actually bars of soap. An Internal Affairs officer who remained at the scene said she never saw anyone in the park except for Sewell and two other officers who successfully recovered them, making Sewell's statement highly questionable.