No Drug Bust is Worth the Life of a Good Cop

Peter Moskos at the LEAP blog discusses the anniversary of the murder of police officer Marcellus Ward:

Ward was killed 25 years ago. His assassination and last dying breaths were caught on tape and haunted the memory of many Baltimore police officers.

At a memorial, held where Ward was killed, Commissioner Bealefeld said that it is "not for us to judge the results of his sacrifice." And certainly a memorial to a slain officer is not the time and place for that.

But at some point we need to ask. Why are we risking our lives? What are we getting in return? If we don't ask these questions, more good men and women will die.

25 years later, the same counterproductive approaches that took Ward's life are still in effect, more so now than ever. Baltimore is widely recognized as ground zero for urban drug warfare in America and you could throw many more lives into the fire without even denting the drugs and violence for which Baltimore has tragically come to be known. Sadly, that is exactly what will happen.

Nevertheless, Ward will be remembered -- as he should be – for giving his life trying to make his city a better place. And, were it not for his sacrifice, powerful voices for drug policy reform, such as Kurt Schmoke, Neill Franklin and Peter Moskos might never have emerged from Baltimore.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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No Drug Bust is Worth Anything

Screwing up people’s lives with criminal charges.  Zero value points.

Killing civil rights.  Zero points.

Killing court time.  Zero points.

Killing drug suspects.  Zero points.

Killing drug suspects’ pets.  Zero points.

Killing herbal medicine.  Zero points.

Killing honesty.  Zero points.

Killing the innocent.  Zero points.

Killing justice.  Zero points.

Killing Mexicans.  Zero points.

Killing Mexico.  Zero points.

Killing police hours.  Zero points.

Killing police.  Zero points.

Killing privacy.  Zero points.

Killing scientific integrity.  Zero points.

Killing taxpayer money.  Zero points.

Any way you look at it, except maybe from the mindset of a serial killer, drug busts and drug wars are one big zero on the point scale.

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