Pubdate: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
Source: Weekly Planet (FL)
Copyright: 2001 Weekly Planet Inc.
Author: Stephen Heath, Drug Policy Forum of Florida


Re: Letter from Douglas Leoni, Letters (July 26-Aug.1)

While there may have been a day when the existence of a search warrant 
validated any type of police raid, that day is clearly in the past. Within 
the past 24 months a number of drug enforcement agencies have been exposed 
not only for their faulty tactics, but also for outright criminal 
activities. This includes units as near as the Sarasota Delta squad, which 
manufactured false warrants and planted evidence. The LAPD Rampart Division 
has had numerous officers indicted and convicted for similar offenses. The 
San Antonio police arrested eight officers in May, and just last week in 
Largo, a major marijuana cultivation case was dismissed due to the officers 
having submitted false testimony in order to obtain their warrant for 
entry. And it should be noted that these officers had been cited before for 
the same offenses.

Leoni also attempts to evoke sympathy for the raiding officers by telling 
us that such operations are "high risk" for law enforcement, innocent 
bystanders and suspects. This is nonsense. These days it is a rare 
occurrence when a police officer is harmed during the commission of a raid 
on marijuana dealers. In fact, a news search frustrated me when I could not 
find a single such case in Central Florida for the past several years. We 
would be happy to provide a lengthy summary of innocent citizens who have 
been either gunned down by drug officers or had their property destroyed 
and/or forfeited without cause in the neverending War on (some) Drugs.

Stephen Heath, Drug Policy Forum of Florida, Clearwater
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