Drug cops lie

There’s a big scandal that’s been going on in San Francisco, regarding some drug busts in the Henry Hotel, and something surprising that happened. Apparently cops have been lying in court regarding how those busts went down.

That, of course, is not the surprising thing. It’s the fact that they got caught on video.

What this scandal is making clear in San Francisco is not that some cops sometimes lie, and in court while under oath, but rather that this is a regular part of doing business for many, if not most, narcotics cops.

Peter Keane had an outstanding OpEd in the San Francisco Gate this week about this: Why cops lie

Count this as one more casualty of the “war on drugs.” It is simply additional collateral damage from using the American criminal justice system as the battlefield of that war. […]

Why do police, whom we trust as role models of legal conduct, show contempt for the law by systematically perjuring themselves?

The first reason is because they get away with it. They know that in a swearing match between a drug defendant and a police officer, the judge always rules in favor of the officer. Often in search hearings, it is embarrassingly clear to everyone – judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, even spectators – that the officer is lying under oath. Yet nothing is done about it. […]

Another reason is the nature of most drug cases and the likely type of person involved. Usually police illegally enter a home, search it and find drugs. Like the recent scandal in San Francisco concerning the Henry Hotel residents, the defendant is poor, uneducated, frequently a minority, with a criminal record, and he does have drugs. Police know that no one cares about these people.

But the main reason is that the job of these cops is chasing drugs. Their professional advancement depends on nabbing dopers. The dominant culture they grew up with is popular mythology glorifying rogue cops like Popeye Doyle from the 1975 film “The French Connection.”

This is a culture that goes all the way to the top in our corrupt drug war.

When I wrote about Michele Leonhart back in 2003 (she has since advanced to Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration), I noted that she seemed oddly surprised that lying on the stand in the service of the drug war was even… wrong.

The most startling statement in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigation of [super snitch] Andrew Chambers was from Michele Leonhart:

“The only criticism (of Chambers) I’ve ever heard is what defense attorneys will characterize as perjury or a lie on the stand.”

She continued by saying that once prosecutors check him out, they’ll agree with his admirers in DEA that he’s “an outstanding testifier.”

This corruption creates far-reaching damage to the relationship between law enforcement and our communities. Yet another dangerous by-product of this ill-conceived and destructive war.

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17 Responses to Drug cops lie

  1. allan420 says:

    So Pete, you’re back from NY? Hope the trip was grand for all.

    Norm Stamper has dropped a good one over at HuffingtonPost:

    Marijuana and the Democracy Disconnect

    Speaking of brainwashing, Gil Kerlikowske, my successor as police chief in Seattle, now the nation’s Drug Czar, called me to task in a recent Seattle visit for my suggestion that the Office of National Drug Control Policy is as zealously committed to prosecuting the War on Drugs as the Bush administration was. Kerlikowske took pains to remind me that he ended the drug war two years ago.

    Say what?

    Since Kerlikowske “ended” the drug war law enforcement agencies continue to pile up record or near-record numbers of marijuana arrests.


    Oh, and someone needs to tell the drug czar the war ain’t over just because he says it is.

    When I was learning how to cook (the power of hunger) as a single young man I boiled over a couple of pots. Trying to hold the lid down just didn’t work, steam and liquid still seeped out because of the great internal pressure. That’s where the WOD is at… there is just too much seeping out of the pot for the prohibs to keep the lid on it any longer. Unfortunately for the prohibs there is a whole lot of stink spewing out as well… and they are having a hard time disguising the stank.

    The only way I ever found to stop a boil-over was to remove the lid… for Prohibition, having the whole slimy stew exposed to public view would be fatal.

    When oh when…?

    • strayan says:

      Norm Stamper will be remembered as a great American.

      Gil Kerlikowske will be remembered as a clown.

  2. Chris says:

    When people still consider ending the war on drugs to just be an effort for people to use drugs legally and therefore do not take it seriously, I think of issues like this. How is it not absolutely clear to people that one is linked with the other, and why is that not unacceptable?

  3. Windy says:

    If we ended all the wars in which our government is engaged, both foreign and domestic, we wouldn’t have 14 trillion dollars of debt.

  4. Duncan20903 says:

    What’s the next headline,”Dog bites man”? (kidding)
    Holy cow we’re up to 14 trillion? Well it’s been a few months since I looked. That’s stunning. Have we passed 1:1 debt to GDP yet? Well say what you will about George the Lesser, he certainly did shrink the percentage of the national debt attributable to the drug war. When he took over in 2001 the national debt was about 5.7 trillion.


    With about a trillion attributable to the money squandered in the war on some drugs it’s now only responsible for about 7.1% of the national debt versus 13.4% when he took office. 13.4% presumes that since it took 40 years to get to a trillion that we’d squandered $750 million after 30 years and maybe over or understating the amount squandered on the war on (some) drugs as the case may be. If you look hard enough, and stretch far enough, you can find good in anyone. Who the heck can argue that reduction of the ratio of moneys squandered on the drug war:total debt from 13.4% to 7.1% isn’t a heckuva job?

    Oh Wendy, even if we stop throwing money into the black hole of government we still have to pay back that which we’ve borrowed. I figure in about 30 years, with some tight management we’ll be able to quit borrowing to pay the interest, and if everything goes right we’ll be able to start paying down some of the principal in 70 years. But gosh I think I’ve wandered into La La land. Tight fiscal management from a career politician? Shirley, I jest.

    I resubmit my idea to get responsible and desirable people into government that we have to amend the Constitution and make it so that anyone who has any desire to be a politician isn’t qualified to hold office. So we’d also need a system of conscription. After all, only in very rare circumstance would anyone who would under almost no circumstance imaginable run for office would run for office, duh.

    Now you’d better believe that would be a group of people actively trying to reduce the size of government. “No, I didn’t want to be the drug czar, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Christ, you’d have to be some kind of degenerate malignant narcissist to want to do this job.” Yes people would be conscripted to appointed positions. Just because they’re not directly elected doesn’t mean that it’s not political office. So the conscripted President would get a list of xxx # of people who’ve been conscripted and pick the appointee from that list. We would fix our government and have her humming like finely tuned machine in less than 20 years.

    Of course there would have to be a fairly complex study done to figure out who would never want to be a politician. For example, I would scream how much I want to be drafted if it would keep me from being conscribed. We just can’t afford to have such good candidates as myself disqualified because I claimed I wanted what I truly do not want.

  5. This is not my America says:

    This is a culture that goes all the way to the top in our corrupt drug war

    This corrupt culture isnt just limited to the drug war agencies, It is also the same with all others in government…the whole damned system is corrupt and geared to make those at the top the winning team even if they are greedy power hungry bastards…never mind what their winning does to the rest of us..

    Kerlikowske took pains to remind me that he ended the drug war two years ago.

    Say what?

    Are you serious Norm? He tried to convince even your that he ended the drug war? Good god ! Kerli is delirious! Come on..does he really think he can convince eveyone that the drug war is over when they clearly keep arresting people, keep raiding dispenseries,keep ruining lives and wasting money? I mean this is an insult to everyone . Its a case of telling us its night when the sun is clearly shining!

    Im sick to death of government stooges treating America like its a nation full of dim wits. We may have some dim wits in this country but really Mr Drug czar…Fuck you!Your a moron for doing so!

  6. Ed Dunkle says:

    I will never forgive Obama for promoting Michelle Leonhart.

  7. ezrydn says:

    In 591 days, you can remind Obama of that, Ed. It’s that long til the first national polls open.

    It’s an odd way of looking at it, however, the drug war won’t be over until WE, THE PEOPLE say it’s over. WE have to accept it’s conclusion, not said announcement with no teeth. So, Gil, go play your stupid kid’s games with someone else (your fellow prohibs, they’ll swallow anything handed to them) because WE ain’t buying it!

  8. ezrydn says:

    As a followup to Pete’s story, this is in today’s news:

    “The Las Vegas deputy district attorney who prosecuted Bruno Mars and Paris Hilton for cocaine possession was arrested Saturday night for … possession of cocaine.

    Clark County Deputy District Attorney David Schubert was booked and later released from the Clark County Detention Center.”

  9. Dante says:

    America has turned into “opposite world”.

    To explain:
    In reality, everything is the opposite of what it should be.

    Catholic Priests are supposed to be kind and decent, but in reality they are scuzzy child molesters and liars.

    Our military is called The Dept. of Defense, but in reality they defend no one in America and offend the entire world.

    Our politicians brag about their “public service” but in reality their acts are nothing more than self service.

    And of course, Law Enforcement. They swore an oath on the bible to uphold the law but in reality they are the biggest law-breakers in America. The worst part is We the People have to pay for them to lie, cheat, steal and abuse our kids during traffic stops.

    Can We the People have our money back?

  10. ezrydn says:

    Caught the irony in that, did ya DarkCycle? LOL Sorry for the keyboard mess.

    It was just coke. He’ll get off with a slap on the wrist, like all the others. However, if it had been a J or a roach, the SOB would probably be doing GreyBar Time.

  11. aussidawg says:

    Quote Windy “If we ended all the wars in which our government is engaged, both foreign and domestic, we wouldn’t have 14 trillion dollars of debt.”

    Windy, I couldn’t agree more, but there is more to the “rest of the story.”

    What if we actually prosecuted and taxed on even a semi fair scale (better yet, confiscate their money as they do our vehicles and such) those guilty of real crimes against a lot of real people…the banksters, insurance companies, and others who not only have perpetuated the greatest heist in history and the susequent transfer of money from those who need it to live to those who couldn’t spend what they have in a thousand lifetimes, but those who have profitted by far the greatest through drug prohibition?

    Debt? Deficit? Hell no…we’re talking major surpluses. Legalize, regulate and tax currently “controlled” substances as alcohol and tobacco is taxed…more money yet. Stopping the unnecessary court expense, Law enforcement time, and cost of incarcerating millions…sure, welfare queens could easily drive Caddys…but those who are disabled, unemployed, uninsured for medical care, etc. could actually live a life worth living.

    But no…they don’t go to jail like a person possessing a small personal amount of drugs does, they get tax cuts and bailouts. They have the money to buy whomever they need to buy.

    Of course that irratioanl truth speaks volumes as to our problems…corruption, corruption, and more corruption. The federal government would now make Al Capone smile and be green with envy. This country doesn’t face a fiscal crisis, it faces a moral crisis, and it’s as obvious as the eight hundred pound gorilla in the middle of the room.

  12. aussidawg says:

    “I will never forgive Obama for promoting Michelle Leonhart”

    After being proven to be nothing but a collosal liar (change we can believe in? Where might that be?) I’m not sure I forgive the republikkkan trojan horse for being born. (Note to teabaggers…I really don’t care where it occurred!)

  13. Cliff says:

    Drug cops lie, because, individually, they are a holographic image of the war on some drugs itself. Therefore, they lie, cheat, steal, murder and flash government issued jewelry to deflect liability for their crimes. Judges typically take their word as fact because, most love the war on some drugs and the whole ‘justice system’ is on-board with ‘testilying’

    BTW, these people get to have union representation on the taxpayer’s nickle, because they ‘could’ be taken advantage of, by the government, which represents citizens. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  14. warren says:

    If the drug war did not exist the pigs would still lie. Why? Because their pigs.

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