Pubdate: Thu, 05 Sep 2002
Source: Idaho Statesman, The (ID)
Copyright: 2002 The Idaho Statesman
Author: Robert Sharpe


The tragic death of the Jerome County man in a botched drug raid is not an 
isolated incident. Throughout the nation, similar no-knock search warrants 
have led to the deaths of Americans wrongly suspected of drug possession. 
In 2000, 11-year old Alberto Sepulveda was shot in the back in Modesto, 
Calif., during a raid. No drugs were found. Ismael Mena, a father of nine, 
was killed in Denver, Colo., in 1999 when police raided the wrong house. 
Also in 1999, Compton, Calif. grandfather Mario Paz was killed in front of 
his family during a botched no-knock raid. Again, no drugs were found. 
Would the possession of illicit drugs have justified the deaths? We don't 
shoot alcoholics or Prozac users in this country. Yet drug warriors would 
have the public believe that possession of a relatively harmless drug like 
marijuana, which has never been shown to cause an overdose death, somehow 
justifies the use of deadly force. How many more citizens will be 
sacrificed at the altar of the failed drug war? The hypocritical drug war 
is causing tremendous societal harm at great expense to the taxpayer, while 
failing miserably at preventing drug use.

Robert Sharpe, program officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
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