Police/Suspect Altercations

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Rainbow Farm Deaths Remembered: Supporters Mark Fifth Anniversary of Campground Standoff

Location: 
Cassopolis, MI
United States
Publication/Source: 
South Bend Tribune
URL: 
http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060905/News01/609050379

Law Enforcement: Drug War Takes Another Officer's Life

A Beckley, West Virginia, narcotics officer was shot and killed early Tuesday morning in an undercover drug buy gone bad, the Beckley Register-Herald reported Wednesday. Detective Cpl. Charles "Chuckie" Smith, 29, was hit by numerous gunshots as he attempted to make an arrest after a late-night crack cocaine purchase.

Two area men were arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Smith's death and are at the Southern Regional Jail awaiting a bond hearing in Raleigh County Circuit Court.

According to the criminal complaint filed against the pair, Smith contacted one of them to make a crack cocaine purchase, then met the pair near a Beckley night club. When one of the men delivered some rocks to Smith, he flashed his badge. One man ran, but the other pulled a gun and shot Smith multiple times.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, in the last decade, law enforcement officers have been killed at the rate of about 165 per year, with slightly more than half of those deaths due to accidents. The drug war takes the lives of about a dozen officers each year.

Police Killing of Suspect Tests Newark's Novice Mayor

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/nyregion/01newark.html

Marijuana Grow Outside Santa Cruz -- Could Have Been Dangerous, But Why?

NBC11 in the Bay Area reported that thousands of marijuana plants, valued at $40 million according to authorities had been spotted near Mount Umunhum, in a remote part of the Santa Cruz mountains in south Santa Clara County. They needed helicopters to remove the 10,000-15,000 plants estimated to be there. There's a cool slideshow on the site. My first reaction was, is it just ditchweed? An old report by the Vermont State Auditor found that almost all the "marijuana" destroyed by the government is mere ditchweed -- wild hemp, grows in lots of places, the government subsidized it during WWII. Then I thought, well, Santa Cruz? I'll give the government the benefit of the doubt that this time it's really marijuana. :) Further down in the story police explained that these plants -- which by themselves are unable to move from place to place, being plants -- bring danger with them:
"These operations can be dangerous," Palanov said. "Last year down this canyon a couple miles away from here, a fish and game warden was shot during a marijuana raid." The officer survived. Agents shot and killed the gunman, while another suspect escaped, Garza reported. "Our deputies, and fish and game and everybody else that's involved are hiking into area where the growers have orders to protect their groves at all costs. They have weapons," Palanov said. "You have a lot of environmental damage -- the marijuana goes out on the street, which fuels other criminal activity."
But why is it dangerous? Is the danger intrinsic to the marijuana? No, it is because marijuana is illegal. With marijuana legalization, no one would want to shoot people over the legally grown crop -- even bad people wouldn't shoot people over it, because it would in no way be worth the risk of going to prison for homicide -- because the value just wouldn't be what it is now and one could go to the police for help if one's crop were threatened. The environmental damage -- assuming that's for real, which certainly seems possible -- could also be reduced if not eliminated through agricultural regulation and inspection. Save Mount Umunhum -- end prohibition! Click here to write to NBC11.
Location: 
Santa Cruz, CA
United States

Drug Dealer/Police Officer Altercation Endangers North Memphis Neighborhood

A report yesterday by WMC-TV (channel 5) in Memphis was titled "North Memphis Store Sprayed with Gunfire." What happened was that after two police confronted a local drug dealer completing a sale from the parking lot of a convenience store at the corner of Chelsea and May, the dealer "ran over the officer, knocked him down and dragged him some 10 to 12 feet," according to a Sgt. Vince Higgins who was interviewed. The officer's partner then opened fire as the dealer sped away in his SUV. Hopefully the injured officer will recover, but it's lucky that someone wasn't shot by his partner. The moral of the story is, prohibition makes the world more dangerous -- the driver of the SUV was involved in criminal activity because it's profitable, and it's profitable because the drugs are illegal -- legalization would put people like him out of that business. Instead, we have police crawling everywhere (the news report's word, not time) looking for drug suspects to arrest. The suspects don't want to be arrested and imprisoned, so some of them resist, sometimes recklessly or violently. And this time an officer reacted the wrong way to that and put other people in danger too. Let WMC-TV news director Peggy Phillip know you think this angle merits inclusion in the station's reporting when these things happen. A good contact for her to make in this kind of story would be the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
Location: 
Memphis, TN
United States

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