A Benton Harbor, Michigan, man who was falsely convicted of dealing drugs and the crooked cop who set him up have become friends.
“I falsified the report,” former Benton Harbor police officer Andrew Collins told CBS News.
"Basically, at the start of that day, I was going to make sure I had another drug arrest,” he said of the 2005 incident that put Jameel McGee in jail.
"I lost everything," McGee said. "My only goal was to seek him when I got home and to hurt him."
Collins’ crooked ways, which included falsifying multiple police reports, planting drugs and embezzling money, were eventually uncovered.
"Shortly after becoming a narcotics investigator, I became a full-blown corrupt police officer," Collins told the Huron Daily Tribune. "What started off as small indiscretions led to bigger ones, which led to bigger ones, and was this slippery slope of wrongdoings. By the end of my short five-year career, I was a full-blown what you would call a dirty cop."
He served a year and a half in prison and worked with FBI investigators to exonerate people who had been wrongly convicted.
McGee was exonerated after spending four years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
In 2015, both men found themselves still living in the small town and working together in a cafe as part of the Jobs Through Life Program at the Mosaic Christian Community Development Association.
Collins is the manager of Cafe Mosaic and mentor to McGee. They were paired up by an individual who did not know their history.
They managed to reconcile what happened and eventually became friends.
"I said, 'Honestly, I have no explanation, all I can do is say I'm sorry,'" Collins said.
That was all McGee needed to hear.
Their friendship has grown to the point that McGee recently told Collins he loves him.
“And I just started weeping because he doesn’t owe me that. I don’t deserve that,” Collins said.
It was for both of their sakes that McGee says he forgave Collins. The pair now give speeches together about the importance of forgiveness and redemption.