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March 2010
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Policing the War on Drugs

Quotable:

“We need to consider what drug prohibition has done to the vital profession of law enforcement. It has divided police officers from the communities we serve, alienated us from young people, sent our call-loads through the roof, placed huge financial strains on police budgets and, sometimes, my colleagues have been injured or murdered while enforcing these drug laws. Every police officer should question whether the War on Drugs is worth fighting, particularly when there are other policy options that would result in less crime, addiction, disease and death.” — David Bratzer

I want to restore the rightful place of the police as public servants who protect and serve. I want the people to feel that they can turn to the cops in times of need. “Divided from the communities they serve” is exactly what we have now. And that needs to change.

Something struck me when reading about the scandal in San Francisco regarding their drug lab (and the fact that police apparently knew about the problems and didn’t share them with defense attorneys).

What hit me was the numbers.

San Francisco prosecutors may be forced to drop a total of 1,400 cases in the growing scandal at the police drug lab, including hundreds in which defendants have been placed in drug treatment programs.

The list of cases that could be dropped as soon as this week now encompasses 1,000 awaiting trial and 400 in which defendants are in drug rehabilitation programs

1,400 drug cases, with 1,000 awaiting trial? What is this – an assembly line?

Those 1,400 cases come on top of 500 that have already been dropped, including 46 on Friday when prosecutors told judges they could not “ethically go forward” with the prosecutions.

That’s a lot of drug cases. How is it that they have time to do it right, or to do anything else?

Oh.

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16 comments to Policing the War on Drugs

  • claygooding

    The war on drugs is also big business for lawyers,and is just another reason that we can expect no help from our legislators or state assemblies. Since 90% of them are lawyers,they won’t do anything that disrupts that cash flow to their bro’s.

  • Just me

    Greed is killing this country…as well as corruption…and it seems no one in politics , majority of LE , and court system care. Just us regular folks who have seen this for what it is and are fighting it alone. Or almost.

  • Just me

    OT. Today has been designated welcome home veitnam vet day. A little late . But hey ..welcome home .

  • kaptinemo

    “1,400 drug cases, with 1,000 awaiting trial? What is this – an assembly line?”

    Precisely…with human lives, human souls reduced to case numbers. Why not? ‘Druggies” aren’t human, anyway, right? They don’t deserve civil liberties, right? All they deserve is a bullet, right? Darryl Gates, the Godfather of DARE, says so.

    Or so think far too many Officer Jack Boots.

    In Richard Miller’s seminal work Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State he details how the same dehumanization process (“Identification, Ostracism, Confiscation, Concentration, and Annihilation”) engaged in by the Nazis towards the Jews has been replicated by American drug prohibitionists and is being used against illicit drug consumers.

    We aren’t at the final two steps yet, but unless drug prohibition is halted, we will arrive there. For those very same dynamics are at work…and are exemplified in the attitudes of law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, prohib pols, etc. Attitudes inherently inimical to a democratic republic.

  • claygooding

    “We aren’t at the final two steps yet, but unless drug prohibition is halted, we will arrive there. For those very same dynamics are at work…and are exemplified in the attitudes of law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, prohib pols, etc. Attitudes inherently inimical to a democratic republic.”

    I hope Osama/Obama doesn’t know about all the huge possible jailing facilities that Bush had refurbished.
    I saw video about them,old factories and warehouse facilities with new 12 foot link fences and guard towers built at each corner and lottsa security cameras.

  • ezrydn

    There seems to be a schism growing between the DAs and the Police. Some “distancing” going on here suddenly.

  • kaptinemo

    Clay… they already know. IMHO, when Gub’mint does stuff like that, they are operating on ‘contingency plans’…such as ‘continuation of government’, which usually means ‘at the expense of the rights and liberties of the citizens’.

    Uncle’s been worried for some time about what those citizens would do if the economic house of cards the Elite constructed to serve them finally collapses…as it’s doing now, in slow motion. They might get ‘uppity’ and want to institute a different form of government not to the liking of the Elites. Hence the need for prison facilities…even when we presently cannot afford the ones we have that are filled with drug offense prisoners.

    Mind you, I am voicing my opinion, and nothing more. But I worked around such ‘worst case scenario’ types before, in my bad ol’ military days, and the tendency for them to commodify human life is damned frightening. They’ve essentially already done it to illicit drug users; if it really ‘drops in the pot’, economically, then everyone will get splashed.

  • kaptinemo

    “There seems to be a schism growing between the DAs and the Police. Some “distancing” going on here suddenly.”

    All to the better.

    People keep forgetting that the ripples from a rock thrown into a pond rebound back from the shore. The DrugWarriors thought they could keep ‘throwing rocks’ into the pond and no rebound was occurring thanks to the false prosperity engendered by the overheated (but ‘lean mixture’) economy.

    Well, now everyone with half a brain has realized that that was an illusion. And right now, those ripples rebounding from the shore have, with all the pent-up force of decades of being held back, returned with tsunami impact. So now the fight is on as to which groups within the LE and legal bureaucracies will get the dwindling tax dollars…while refusing to admit that the trough may be shut off altogether thanks to eventual repeal of drug prohibition.

    I keep likening them to people with terminal illnesses, in which one of the early phases is denial. They are in deep denial publicly, but privately they know the jig is up, and the better situated of them are considering retirement. The ones who can’t, well, they can line up for the next WalMart greeter job…along with the 6,000 other people out of work and desperate.

    Considering what they did to me and so many others, I can only think of it as karma…and, as my old sensei put it, ‘karma delayed is karma magnified’. They’ve got a sh*tload coming their way, and all I can do is smile.

  • […] (91)  La vigilancia de la guerra contra las drogas […]

  • ezrydn

    To me, this is the tell-all: ..prosecutors told judges they could not “ethically go forward” with the prosecutions.

    What I hear him saying is “we can’t ethically keep bringing this CRAP the Police Department supplies us with and place it before you, Judge.”

    Police want to keep right on playing their little games with the law and the lawyers are beginning to see the conflict on their own part.

  • Ed Dunkle

    Since when do prosecutors care about ethics? I guess the game is to keep the judges in the dark, because I think there are some ethical judges out there, even though the vast majority come from the ranks of the public prosecutors. Has a public defender ever made judge?

  • Just me

    I’m smiling about that karma wave too Kap.

  • Madd Havik

    This reminds me a lot of the book Cop In the Hood by Peter Moskos over in your blog section. As a former police officer and psychologist, this is exactly the type of thing he reiterates. If you guys havent checked it out, its a really good read.

  • Dante

    “Sending the wrong message to the children”.

    In light of the fact that 1,400 court cases have been completely screwed up and must be tossed due to court incompetence (or worse), where are all the Drug Warriors who are constantly screaming about “sending the wrong message to the children”? Why aren’t they screaming now?

    It definitely sends the wrong message when almost the entire case load of one jurisdiction must be tossed, after ruining people’s lives, shooting their dogs, and wasting taxpayer dollars. Isn’t this the wrong message to send impressionable children?

    How many other jurisdictions are also sending the wrong message to the children by imprisoning their (innocent) parents after a sham trial which featured false evidence provided by the state? What will the children think when they learn the entire drug court system is corrupt and incompetent (not to mention downright sadistic)? How will the children grow up to respect the law when the people entrusted to enforce/interpret the law crap all over it at will when it suits them?

    Drug warriors are sending the wrong message to our children.