Occupy activists: Minneapolis police got us ‘high as f*ck’ for training

By David Edwards
Thursday, May 3, 2012 14:55 EDT
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A Minneapolis police officer speaks to an Occupy activist
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Activists with the Occupy Wall Street movement are claiming that police in Minneapolis gave them illegal drugs and other items for participating in a study on impairment.

In a 35-minute documentary produced by Twin Cities Indimedia, Rogue Media, Communities United Against Police Brutality and Occupy Minneapolis, multiple activists describe being offered illicit drugs.

The report alleges that police gave out drugs, cigarettes and fast food as part of the Minnesota State Patrol’s Drug Recognition Evaluator program, which trains officers in detecting drug impairment. Police reportedly picked up suspects near Peavey Plaza and drove them to a facility in Richfield where they were tested.

An activist named Panda told filmmakers that after getting stoned in front of police, they asked him if he wanted to smoke even more.

“I stopped in my tracks, said ‘yes,’ and then I smoked with a cop,” he recalled, adding it was “some of the best shit I’ve had in a while.” On the way back from the testing facility, Panda said officers bought him a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s.

Later Panda explained that officers had offered him “a quarter more” of marijuana if he would become an “informant” to snitch on other Occupy protesters.

“They checked our eyes, they checked our ears, checked our lungs,” another participant recalled after police got him “high as fuck.”

“They checked our blood pressure, our pulse and all that. There were a lot [of police officers]. There were like 30 or 40.”

The claims first came to light during a controversial City Hall hearing on Wednesday about banning overnight activity in Minneapolis’ public plazas.

“They gave me a full bag of weed,” Forest Olivier told the Council. “And they gave me a pipe to smoke it out of. And they just took us out to – I forgot the name of the airfield – but its somewhere in Richfield, out near the bus line. 66th and Cedar. And they let us smoke it on the sand hills where the dirt pits were.”

In a posting on the E-Democracy forum, Council Member Cam Gordon called the allegations “disturbing.”

“Last night, I was called by a concerned mother who was very upset because her son had been given free drugs by a police officer when he went out to participate in what he thought would be social action in a public plaza to help improve his community and country,” Gordon wrote. “She was shocked to learn from her son later that police gave her son illegal drugs and asked him to use them, indicating that it was okay and that it was part of a police program.”

“Her trust in the police was broken and she was baffled at how such a thing could ever be condoned by her government. She felt that it was the police’s responsibility to help keep her son safe and protect him from harm and consider that by their action the police had put him in harms way and as a violation of a public trust,” he added.

“One of the things that is most concerning about this to me is how the young and vulnerable appear to be being targeted,” Gordon said. “Beyond that, I cannot see how this program, practiced how it apparently is being practiced, can be considered ethical or in the public interest.”

Minnesota State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that officials were “looking into” the allegations.

Watch this video from Communities United Against Police Brutality, uploaded May 2, 2012.

(h/t: City Pages, @Gelk)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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