BOSTON (AP) - A Massachusetts man filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Tuesday against the city of Lowell and a police officer, claiming they mishandled informants suspected of planting drug evidence.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jonathan Santiago, 25, who told The Boston Globe he feels "like I can't trust anyone" since an informant planted drugs in his car and tipped police, who arrested him in February 2012.
The first-time drug defendant was one of 17 people whose cases were dismissed after prosecutors investigated cases involving two informants. Two convictions were vacated.
Middlesex and Essex County prosecutors said last month they acted "out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of fairness" after investigating the allegations involving the informants but didn't find that police had engaged in wrongdoing or negligence. No charges have been filed against the informants.
Lowell City Solicitor Christine O'Connor said Tuesday the city hasn't yet reviewed Santiago's lawsuit, but she noted the city had referred the allegations against the informants to Middlesex County prosecutors for their outside investigation that found no wrongdoing or negligence by the city or police.
Santiago's lawsuit says far more people may have been affected since one of the informants had worked with police for the last decade.
Howard Friedman, his lawyer in the civil rights case, told the Globe police should have known longtime informants were planting evidence. Friedman questioned the thoroughness of the district attorneys' investigation, which covered two years.