Archive for the ‘Drug War’ Category

Baltimore Cops Caught Planting Drugs

July 20, 2017

An Ominous Anniversary

October 28, 2016

Consider this the main reason President Reagan is overrated:

Drug War Stupidity: A False Arrest For Glaze

July 29, 2016

Arrested for possessing glaze. As in glaze from a Krispy Kreme donut:

The suspect “stated that the substance is sugar from a Krispy Kreme Donut that he ate,” but Riggs-Hopkins knew better: Two field tests of the “rock-like substance” gave “a positive indication for the presence of amphetamines.”

Rushing was handcuffed, arrested, and taken to the county jail, where he was strip-searched and locked up for 10 hours before being released on $2,500 bail. Three days later, after a lab test found no illegal substance in the evidence recovered by Riggs-Hopkins, the charges against Rushing were dropped. The lab test was not specific enough to identify which brand of donut the glaze came from, so we’ll just have to take Rushing’s word that it was indeed a Krispy Kreme.

The suspect, Daniel Rushing, said he had nothing to hide, so he allowed his car to be searched. Call this another lesson in why you never consent to warrantless searches, as a person’s innocence still resulted in his arrest.

Why “Criminals” Should Have Rights

April 9, 2016

Another vile example of what happens when law enforcement treats civilians as criminals with no rights-an illegal stop, illegal search, police brutality, and an illegal arrest:

Hayes again asks whether he’s getting a ticket and objects to Knight searching his mouth. At that point, a clearly agitated Knight says, “You take that out of your mouth right now or I will choke you out.” He then grabs Hayes by the lapels of his shirt and says again: “I will choke you out right now. Take that out your mouth.”

Within a couple of seconds, Knight throws Hayes to the hood of the vehicle, out of view of the camera. Hayes says, “What’s the problem, officer?” and then there’s only audio of a scuffle, with Knight repeatedly telling Hayes to put his hands behind his back and Hayes crying out in pain. Knight then shows up in the video holding his flashlight and Hayes’s hat. He puts Hayes’s hat on the hood, then begins searching around the vehicle (presumably for the baggie of drugs he thought Hayes was hiding). Hayes comes back into the frame about five minutes later wearing handcuffs, his head bloodied.

Video of the stop is in the article.

Nancy Reagan, Drug Warrior

March 17, 2016

Jacob Sullum on the late first lady’s biggest legacy:

“We must create an atmosphere of intolerance for drug use in this country,” she wrote in the Post. “Each of us has an obligation to take an individual stand against drugs. Each of us has a responsibility to be intolerant of drug use anywhere, anytime, by anybody.”

Two months later, the first lady appeared on television with her husband, who declared “another war for our freedom,” a campaign that would include widespread drug testing, stepped-up interdiction efforts, a dramatic increase in drug arrests, and mandatory minimum sentences—all at a time when illegal drug use was declining. “There’s no moral middle ground,” Nancy Reagan declared when it was her turn to speak. “Indifference is not an option. We want you to help us create an outspoken intolerance for drug use. For the sake of our children, I implore each of you to be unyielding and inflexible in your opposition to drugs.”

The collateral damage of our government’s “inflexibility” is damning.

More Drug War Commutations

July 14, 2015

Do I wish President Obama would commute more sentences? Of course. Is President Obama’s record on clemency still bad? Yes. Are oppressive laws with excessive punishment for violators still on the books, just waiting for authority figures to abuse? Obviously.

All that said, how can yesterday’s news not be applauded?

All the prisoners whose sentences were commuted yesterday are nonviolent drug offenders, 14 of whom nevertheless received life sentences. In two cases marijuana was the only drug involved; those prisoners received sentences of 20 years and 22 years, respectively, for cultivation and distribution. Seven cases involved cocaine powder, with sentences ranging from 20 years to life. One case, where the defendant received a 20-year sentence, involved methamphetamine as well as cocaine. Two involved unspecified “controlled substances.” But the vast majority of the prisoners—34 out of 46, three-quarters of the total—committed offenses involving crack cocaine, as did most of the prisoners who received commutations from Obama prior to yesterday.

More here.

Non-violent drug offenders get jail time. Violent police behavior rarely garners punishment. This needs to change.

Confessions Of A Former Drug Warrior

June 26, 2015

I was doing narcotics work. And so I was spending a lot of time doing surveillance in a van, or in some vacant building. You have a lot of time on your hands with that kind of work. You’re watching people for hours at a time. You see them just going about their daily lives. They’re getting groceries, running errands, going to work. Suddenly, it started to seem like an entirely different place then what I had seen when I was doing other police work. I grew up in Bel Air[, Maryland]. I didn’t have exposure to inner cities. And when you work in policing, you’re inundated early on with the “us vs. them” mentality. It’s ingrained in you that this is a war, and if someone isn’t wearing a uniform, they’re the enemy. It just becomes part of who you are, of how you do your job. And when all you’re doing is responding to calls, you’re only seeing the people in these neighborhoods when there’s conflict. So you start to assume that conflict is all there is. Just bad people doing bad things.

More here.

The Drug War Caught On Surveillance

June 12, 2015

Radley Balko sums up the videos (and the drug war in general) perfectly:

This wasn’t an underground criminal enterprise. This was a business. There may be some question about its legality at the moment, but it was operating openly. Its owners posed no threat to these cops. They even had asked their own attorneys to be on site to observe.

No, the commando tactics here are nothing more than violence for the sake of violence. This was about intimidation. It was about making an example of the dispensary’s owners and employees. This has always been the case, going back to the first federal raids on pot dispensaries in California in the 1990s. The owners, employees and customers of medical marijuana growers, dispensaries and treatment centers have never been a threat to the safety of drug agents. But the culture of drug cops has been dehumanizing pot users for decades. And once you no longer believe the suspects you’re dealing with are human beings, you’ll feel no qualms about raiding these businesses as if they were Islamic States operatives, about wearing masks to ramp up the intimidation, about needlessly destroying property, and, in this case, about mocking an amputee like some schoolyard bully.

Thanks For Serving Your Country, Now Hand Over Your Sixty Grand

April 17, 2015


A former military police officer and weapons specialist, [Mark] Brewer earned several medals during his service in the Air Force, before he was medically discharged in 2008. Brewer said he developed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after a deployment in Afghanistan.

In November 2011, Brewer was driving on Interstate 80 in Nebraska, when Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Wintle pulled Brewer over for crossing traffic lanes without signaling. During the stop, Wintle performed a criminal background check, which “revealed no major violations.”

After gaining Brewer’s consent, Wintle walked around the car with a canine unit; the dog alerted to the trunk. When he searched the trunk, Wintle found two backpacks that had a “strong odor of raw marijuana” and $63,530 in cash.

What became of Mr. Brewer and his money?

For Brewer, he argued that taking over $60,000 would be “an excessive fine because no drugs were found in the vehicle and he was never charged with any crime resulting from the traffic stop.” The 8th Circuit did not agree.

Our public “leaders” put a young man in combat, which causes Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He may be using marijuana to treat the symptoms caused by service to his country, but cops can’t prove it because they find no drugs on him.

Like drug warriors give a damn. Government greed takes a backseat to human decency.

More Drug Warrior Tactics: Breaking Up Families

April 15, 2015

Yes, the tactics of drug warriors are more sinister than the use of substances they have arbitrarily declared illegal:

As Shona’s son listened to the misinformation given by authorities to his class during the drug education presentation, he courageously spoke up and informed them that the information they were relating was incorrect in regards to cannabis. He was pulled from class and sent to the office for questioning by authorities without his mother present.

When he failed to return home from school, Banda contacted the school only to be told that her son had be detained by authorities. She went to the station, where she was informed that she was not being detained, but that they were obtaining a search warrant on her home and that she would not be permitted to enter the residence until the search was executed.

During the raid, authorities confiscated an alleged mere 2 ounces of cannabis flower and 1 ounce of cannabis oil. Banda has yet to be charged and was able to go home after the raid. Shona had a hearing, which seemed to be going her way until the judge spoke up about how many charges she was going to be facing as a result of the raid on her home. It was recommended that her son be placed into the custody of her ex, the boy’s father.