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Two More US Drug War Deaths

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #744)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues

An Indianapolis man died of cocaine poisoning while being arrested in May and a Massachusetts man was shot and killed Sunday night by police who claimed he was trying to run them down in a bid to escape an attempted drug arrest. Anton Butler and Brandon Payne become the 35th and 36th persons to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

Although a cause of death was not revealed until last week, Anton Butler of Indianapolisdied after being hit with a stun gun during a drug arrest on May 1. According to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, Butler, 28, died after he was spotting making a drug deal by two off-duty deputies. As the deputies approached, Butler shoved drugs in his mouth and ran. The deputies caught up with Butler and used a stun gun to subdue him, but he soon began foaming at the mouth before becoming unconscious. He was pronounced dead at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital. A report released last Thursday showed Butler died from sudden cardiac arrest due to acute cocaine intoxication.

In Lynn, Massachusetts, police shot and killed Brandon Payne, 23, after they said he slammed his car into an unmarked police car as he tried to escape a motor vehicle stop after police witnessed him and his passengers engaging in activities that "may have been either using drugs or waiting to purchase or sell drugs."

According to the Essex County District Attorney's Office
, police tried to stop Payne's car and another vehicle. "Officers approached and both vehicles backed up and rammed into an unmarked vehicle," the DA's office explained. "Fearing for their lives, shots were fired… The driver, Brandon Payne, was struck by gunfire." He died the following morning at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Three other men involved in the incident were charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (the cars) and unlawful possession of firearms. A fourth man got away.

The district attorney's office is investigating the legal justifiability of the police-involved shooting. The three officers and a state trooper involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave with pay until the investigation is complete, in line with standard Lynn Police Department and Massachusetts State Police policy, and the investigation remains active and ongoing.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


tempname_63712 (not verified)

In reply to by boston girl (not verified)

The atmosphere that surrounds the new war on drugs has only regressive objectives,creation of as many domestic enemies as possible to advert attention from economic situation and suspect motives of goverment from the masses,it really is class warfare! and racism in it's purest form!,when will the people wake up?,,i don't know,,i am worried.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 1:04pm Permalink
Youngster (not verified)

I am a supporter of ending the drug war but Payne'sn death had nothing to do with drugs. He was on his way to commit armed home invasion, got stopped by the cops, and got shot when in his attempt to escape (ramming the cop car in reverse). I am from the city it took place in and knew of him.

Fri, 07/27/2012 - 3:41pm Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

What a load of crap that is.This was a 23 year old kid that was gunned down because they could.I have seen this so many times.How do the rest of us ever get by without being able to blow away the first person who uses their car to hit our own?This has happened here in Vancouver several times.The last time was with a cop with a record of violence and unnecessary force.He wasn't even sanctioned.I think he got an award for bravery.I think the kid was 16.A 16 year old kid who was scared and never for one second thought he'd be killed for trying to smash his way out of a road block.He was shot from a range of about three feet.He wasn't trying to hurt anyone.His only crime was joyriding and perhaps car theft.For this he was brutally and with malice, murdered by a well known thug cop.This was there for anyone who was looking to see.It was,in retrospect,inevitable.

Sat, 07/28/2012 - 12:49am Permalink
Kim (not verified)

It certainly cannot be legal to fire at a car full of people just because the driver makes a mistake. That is pure insanity. What if there were unseen children in the car ? Just another examply of why we have to rain in the police and get them accountable to the people with our own citizen inquiry boards and prosecutors. I know it's wishful thinking but we see their crimes committed across the nation without reprisal. Over 1400 people have died under British police custody since 1990 and not a single cop has been convicted or gone to jail.

Sun, 07/29/2012 - 9:42am Permalink
T nazareth (not verified)

Though I've never purchased (knowingly) illegal cigarettes or alcohol, I'm certainly aware of the decades-old grey market that has thrived from the sale of these drugs.The folks at ATF will tell you that illegal trade in these products is a ubiquitous and constant problem in the US that disrupts the welfare of law abiding, freedom loving American citizens. You'll get no argument from me.  Whether  stolen or otherwise diverted from taxation, legal drugs that are deemed for the enjoyment of adults are the same as any other properties moved via criminal enterprises--people that buy them should be prosecuted and, of course, the same for the dealers. Yet, I never hear about citizens being shot by law enforcement while purchasing or selling illegally obtained cigarettes or booze.  What comes to mind is the kid in Goodfellas 'breaking his cherry" with a first minor arrest--the happy lady cabby, handing cartons of Viceroys to the happy cops. Isn't a human life worth more than some stupid powder or concoction that has been made ridiculously valuable just by being forbidden? Imagine how the police would justify the death of a person who choked  on a pack of cigarettes while trying to avoid arrest. Hitting the the woe begotten cigarette dealer in the neck with their nightsticks in a futile attempted to get him to cough up his evil tender. "He swallowed it! Spit out the ciggs, asshole!" And then multiple black sticks start raining down RodneyKingstyle: WHAP. WHAP WHAPITTY WHAP! Would there be the same cruel indifference towards the electrocution torture of man, if he was caught selling illegal Budwiser on the street corner? The police will tell you that people who die at their hands in 'the war on drugs' are dead because they attempted to avoid arrest and otherwise dug their own graves. If they had simply complied with law enforcement and not resisted--didn't run, hide or try to swallow an ounce of rock cocaine--it's called "rock" for good reason---try to swallow a handful gravel while a bunch of guys are kicking and punching you--it's easy to die. It is absolutely appalling that our trusted civil servants can come up with such milktoast excuses for killing their fellow citizens! Avoiding arrest? Buyers and sellers of drugs are making desperate life or death decisions, knowing full well that the American penal system offers nothing but violence, rape and murder. Forced rehabilitation is just a notch above prison, where the Recovery Industry tycoons suckle the very marrow of humanity from sick and broken people who are caught in the agony of addiction. Despised by the payrolled quacks who pretend to be healers, all the while holding the threat of prison over their heads. Law enforcement is often a family tradition in America. I wonder how many rookie cops would feel so gunho about jailing two men for walking hand in hand or tearing the clothes off young women to make sure they were wearing "feminine undergarments" only to be jailed for "transvestism.?" That is exactly the kind brutality that old Grandpa the cop inflicted on gay citizens before the Stonewall riots. 60 years ago this kind of abuse was sanctioned by the police and often ended in the death of the accused. Then it was against gay people. Today it's drug users and sellers. Perhaps tomorrow it will be writers like me. Stop! Enough! Don't tread on me. Timothy Nazareth

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Sun, 07/29/2012 - 11:14am Permalink

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