Thursday, May 03, 2012

When Is Dealing Drugs Not Illegal?

When it's done by law enforcement. An explosive new video investigation finds members of Minnesota law enforcement (Minneapolis PD deny they're in on it, but we'll see) coming to Peavy Plaza, where our local occupy camp is set up, to pick up demonstrators and offer them drugs. Why are they giving people illegal narcotics? Well, that's where the story gets interesting, because there's some conflicting reports.

Some evidence points to it being part of an on-going study to gain understanding of how people behave under the influence. Some folks report being taken out to suburban Richfield and given weed and other illegal drugs and then having their behavior monitored. While this is in line with sanctioned law enforcement behavior (it helps to know exactly how people on drugs act and/or what they're likely to do), it's not only skirting a moral/legal line in general, but no protocol I've ever seen involves picking up random young people for such studies and then dropping them off in public still very much under the influence. I believe most all official guidelines for such programs involve recruiting adult volunteers and keeping them under supervision until they are well sober again.

And if it just stopped there, we'd have a minor controversy on our hands and good time to discuss when and how law enforcement should be allowed to violate the law to serve a higher (no pun intended) purpose. But of course the story does not stop there.

Instead, several people have reported being offered large amounts of marijuana and other drugs to turn informant, a practice that is definitely not sanctioned by official policy guidelines. Even more problematic is that several people quoted in the story report law enforcement joining in while they toked up their free drugs.

Occupy organizers argue there's an even more insidious angle, as this could definitely be read as a ploy to discredit occupy by making them look like a lot of drugs addicts. As mentioned, it's definitely not protocol (nor legal, frankly) to pick up random people for these studies, and you're definitely not supposed to drop them back in public while still obviously under the influence. Add to this the fact that the still very high people are not being dropped off at their houses or another safe place, but are instead being dropped off at the occupy sight, which again, is definitely well outside of established practice (as well as, of course, being well outside basic logic).

Whether or not this program is an intentional effort to disrupt and discredit occupy, or is instead just some cops acting really, really stupidly, it sure seems like a lot more than a coincidence that they're both recruiting and dropping people off at Peavy Plaza...

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