Get the latest from TODAY
Some friendships are unexpected. And some, like this one, are downright mind-blowing.
Let’s go back to 2005, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Jameel McGee was arrested by police officer Andrew Collins for dealing drugs after the officer got a tip in the area.
Only, McGee wasn’t the right guy. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time — and in fact, he was on his way to meet his infant son for the first time.
Collins later admitted he falsified the report. He accused McGee of having “dope” on him.
“And I'm like, ‘What dope? I don't have any dope.’ And I'm trying to walk around him and it just wasn't working,” he told Megyn Kelly TODAY.
Collins handcuffed him and detained him in the back of one of the squad cars. “I then went back to the vehicle and found an ounce of crack cocaine in the center console of the vehicle.”
The drugs weren’t McGee’s, so Collins had a choice: He could let an innocent man go free, or he could lie. He chose the latter, and filed a police report.
“One man's word can wreck an entire man's life,” said Collins. "One of my main goals was to be the absolute top cop not only in my county but in the state. And I was willing to lie in any report if that were going to advance my career.”
McGee was “sentenced to 10 years in federal prison” and was released after serving three. But you could say karma paid Collins a visit. In 2008, he was busted for drug possession and served 18 months in federal prison.
In 2011, their paths crossed again, in the park where McGee was to meet his son. He approached Collins. He stuck out his hand. And he had a request. He wanted Collins to explain where he’d been all these years, instead of with his child.
“And I said, ‘Man there's nothing I can do to give you that time back. I was a messed-up human being. You know, I was, I was addicted to myself. I was addicted to my ego. I'm so sorry for the things I did to you,’” he said.
Both of them wound up at the Mosaic faith-based employment agency. They worked side by side.
And then the unthinkable happened. Collins said he was sorry. McGee accepted his apology. And the two became — friends. Yes, friends.