Andrew Sadek, a college student, was forced into informing over $80 of pot. Then he was found dead. His story is the subject of the new docuseries “The Dakota Entrapment Tapes.”
Cops’ national reputation isn’t exactly sterling right now, and it won’t be helped by The Dakota Entrapment Tapes, a two-part Sundance Now docuseries premiering Oct. 27 that serves as a case study in law enforcement misconduct and the larger failure of America’s war on drugs. Even in a genre rife with tales of slipshod police behavior, it’s a story destined to make one’s blood boil.
Director Trevor Birney’s series—which, after originally screening as a feature-length documentary at festivals earlier this year, has been split into two parts—relays the unnecessary tragedy that befell Andrew Sadek. A student at North Dakota State College of Science, the 20-year-old Sadek went missing on May 1, 2014. Nearly two months later, his body was found in the nearby Red River with a fatal gunshot wound to the head, sporting clothes that were different than the ones he was last seen wearing, and saddled with a backpack filled with rocks. For his parents John and Tammy Sadek, whose older son had previously perished in an automobile accident, the loss was cataclysmic. And it was made worse by the fact that NDSCS Campus Police Sergeant Steve Helgeson, who led the investigation, had few answers as to why Andrew met this untimely fate, which Helgeson initially deemed a suicide.