Arlington: Virginia – Retired police detective Howard Wooldridge, representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), was ousted from the National Asian Peace Officers Association (NAPOA) Conference in Crystal City because he was representing a view contrary to U.S. government policy.
LEAP is a 10,000-member organization of police, judges, prosecutors, DEA & FBI agents, and others who know ending drug prohibition will reduce death, disease, crime, and addiction, while saving billions of our tax dollars each year.
On Tuesday (8.26.2008) acting under pressure from unnamed federal officials, Reagan Fong, President of the NAPOA, insisted on the immediate removal of LEAP from the conference vendor roster. It appears that some of the event‰s other exhibitors took exception to the LEAP message and put pressure on the event organizer to expel LEAP from the event. While the incident was civil and took place prior to the second day‰s session it represents a serious violation of Constitutional rights as cited within the First Amendment.
Federal agency representatives manning booths at the conference included DEA, Federal Air Marshals, NCIS, and Coast Guard. The prior day LEAP‰s spokesperson had visited the DEA booth and described the agent as ‹decidedly unhappyŠ with an opposing viewpoint. In sharp contrast at 37 national and international law enforcement Conferences where LEAP has been allowed to exhibit, 80% of booth visitors agreed with LEAP‰s stance for ending this failed drug war.
As for the Crystal City NAPOA incident, the appearance of impropriety is almost as bad as the real thing. LEAP has attempted to establish contact with Mr. Fong, NAPOA President, to confirm the details of the incident but we have received no response so we can only conclude it is blatant censorship originating from a judgmental ‹Big BrotherŠ mentality. LEAP believes that this group owes us an apology. We ask that Mr. Fong identify the individual, agency or group that lobbied for our eviction from the event.
If this was an independent effort then he or she was acting outside the scope of authority and should receive administrative punishment for unprofessional actions. If this action was sanctioned by upper level management then the managers need to explain their behavior in an open forum. If this was sanctioned official action by the U.S. Government it is a serious matter which requires serious and immediate attention.
Now if only LEAP had some connections with people in law enforcement, or some judges, or lawyers or someone who could… Oh, right.
Not a very smart move on the part of NAPOA.
We’ll be waiting to hear what NAPOA President Reagan Fong (who works for Homeland Security) has to say.