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January 2008
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Tarika Wilson update and some good voices added to the discussion

Tarika Wilson, the Lima, Ohio mother of six who was shot to death by police in a drug raid was buried on Friday.
On Saturday, protesters marched through the streets of Lima once again.

Ms. Johnson, march organizer, said marchers will demonstrate every Saturday until they find out why Police Sgt. Joe Chavalia shot the 26-year-old woman on Jan. 4.

Two strong articles have appeared in the Lima News, which leads me to some hope that the important things are at least being discussed.
First, this OpEd by Ronald Lederman, Jr.: A War We Should Call Off

Two recent reports from groups advocating reform of the justice system show that, no matter what happened in that house on Third Street, all parties involved stood to be the victims of a war that has gone on for too long with no overall success. This most recent battle in our War on Drugs has claimed at least three lives directly, many more indirectly, all to take one alleged dealer out of circulation. The lives involved include a 26-year mother of six and a 31-year veteran officer.
But, truth be told, we can go to many corners of this region to find some manner of drugs, and that’s without counting alcohol as the drug it is. If Terry is everything prosecutors accuse him of being, is his being off the streets doing anything other than shifting traffic just a little?
But, lawmakers, who want to appear to be keeping us safe, pass increasingly tougher laws. They can claim credit for tougher laws, but we don’t hold them accountable enough for their role in what happened on Third Street. Police agencies that want to show they’re cleaning up the streets keep making busts without cutting very much into the overall supply. We end up locking many more people away, which means we’re spending billions of extra tax dollars, but the rate at which people use drugs isn’t declining. […]
Society would have much more money and much more prison space if we limited our police actions against drug users and dealers to those who actually present a serious risk.

And then there’s another one by Thomas J. Lucente, Jr.: The Ill-Conceived War on Drugs Destroying America

America’s ill-conceived War on Drugs cost another life this month when a police officer in Lima accidentally shot and killed a woman and injured her baby during a drug raid. They were looking for her boyfriend.
The accidental shooting of 26-year-old Tarika Wilson was just the latest in more than a quarter-century of bloodshed.

Read that whole piece by Lucente — it’s a very powerful rant.
It concludes:

This “us against them” attitude makes it increasingly easier for them to bust down doors on unsuspecting residents based on often-spurious tips from shady characters. They conduct pre-dawn raids with very little intelligence on what they will find in the house. Then, when an officer kills someone, they put up a wall of silence and claim the whole operation was “by the book.”
Well, whatever book they are using has no place in a free society where police should be protecting the liberties and freedoms of citizens — even if that freedom includes the recreational use of drugs.
The Constitution has become nothing but a doormat for government agents to trample on as they bust down another door to another American home looking for drugs that may or may not be there.

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