We are excited to announce that authors of three important new works have each agreed to sign at least 25 copies for our newest membership offer, which comes at a time when the organization needs your support.
Dr. Carl Hart went from the mean streets of Miami to the halls of academe. His new book, High Price, tells his story -- and delivers a blistering critique of drug policy, drug science and how it's understood, and race and class bias along the way. It's a gripping read, too.
Interns are making an important difference fighting the good fight with us at StoptheDrugWar.org.
At least the DEA didn't raid anybody this week, but some Michigan cops did. That and more in this week's update.
Marijuana decriminalization goes into effect Monday in Vermont, leaving New Hampshire as the odd man out when it comes to decriminalization in the region.
State revenuers in Colorado have released temporary rules for governing the state's looming legal marijuana commerce, but at this point, they are only a sketch of what is to come.
Two bills reducing penalties for marijuana offenses have been signed into law in Oregon. They take effect immediately.
A Malaysian government minister has said the Southeast Asian nation is shifting toward decriminalizing drug use, but her remarks suggest drug users could just trade jail cells for treatment beds.
An LA County Sheriff's Department "narcotics" raid on a marijuana grow in a rural property ended with an 80-year-old shot to death after police encountered him holding a gun in his own home. That's the fourth drug war death in a week.
A DEA drug raid in West virginia turned deadly Wednesday morning when state troopers shot and killed a man holding a rifle on them after they burst through his door at dawn.
Thuggery in Philly, protecting drug shipments in Houston and Detroit, sticky fingers in Los Angeles, and that's not all.
We are excited to announce that authors of three important new works have each agreed to sign at least 25 copies for our newest membership offer!
(Click on the links above for more info on the three books. Phil's review of High Price is now online here, and reviews of the others are forthcoming.)
To donate, and to order any of these or other items we offer, please use our online donation form at http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate, or scroll down for info on donating by mail. We are asking donations of $50 or more for a signed copy of any one or these books, $95 or more for signed copies of any two, or $135 or more for signed copies of all three. (If more than 25 people order the books by the time you place your order, we will ask the authors if they're willing to sign more. If that can't be worked out, we'll contact you and offer to make different arrangements, whether for a full or partial refund or to send different items.)
Now, $50 is a little more than we've asked for such items in the past, and of course they can be ordered online or purchased in a bookstore for less. Things have changed in the drug reform funding scene, making our organization more dependent on membership to continue our programs -- I hope you'll choose to support us at this time. Note that we continue to offer a range of books, videos, and StoptheDrugWar.org gift items with donations of as little as $7 -- visit our donation form to see the full list.
Also note that donations to StoptheDrugWar.org can be tax-deductible, supporting our educational work, or non-deductible, supporting our lobbying work. (Note that selecting any gift items reduces the amount of your donation that is deductible -- which with a smaller gift amount can be most of it.) Donations can be made by credit card or PayPal at http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate, or sent by mail to P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036. If you are donating by check, please make it payable to DRCNet Foundation (if tax-deductible) or Drug Reform Coordination Network (if not deductible). If you wish to donate stock, the information to give your brokerage is Ameritrade, (800) 669-3900), DTC#0188, and account number 781926492 for tax-deductible gifts or 864663500 for non-deductible gifts -- please make sure to contact us if donating in this way.
Thank you for standing with us to stop the drug war's cruelties and meet the opportunity this time offers to make a brighter future. As recent events show, time and the truth are on our side!
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High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, by Dr. Carl Hart (2013, Harper/Harper Collins Publishers, 340 pp., $26.99 HB)
Dr. Carl Hart grew up black and poor in Miami in the 1970s
, learned discipline from his desire to be a professional athlete, joined the armed forces, and wandered almost by happenstance into a career in the neurosciences
. Now, Hart is at the pinnacle of his field -- a respected researcher in drug effects, the first African-American to become a tenured professor in the sciences at Columbia University, and a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and Dependency. And he has some things to say.
Some of those things contradict the conventional wisdom, but Hart has the cred -- both street and academic -- to state them. Although it is the addict or problematic drug user who is too often the media's face of drug use or the subject of scientific research, he notes, the vast majority of drug users are not addicts or problematic. And yes, that even extends to the most demonized drugs, like crack. While we were told one hit could get you strung out, it turns out only a small fraction of crack consumers are addicts, he points out.
Hart also has good, practical advice -- naive drug users shouldn't take drugs the same way experienced users do, for example, or get enough sleep! -- based not only on scientific research, but also personal observation and experience. Now at the pinnacle of his profession, he also wants to restore some sanity to our drug policies.
Dr. Hart has come a long way from the mean, if sun-splashed, streets of Miami, and with High Price, he takes you along for the ride. The journey is well worth it. Part memoir, part social history, part drug science, part plea for sanity on the issues of drugs, race, and class, High Price is revelatory as well as readable, illuminating as well as incisive, as impassioned as it is important.
While Hart grew up the wrong color and in a family scrabbling to hang on to its lower middle class status, his is, above all, an American story -- a story of coming of age, overcoming adversity, and striving for success and understanding in a world seemingly stacked against him. It's also the story of the American working class, buffeted by the de-industrialization that began in the 1970s, targeted by Reagan Republicans with cuts in social programs in the 1980s, and mostly dealt with by "tough on crime" and "tough on drugs" policies that have been in place ever since. That the malignant swelling of the nation's prison population is tied to Reagan era policies ( though many of them enacted by Democratic legislators) too often goes unnoted.
But of course, Hart isn't an unhyphenated American, he's African-American, and that means he carries an additional burden, the assumption too many make of criminality based on little more than his skin color. He wasn't expected to succeed, but to become a number, like so many of his peers. And, as he notes, but for the grace of god he could have gone down that path. He recounts the teenage criminality of he and his peers, making the stark point that a single arrest could make the difference between a career as a scientist and a career as an ex-con car washer. Some of his friends, no better or worse than he, had that unfortunate first encounter with law enforcement and the criminal justice system and never recovered: Educational opportunities blocked, job opportunities lost, they were essentially assigned to the scrap heap.
For some of them, it was a drug bust. Slinging dope was and is a way of life for the marginalized poor, an income, although not a great one, and a way to achieve status and respect. But of course, it's also a ticket to the slammer, particularly if you're poor and of color, without the resources available to middle class white folks. One thing Hart makes crystal clear is just how stacked the deck is against the urban poor, and that alone makes his book worth noting.
Hart grew into young adulthood imbibing the conventional wisdom about how drugs had had such a devastating impact on his community, but he also began to start thinking critically about the mismatch between rhetoric and reality. At some point along the way, he had a Chris Rock moment.
"You know what they say, crack is destroying the ghetto," Rock once famously observed. "Yeah, like the ghetto was so nice before crack. They say that shit like everyone in the 'hood had a yacht, a mansion, and a swimming pool, and crack came by and dried it all up."
As Hart began studying psychology and eventually neuroscience, he began noticing that the effects of crack cocaine widely touted in media and political discourses didn't match the science. In fact, he observed, most of the devastating effects attributed to crack could more fairly and accurately be attributed to poverty. Crack didn't bring guns to the ghetto; they were already there. Crack didn't bring broken families to the ghetto; they were already there. It may not have helped, but it was not the root cause of the problem.
"The effect of crack, when it had one, was mainly to exacerbate the problems that I'd seen in my home and in the hood since the 1970s," he wrote. "The drug's pharmacology didn't produce excess violence."
The studies on which he embarked, moving on from observing the effects of drugs on rats to observing their effects on people, led him to a startling -- and eye-opening -- conclusion: "Much of what we are doing in terms of drug education, treatment and public policy is inconsistent with scientific data."
Hart's critique extends to the science itself. He describes famous experiments where rats or monkeys alone in a cage will repeatedly press a lever to get more drugs, up to the point of death itself. But he then explains how those doses are many times higher than those any human would use, and he makes the crucial point that obsessive drug-taking behavior is reduced when the lab animals are part of a community and when they have other options.
Based on his scientific research, as well as his own observations and historical research (and musical and lyrical inspiration from the likes of Bob Marley and Public Enemy), Hart decided he needed to speak out against the injustices of the war on drugs. He became a board member of the Drug Policy Alliance, he began speaking to groups large and small, and High Price is part of that same education project.
This is not your typical drug policy tome. It's not a paean to pot, nor is it a dry academic treatise. But it is important, not only because it provides a voice for the voiceless peers he left behind, but also because it is a science- and evidence-based clarion call for a smarter and more human approach to drugs, one that situates drugs and problematic drug use within the broader social context. And it's a damned good read, too.
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StoptheDrugWar.org works for an end to drug prohibition worldwide and an end to the "drug war" in its current form. We believe that much of the harm commonly attributed to "drugs" is really the result of placing drugs in a criminal environment. We believe the global drug war has fueled violence, civil instability, and public health crises; and that the currently prevalent arrest- and punishment-based policies toward drugs are unjust. Please visit our web site, and please read more about us.
We are seeking Legislative, Writing/Research, Web Content, Information Technology, and Admin/Finance interns (potentially still this semester, depending on your interests, definitely for the summer). Communications may also be applicable to current organizational projects. Preference will be given to applicants with some demonstrated experience the relevant fields, and to applicants in the Washington, DC area. However, consideration will also be given to enthusiasm for drug policy and criminal justice reform.
Note that StoptheDrugWar.org internships are unpaid. We reimburse for metro fare. Please also note that the organization has functioned as a "virtual office" environment since spring 2011. Staff will meet with interns on a regular basis during the semester, and can be available to meet and work together on a weekly or even daily basis, but this will happen in places like coffee shops or campuses.
In order to help our interns forge ties with the larger community, we are organizing intern networking social hours with other organizations in drug policy and justice reform. We are also arranging tours of the DC courts and possibly jail, and public health and other programs that have bearing on drug policy. Interns are also welcome to join us at the frequent legislative working group meetings that take place on our issues here in Washington.
Please send cover letter, resume, and any supporting material you'd like to include, to StoptheDrugWar.org executive director David Borden, at [email protected]. (We recommend using a return receipt to ensure your emails are not blocked by any filters.) Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you. Information on our specific intern positions follows below.
Legislative interns will help, and in some cases play a leading role, on the following organizational projects:
- Bill and vote tracking, at the federal and state level, including write-ups for our web site's legislative center (possibly in collaboration with Writing interns);
- Creating action alerts on current legislation and other advocacy priorities, to be distributed through our web site and email list (possibly in collaboration with Writing and Web Content interns); and
- Coalition outreach to secure partners for organizational sign-on letters to Congress.
Interns may also join us at working group meetings on issues including but not limited to sentencing reform, drug policy including marijuana law reform; collateral consequences of criminal convictions; and reinvigorating the presidential clemency/pardon system. Spanish-language skills may be useful.
Writing/Research interns will have the following opportunities:
- Assist Drug War Chronicle editor Phillip S. Smith with ongoing article collection and research for feature articles on our web site (which are frequently reprinted on major news sites such as alternet.org).
- Assist with research on special topics, the goal of which is the publication of special reports. Likely projects include but are not necessarily limited to follow-up research on US drug war killings (see our recent report here); procuring drug arrest data and possibly arrest reports from various jurisdictions for various months and years, to evaluate the results of recent policy reforms, particularly for marijuana.
- Bill and vote tracking, at the federal and state level, including write-ups for our web site's legislative center (possibly in collaboration with Legislative interns);
- Creating action alerts on current legislation and other advocacy priorities, to be distributed through our web site and email list (possibly in collaboration with Legislative interns);
- Updating an archive of SWAT raids and other paramilitarized policing activity that went wrong (possibly in collaboration with Web Content interns); and
- Assisting with updating or creating various special sections of our web site (possibly in collaboration with Web Content interns).
Interns with Spanish-language skills may be involved with reporting on the Mexican drug war.
Web Content interns will assist with the following work:
- Daily link and other content postings;
- Development or maintenance of special sections of our web site (possibly in collaboration with Writing interns); and
- General social media work, including a number special social media projects.
We may also initiate an informal web video series, for which intern assistance would be invaluable, but this has not been decided yet.
IT interns will assist with the following projects:
- Backend web site programming, primarily involving streamlining of our donations processing system;
- Server migration to a "cloud" arrangement;
- Security including PCI compliance;
- Selection and set up of needed software and services; and
- Database-related projects.
Admin & Finance interns may assist with the following organizational needs, among others:
- Nonprofit accounting including intra-company allocations and 990 preparation;
- Budget & cash flow analysis;
- Membership administration;
- Database work.
Admin & finance interns will gain familiarity with a significant range of nonprofits' administrative activities, and depending on schedule may have the opportunity to sit in on portions of board discussions or meetings with advisors.
As noted above, communications skills are applicable to a number of facets of our work this semester, and communications majors are encouraged to apply. We have not listed communications as a separate internship this semester, because we have not decided whether to engage in specific outreach efforts to mainstream media this semester. Along with the possibility that we will do so, other work of relevance to communications can be found in our Legislative, Writing, and Web Content internships.
Thank you for considering an internship with our organization. We look forward to hearing from you.
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At least the DEA didn't raid anybody this week, but some Michigan cops did. That and more in this week's update. Let's get to it:
On Wednesday, the first dispensary opened in Santa Cruz County. Greenmed Wellness Center opened in Rio Rico. A physician was on hand to review patient histories and issue recommendations so potential patients could apply for state-issued ID cards.
Last Tuesday, the Highland city council voted to ban medical marijuana delivery services. The San Bernardino County city already bans dispensaries.
Last Wednesday, the Bakersfield city council voted to ban dispensaries. The ordinance will take effect in 30 days. Actual enforcement of the ban will vary depending upon the situation, but investigations will be initiated by complaints, the city attorney said, and likely will involve both the city Code Enforcement Department, which investigates zoning violations; and the Police Department, which will determine whether a particular building actually houses a business where marijuana is being sold.
Last Friday, the Los Angeles City Attorney released a list of 134 dispensaries that will be allowed to operate in the city under Proposition D, the May initiative approved by voters. The dispensaries on the list are those that registered with the city prior to City Hall imposing a moratorium on new facilities in 2007. Opponents of the measure, who are seeking to allow more clinics to open in the city, have said they are reviewing possible legal challenges to the city's law.
On Monday, a medical marijuana summit in San Diego brought together medical marijuana-friendly Mayor Bob Filner, US Attorney Laura Duffy, and other representatives of of law enforcement, science, health care, education and community interest. The summit led to talk of hopes that local and federal officials can come to some sort of working arrangement in dealing with dispensaries.
Last Friday, a company filed an application with the city of West Haven to open a medical marijuana production facility. Advanced Grow Labs LLC will appear before the city Planning and Zoning Commission next Tuesday. But even if the city approves the proposal, the facility will still have to apply for a state license, and those aren't expected to be handed out for several months.
Last Wednesday, police raided three dispensaries near Battle Creek, the Karmacy, Southwest Compassion Care Center, and Happy Daze. Police also served a search warrant on offices of the city of Springfield, seeking documents about licenses and financial records for the three businesses, which they claim were operating illegally. Police seized about six pounds of marijuana, 150 plants, seven handguns, ammunition, and "IEDs," which they described as "homemade fireworks." Michael Mcain, owner of Compassion Care Center wasn't happy. "Police said they had made a buy. But everyone who comes in has a card," Cain told the Battle Creek Enquirer. "They came in and robbed us and took all of our money and all of our stuff."
On Tuesday, the Marysville city council banned dispensaries and collective gardens. The Snohomish County community had had temporary moratoria on them since 2011. The Marysville ordinance does allow for individual gardens of up to 15 plants.
[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]
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As of Monday, Vermont will be the 17th state to decriminalize marijuana possession. A bill passed earlier this year goes into effect then.
The measure, House Bill 200
, was sponsored by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington), with a tripartisan
group of 38 cosponsors. It ends criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish and replaces them with fines of $200 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for subsequent offenses. Possession of more than an ounce remains a criminal offense, as does cultivation of any number of plants.
People under 21 caught with decriminalized amounts of marijuana or hash will have to undergo substance abuse screening.
"This is a much-needed step forward toward a more sensible marijuana policy," said Matt Simon, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which lobbied in support of the legislation. "Nobody should be subjected to life-altering criminal penalties simply for possessing a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol."
The bill passed with the support of State Attorney General William Sorrell and Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn, both of whom testified in support of it. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) signed it into law June 6.
The advent of decriminalization in Vermont leaves New Hampshire as the only New England that has failed to do so. In the region, marijuana possession is decriminalized in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.
Now that the state has embraced decriminalization, it's on to the next phase, said MPP's Simon.
"There is still work to be done and support is growing for more comprehensive marijuana policy reform," he said. "Until marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, sales will remain uncontrolled and profits will benefit illegal actors instead of legitimate, taxpaying businesses. Marijuana prohibition is a failed policy, and it is time for Vermont to explore the possibility of adopting a new approach," Simon said.
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The Colorado Department of Revenue Monday released temporary rules for the operation of legal marijuana commerce, providing more details on what the nascent industry will look like, but still leaving many complicated matters unresolved.
The department had only about a month to come up with the rules after Gov
. John Hickenlooper
(D) signed off on the legislature's starting framework in late May. Officials hope to have complete rules in place before marijuana stores are supposed to open in January. The interim rules expire in October, and state officials have said they will engage in a more detailed rule-making process to spell out just what is and is not allowed.
While the temporary rules take up 64 pages, some of the highlights include requiring medical marijuana dispensaries to bar minors if they want to sell recreational marijuana, requiring child-proof packing for marijuana and marijuana-infused products (edibles), and requiring that marijuana be labeled with the license numbers of the producer and retailer, as well as an as yet undetermined "universal symbol, indicating that the container holds marijuana."
The temporary rules note that more regulatory detail will be coming in areas such as advertising, health and safety protections, labeling, testing, and inventory control. They contain little detail on key aspects, particularly the "seed-to-sale" tracking system which has been the bedrock of the state's efforts to prevent diversion.
"The State Licensing Authority intends to engage in additional rulemaking to establish additional inventory tracking system requirements," the department said in the rules.
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Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) Monday signed into law two measures that will reduce the punishments for certain marijuana-related offenses. The changes go into effect immediately.
The first, Senate Bill 40
, lowers the penalties for possession of more than an ounce of pot. Under the old laws, possession of more than four ounces was a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Now, it becomes a Class B felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Similarly, possession of between one and four ounces was a Class B felony; now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months.
SB 40 also reduces the penalties for marijuana cultivation. Unlawful manufacture was a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; now, it becomes a Class B felony dropping the maximum sentence by half.
Possession of less than an ounce of pot is decriminalized in Oregon, but people cited for possession also faced a mandatory suspension of driving privileges unless there were "compelling circumstances" not do. Senate Bill 82 eliminates that suspension. It does not, however, lift the mandatory suspension of driving privileges for people caught with more than an ounce.
Oregon is likely to be one of the next states to attempt to legalize marijuana outright. An underfunded initiative there in 2012 got 47% of the vote, and efforts to get a new initiative (or initiatives) on the ballot for 2014 have already been announced.
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A Malaysian government minister said Sunday the Southeast Asian nation is moving toward decriminalizing drug possession, but her remarks also suggested that drug users would be exchanging jail cells for treatment beds. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri said the government's policy was moving from prosecuting drug users to treating them.
Nancy Shukri (frim.gov.my)
Her remarks came at the end of a High Level Meeting on Drug Policy and Public Health sponsored by the Global Commission on Drug Policy
. The meeting was held in conjunction with the 2013 International Aids Conference
held over the weekend in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
Shukri also said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) goal of a drug-free region by 2015 was not realistic, but that smarter approaches by authorities could reduce drug dependence.
"There is no such thing as drug-free but we can control it by changing or shifting our policy," Shukri said. "Instead of looking at drug dependents as criminals, we should actually look at them as patients. Instead of bringing them to jail, we bring them to the clinic," she told a press gaggle after the AIDS conference ended.
Shukri said that Malaysia had been taking steps toward a more effective and humane drug policy, but that those initiatives were not widely known. She cited ongoing needle exchange programs for injection drug users. The sharing of needles is a known vector for the transmission of the AIDS virus, and the program had resulted in a reduction in new HIV/AIDS infections, she said.
"Others include the harm reduction program and upgrading of the rehabilitation centers into Cure & Care Clinics," Shukri said. "We are already there (decriminalizing drugs) but we are not making it loud enough for the people to understand that we have this policy. Our policy has not been established in a formal way."
That could be coming, though. Shukri said the government is currently reviewing the country's drug laws, including the Drug Dependents (Treatment and Rehabilitation) Act of 1983.
"The Law Reform Committee is now in the process of discussing to amend that particular provision [Section 4(1)(b) of the Act which allows the detention of a suspected drug dependent for up to 14 days for a test to be conducted]," she said.
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Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed an armed 80-year-old man as they served a search warrant on a marijuana grow operation in a remote part of the county early Thursday morning. The as yet unnamed man [Update: He has been identified as Eugene Mallory]
becomes the 19th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year
, and the fourth in the past week.
According to NBC Los Angeles, deputies were serving a "narcotics" search warrant at the multi-unit rural property in the desert community of Littlerock at 7:30am. Lt. Dave Dolson told the TV station deputies entered the home through an unlocked front door, and one deputy fired when they encountered a man armed with a handgun. The man, who may have been the property owner, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Later Thursday afternoon, the Sheriff's Department released a statement on the killing.
"When deputies approached a rear bedroom at the location, they encountered an 80-year-old male who was armed with a semi-automatic handgun. The suspect pointed the handgun at the deputies and a deputy-involved shooting occurred," the statement read.
Deputies recovered the gun, marijuana, and growing equipment at the home where the man was shot. Residents who lived in other units on the property were detained, but later released.
The shooting will be investigated separately by several agencies, including the offices of the Los Angeles County District Attorney and Coroner, and the Sheriff's Homicide and Internal Affairs bureaus.
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An armed West Virginia homeowner who confronted dawn police raiders with a rifle was shot and killed by State Police officers Wednesday. Richard Dale Kohler, 66, becomes the 18th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year, and the third in less than a week.
According to the West Virginia Gazette
, State Police spokesman Sgt
. Michael Baylous
said officers from the State Police special response team and DEA agents knocked on the door of Kohler's home at 6:05am
. to serve a federal warrant. The newspaper described the special response team as "akin to a SWAT team."
Officers knocked on the door, Baylous said, but no one answered, so police "had to break down the door or forcefully open it somehow." Baylous gave no indication of the amount of time that elapsed between the initial knock on the door and police breaking it open.
When police break down the door, they saw Kohler pointing a rifle at them, Baylous said. The troopers opened fire, shooting multiple rounds and killing Kohler. Baylous said he did not think Kohler had fired his weapon, but it was still unclear.
Baylous said the warrant police were executing was part of a larger, ongoing drug investigation with multiple suspects. He would not comment further on the nature of the investigation, except to say that the DEA division involved was one that focused primarily on prescription drugs.
A neighbor told WSAZ TV that she had seen unusual amounts of traffic going to and from Kohler's home, but that she was surprised to hear he even had a gun.
"I mean, I can't see him just open fire like that, but you know when all that comes after you, you never know what somebody's going to do," Christina Murdock said.
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Thuggery in Philly, protecting drug shipments in Houston and Detroit, sticky fingers in Los Angeles, and that's not all. Let's get to it:
In Philadelphia, five undercover narcotics officers are the subject of a civil rights lawsuit
filed by a man who claims he was wrongfully arrested during a drug raid at a friend's auto shop that included acts of police brutality directed at him and others present. Thomas Basara
claims the narcs used a battering ram to break down an office door and conduct a search without a search warrant. The lawsuit says the narcs never identified themselves as police, asked those present "where the money and drugs were hidden," then brutally assaulted them. Office Thomas Liciardello
was named as an officer who struck one man with a steel pipe, knocking him unconscious, then kicked him in the mouth so hard his front upper row of teeth were separated from their roots. He also broke the man's index finger and pointed his service revolver at the man's head, threatening to kill him. Basara
claims that officers also beat him, knocking out two of his teeth and causing rib and back injuries, and that the narcs stole $41,000 in cash as drug profits, but only turned in $6,600, keeping $34,400 for themselves. The other officers named in the suit are Brian Reynolds, Brian Speiser
, Michael Spicer and Lt. Robert Otto.
In Orange, Texas, a former Orange police officer was arrested last Tuesday after a citizen's complaint that he was stealing prescription pain pills. Taylor Scott Saleme resigned from his position as the complaint was investigated. He had worked as a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy for two years before joining the Orange Police Department last August. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance -- hydrocodone. He has bailed out of jail.
In Washington Park, Illinois, a Washington Park police officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he smuggled drugs to a female jail inmate. Douglas Young, 61, is charged with official misconduct for bringing narcotics and prescription drugs to an inmate of the St. Clair County Jail, where he "used his position as a law enforcement officer" to arrange jail visits to a woman in custody on theft charges. He was being held on $25,000 bail.
In Los Angeles, a former LA County sheriff's narcotics sergeant was arrested Monday on charges he stole $4,000 in cash during a sting set up by his own department. Bonnie Bryant III, 57, took the money in a July 2012 sting set up by the department's criminal internal affairs division. That sting went down after Bryant was caught on a business surveillance camera stealing money during a May 2012 bust. He is charged with one felony count each of grand theft of personal property and embezzlement by a public official. He was a narcotics task force supervisor when arrested and resigned from the department in December. He's looking at up to four years and six months if convicted.
In Houston, two former Houston police officer were convicted last Friday of protecting what they thought were drug shipments in return for bribes. Emerson Canizales, 27, and Michael Miceli, 27, went down after investigators learned they were involved in illegal conduct involving drugs and bribes. Both men acknowledged taking money to protect the drug load. They were convicted of extortion under color of law and face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced in September.
In Detroit, a former Highland park police officer was sentenced last Thursday to a year and a day in prison for agreeing to take money in exchange for delivering a shipment of cocaine. Craig Clayton, 55, was one of four Highland Park officers charged with taking bribes and conspiring to distribute cocaine. Clayton was accused of bringing his badge and gun to protect a shipment, and accepting $1,500 in cash from an FBI informant. He copped to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. Two other officers in the case have pleaded guilty.
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