Newsbrief: Drug Checkpoints at West Virginia NORML Rally Draw Lawsuit 12/27/02

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


Official harassment of people on their way to a event sponsored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in Barbour County, West Virginia, in July 2001 has resulted in a lawsuit against the West Virginia State Police and the Barbour County Sheriff's Department. The lawsuit, filed on December 19 by West Virginia ACLU attorneys on behalf of two men who were stopped and searched at a checkpoint near the NORML meeting, charges that West Virginia law enforcement authorities violated the right of free assembly and due process protections.

Thomas Thacker and Brett Gasper were among attendees at the NORML function who were stopped and subjected to drug-sniffing dogs while on their way to the event. "I was asked if my car could be searched, and when I said no, the drug dogs were brought on the scene to pressure me to waive my constitutional rights," said Gasper in an ACLU press release. "I don't like drugs, and I especially don't like big German Shepherds in my face, or dirty looks from policeman or insinuating remarks from the same."

State troopers and sheriff's deputies ran the drug checkpoint "in a manner that singled out and discriminated against NORML members, supporters and other festival attendees," charged the lawsuit. The lawsuit also charged that the roadblocks were set up to investigate criminal activity (as opposed to improving public safety like sobriety checkpoints) and thus required individualized suspicion before of such activity before searches would be allowable.

Thacker and Gasper are seeking an injunction to bar similar checkpoints in the future, as well as compensation and punitive damages. Neither was arrested.

"Members of law enforcement shouldn't have to violate the law to enforce the law," said West Virginia ACLU director Andrew Schneider.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #269, 12/27/02 Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Newsbrief: New Zealand MP Tanczos Cleared in Marijuana Probe | Newsbrief: Nevada High Court Voids Meth Drug Ingredient Law | Newsbrief: "What About the Children?" -- Colorado Bills Target Home Meth Labs | Newsbrief: Ohio Supreme Court Backs Workers in Workers' Comp Drug Test Ruling | Newsbrief: Brit MP Calls for Drug Testing 10-Year-Olds, Comments Came in Debate Over Criminal Justice Bill | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: US-Trained Thai Drug Unit Pulls Back from Burmese Border | Newsbrief: Columbia, Missouri, Marijuana Petition Has Enough Signatures | Newsbrief: Tampa Ordinance Would Criminalize "Drug Dealer Behavior" | Newsbrief: Drug Checkpoints at West Virginia NORML Rally Draw Lawsuit | Online Petition Launched Supporting MEPs' Call for Ending Prohibition | Media Scan: Montreal Compassion Club, Impact Press on Marijuana Legalization | DC Job Opportunities at DRCNet | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]