Law Enforcement: Facing Budget Woes, Minneapolis Axes Dope Squad

Facing a $5 million budget deficit, the Minneapolis Police Department responded Monday by disbanding its narcotics squad. That makes Minneapolis the only major city in the US without one.
Minneapolis skyline
Last year, the 14-member narcotics squad investigated nearly 4,000 cases resulting in 519 federal and state charges. Officers seized about $300,000 in drug money, as well as 24 guns and 26 vehicles.

Police Chief Tim Dolan said the department still has sufficient resources to handle drug cases. He said community resource teams in the department's five precincts will handle street-level and mid-level dealing, while the Violent Offender Task Force will work on high-level cases. The department also has officers seconded to an anti-drug task force with state, local, and DEA members, and it has just started a gang unit, he said.

"Are we going to be as good as we were before in dealing with drug cases? I don't know," he said. "Their stats speak for themselves."

The former head narc, Lt. Marie Przynski, was not happy. "This unit has been highly productive, if not the most productive unit in the Minneapolis Police Department," Przynski said. "I'm disappointed, and so are my officers, about this decision."

The 14 former narcs will be reassigned, with three of them joining the Financial Crimes unit, including an asset forfeiture specialist and a specialist in pharmaceutical investigations ranging from forged prescriptions to insurance fraud. Other members of the defunct dope squad will be assigned at least temporarily to street patrols.

The department still needs to cut 50 positions to get under budget. It may also reduce the number of deputy chiefs from three to two. Still, Dolan said neither street patrols nor key units, such as homicide, robbery, sex crimes, juvenile, and domestic abuse would be reduced.

One city council member, Ralph Remington, suggested that the department could have more money if its members quit misbehaving. Just three weeks ago, the city paid out $495,000 to a man slugged by a Minneapolis police officer during a drug raid last year. That was only the most recent high-profile settlement paid by the city for departmental misbehavior.

"The department could save a lot of money if they corrected the bad behavior of a few bad cops," said Remington.

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Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

costs of demonizing a harmless drug

The (Nixon's) war on drugs had been a complete failure in every way except making the Right (always looking for ways to make ordinary people miserable) happy. The Peace movement was fueled by marijuana, so the WOD served Nixon's purposes to a T.

Millions of lives have been ruined, not by drugs--and certainly not by marijuana, god's gift to suffering humanity--but the war on drugs. When the Bush Administration started putting on its side-show at the airports, it presented an excellent opportunity to shift DEA operatives into airport security. The cost-savings would have been humungous. But of course, the Bush Boys didn't want savings, they wanted to bankrupt the nation in order to kill off the social programs that Republicans so hate: social security, Medicare, workers comp, the 40-hour week, paid time off, public transportation, the laws against child labor, the vote for women, Title IX, etc., etc.

Remember the general welfare? It's in the preamble to the Constitution and has been demonized by the Right, from Whigs to Republicans ever since. Minnesota is good on the general welfare and is reputed to be a particularly civilized state, so it's perhaps appropriate that its largest city would take this step. Personally, I think Vermont is the most civilized state in the union, but Minnesota is right up there. Except perhaps for its law against sleeping naked.

Suprising, asset forfeiture can be very profitable.....

And simply applied, no warrant, no charges, no crime committed, no limit, no messy arrest's, no evidence required, heck, no judge either, and it can apply to anyone, might even get to practice taser tactics, what fun. I mean, hell, other PD's are rolling in forfeited limo's, porches, they get ski boats, and who can resist cash, especially when you get to count it. And, who's the judge gonna believe, a cop, or, some low life drug dealing scum bag, even though he didn't actually have drugs at the time, he could have. That's what the "war on drugs" has become. We now have laws which let our government, steal our property, lock us up indefinitely, without a trial, torture us, take our kids, and give them to child molesters, or killers, "for their protection". Our government raids foreign lands, and kills millions of their people, but, they're the "terrorists", and we must stop them from killing ........Uh, whatever. How can anybody 'love" this country? Seriously? Name one good thing our government has done, EVER. Now, name some bad ones.

Are More Police Looking to Asset Forfeiture, For Employment?

Did you note the Minneapolis Police Department facing a $5 million budget deficit, reassigned its narcotic officers to Asset Forfeiture?

As the Recession drags on, it is problematic Police departments with a budget crisis, may look to asset forfeiture of Citizens’ property to pay officers’ salaries. Of great concern, what might happen to “Fair Justice” if police become “dependent” on taking property from others to pay their salaries?

There are over 200 U.S. laws and violations that can subject property to civil asset forfeiture and Citizens to huge fines. Corrupt Police, too easily can falsify evidence to civilly forfeit property or cause someone huge civil/criminal fines to attach of their assets.

Civil Asset Forfeiture requires a lower standard of evidence than criminal evidence, “only a Preponderance of Civil Evidence” to seize property. No one need be charged with a crime. Local Police cooperating with federal agencies can under the Patriot Act use as civil evidence—to impose fines or Forfeit assets, the fact a person knew about a crime but didn’t report it; or separate from the Patriot Act, civilly forfeit assets under Title 18 from both Guilty and Innocent persons: e.g., seize a landlord’s property because he had reason to know his tenant was dealing drugs or failed to act in a “Timely Fashion” to stop when discovered.

Most Citizens forced to defend their assets against Government Civil Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a criminal prosecution trap for both Guilty and innocent Citizens. Any fresh denial to the government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do it” can “involuntarily waive” your right to assert in your defense—the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” has passed for prosecution. Any fresh denial of guild, even 30 years after a crime was committed could allow Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence, including information discovered during a “Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceeding” to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason, many innocent Citizens are reluctant to defend their assets against Government Civil Asset Forfeiture. Re: Waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: See James Brogan V. United States. N0.96-1579; USC18, Sec.1001

Congress could help protect Americans from police/government forfeiture abuse by passing legislation that raises the standard of evidence Government must use for Civil Asset Forfeiture from a mere “Preponderance of Evidence” to “Clear and Convincing Evidence.”

Boo Hoo...

That just breaks my Goddamn heart...

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