Pubdate: Wed, 02 Feb 2000
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2000 San Francisco Examiner
Author: Daniel Abrahamson


In the early evening of Jan. 27 at Market and Jones streets, 100 feet from
my law office window, an undercover police officer bought $20 of marijuana
from a homeless male, age 23. Upon completing the exchange the cop signaled
his partners who attempted to arrest the suspect.

Five officers came on the scene and the suspect fled. In the rush-hour
pursuit that ensued, one officer was run over by an unmarked squad car
driven by his partner. He suffered a broken leg. Moments later the suspect's
face was smashed against the curb by the angry officers. The man required
emergency medical care before being carted off to jail.

Four more officers arrived to clean up the mess. In all, 10 cops, several
squad cars and ambulances, a busted leg, a busted face, a closed
thoroughfare, several dozen hours of personnel time in writing reports and
processing the suspect and a new inmate taking up space in jail - all for a
few ounces of pot and $40 seized.

Do the math. Our city's police are wasting tax dollars and their time while
endangering lives in their heavy-handed war on drugs. Surely more sensible
policies and practices can and should be brought to bear. Until then, we are
not safer for the police department's misguided efforts.

Daniel Abrahamson
San Francisco
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