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Memphis Cop Killed After Interrupting $20 Marijuana Deal

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #897)
Drug War Issues

The Memphis police officer who was shot and killed last Saturday night died after approaching a vehicle and interrupting an apparent marijuana transaction. Officer Sean Bolton was shot in the head during the incident and died that same evening.

Officer Bolton becomes the 37th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year. All the others are civilians, except for a pair of Mississippi police officers killed in April in a traffic stop turned drug search.

At a Sunday press conference, Memphis Police Chief Toney Armstrong said Officer Bolton saw a vehicle parked illegally, pulled in front of it, and turned on his spotlight. As Bolton approached, a passenger got out and fought with Bolton, then shot him.

"After inventorying the suspect vehicle, it was found that Officer Bolton apparently interrupted some sort of drug transaction," Armstrong said, noting that police found a digital scale and 1.7 grams of marijuana. "We're talking about less than 2 grams of marijuana. We're talking about a misdemeanor citation. We probably would not have even transported for that."

That such a seemingly petty offense resulted in an officer's death galled the police chief.

"You gun down, you murder a police officer, for less than two grams of marijuana," he said. "You literally destroy a family. Look at the impact this has had on this department, this community, this city, for less than two grams of marijuana."

But for someone on parole, getting caught with even a little weed could have serious consequences. The man who police have identified as the suspect, 29-year-old Tremaine Wilbourn, was on parole after serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery. Now he's back behind bars, awaiting trial for murder.

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.


bart wakker (not verified)

"You literally destroy a family. Look at the impact this has had on this department, this community, this city, for less than two grams of marijuana."


Indeed, but more than enough peoples futures and careers have been destroyed for less than two grams of marijuana, because of the horrible prohibition and the legal consequences. Thanks to our police and unjust laws.

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 2:56am Permalink
joeblow (not verified)

and for each police officers family destroyed, 1000's  of "criminals" and their familys have been destroyed destroyed by the drug war.

mandatory minimums

enhancement zones

we have supported and kept dictators in power in almost ever single country in latin america

and every one of them have committed atrocities on their populations using their training or weapon from the US.

Prohibition is also what drives te price of these drugs so extremely high, that selling them can easily change your life. That means someone will always step up to continue the work, and they are worth killing over.

Then the many many Trillions we have spent in the US alone, not to mention all the other places.

That doesn't include the Trillions we spend on locking people up, The USA has more people in prisons than any other country on Earth, and yet we have more people buying and using drugs than ever before.

More than when you could buy Morphine at the Pharm w/o a RX, and Cocaine was the main thing in Coca-Cola.

Pathetic and Depressing

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 1:26pm Permalink
habadash (not verified)

Seriously. How many people has the drug war destroyed mentally, socially and physically. When you weigh those costs against getting  caught for something that is "NEVER" going away then don't be surprised when bad things happen to the people involved in enforcing or supporting these drug laws.

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 11:27am Permalink
GB (not verified)

This Memphis policeman, and so many other people, whether citizens or law enforcement officers, would be alive today to be with their families and loved ones if Marijuana was legalized. But at the same time, so many law enforcement institutions and government functions would be 'out of work' if Marijuana were legal. 
Because of this, our government holds on to the idea of criminalizing YOU, the common people, for your desire to possess and use. This fear of being 'caught' creates the mindset of people protecting themselves against potential police action, often to the extremes that make the headlines. If the act of buying, selling and using were not criminal, there would be no need to fear the repercussion of being happened upon by an officer of the law during such transactions. 
In effect, the government's enforcement of not legalizing Marijuana is the direct cause for the murders of this police officer, as well as police officers and citizens all over the country that initiate from grow-house busts, buying, selling, and using a natural herb. The "drug war". Think about it Mr. Policeman, your own employers are in effect setting you up and causing your fellow colleagues to be murdered all in the name of the 'business' of anti-legalization.
How many police officers and citizens have been murdered due to Marijuana in Colorado since it has been legalized?
Wed, 08/05/2015 - 5:17pm Permalink
wyoung377 (not verified)

Eric Garner was killed behind selling loose cigarettes  His family was destroyed, his community was impacted.

Are his murderers in jail awaiting trial?

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 2:23pm Permalink

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