Neither Protecting nor Serving

This post is not about Seattle’s police this time. What recently happened to a Kent family is beyond a disgrace. From the NWCN website:

It was supposed to be a special trip for a Montana man and his 8-year-old granddaughter. But their truck broke down on Snoqualmie Pass and the grandfather was killed.

If this wasn’t tragic enough for an 8-year-old girl to see her grandfather get killed and be left stranded on I-90, this is what happened when the police brought her home:

The story took a strange turn when troopers were re-uniting the child with her parents in Kent. Police say they found illegal drugs. But the parents say it’s medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor.

The Osmans acknowledge growing marijuana. They say it’s prescribed by their doctors to treat symptoms of hepatitis C, chronic pain and other ailments.

They say the police didn’t care about the medical authorization forms signed by their doctors.

Even with the most recent medical marijuana bill passed, there still aren’t enough protections for patients under this state’s medical marijuana law. Raids like these are still common in the state, and legitimate medical marijuana patients don’t have any real protection under the law. The state board of health has been tasked with establishing what an acceptable medical supply should be, but until then, cops still have free reign to go after the sick and ailing.

The job of police is to protect and serve the public. In this case, the police have done neither. In the process of reuniting a horrified child with her parents, the child told them that her parents grew marijuana. Instead of trying to figure out whether or not her parents were medical marijuana users, this is what they did when they arrived at the house in Kent:

“(They) opened the door, immediately she was shoved inside, turned around and cuffed. Same thing happened to me. Dragged us onto the front porch,” said Bruce.

Lt. Sass says the Osmans had too many plants for personal use, but if Bruce Osman is correct about what happened above, the police certainly could not have known that at the time they dragged them onto the front porch and started tearing their apartment to shreds. Thankfully, the Osmans have a lawyer:

The Osmans’ attorney says police broke the law by seizing the marijuana, initially entering without a warrant, and for ransacking the couple’s apartment.

How is it that we’ve come to accept that wearing a police officer’s uniform is a valid excuse for acting like a degenerate? We overwhelmingly passed a law in this state in 1998 to allow for people with certain medical conditions to use marijuana if they and their doctor found it to be beneficial. The Osmans, like many others in this state, have a doctor’s authorization to use marijuana. What the police did in this situation is absolutely unacceptable. If there is any justice in this goddamn authoritarian hellhole of a society we’ve created for ourselves, the prosecutor should be deciding right now whether or not to charge the police officers with a crime, rather than the Osmans.

And at the national level, the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment is going to be up for a vote in Congress next week. This bill would prohibit federal dollars from being spent to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana patients in states where it’s legal. Please write your Congressman, especially if you live in the 2nd or the 8th, as Congressmen Larsen and Reichert have both voted against this bill (and against the will of Washington voters) in previous years.

UPDATE: I made a minor correction at the top and Dominic Holden writes much more at Slog.

Comments

  1. 1

    SeattleJew spews:

    SeattleJew says:

    sorry this was misposted in another thread.

    The real tragedy here is the waste of resources. The luddites have decided that mj is evil. iT is not. There is no scientific evidence that makes MJ any worse than coffee.
    There is lots of stuff worse than MJ availbale at Bartell’s (try Nyquell).

    I would notn blame the cops. Their job is to enforce the law as long as it does not violate human rights.

    The real issue … on BOTH right and left is the abuse of science. A law like this should be based on data not panic. There are many other examples:

    1. late term abortion L
    2. creationism C
    3. breast implants C
    4. agent orange L
    5. vaccination both
    6. global warming. C
    7. racial differences L
    8. marijuana C
    9. gender identity both

    I have tried to identify each issue with whether … in my opinion .. one side or the other is doing home by a nut stand. In some case both sides are .. IMHO ,, over the deep end. For example, liberals resist research into “racial traits” and in doing so really hurt genetic research. Conservatives create murk by refusing to understand the distinction between genetic descent and racist ideas of how we are affected by our ancestors. If I may be unoriginal:

    A Pox on Both Your Houses

    The preponderance of these are the fault of the wingnuts but liberals can make the same arrogant error. E.g. liberal stands on asbestos have little to do with the actual data. Same for agent orange.

    One answer may be a need for a scientific court as part of the judiciary. Laws should be subject to the requirement that they deal with reality. How can such a court be created that is (more or less) immune to politics.
    07/12/2007 at 11:48 am

  2. 2

    spews:

    I would notn blame the cops. Their job is to enforce the law as long as it does not violate human rights.

    Why did they tear the apartment to shreds? Did you see the video and the amount of damage the cops did to their home?

  3. 4

    spews:

    @3
    Continued…

    And since they took away medicine that they rely on, they did violate their basic human rights.

    But you’re more than welcome to keep believing that cops aren’t subject to any rules or ethics, Steve…

  4. 5

    spews:

    Okay, what do you expect from a bunch of knuckle-dragging, head-cracking uneducated buffoons who drive fast cars and carry big guns to make up for their self-esteem issues? Rationality? Compassion? You would be disappointed.
    Make no mistake about it, police work attracts those kinds of people and the “profession” has done a miserable job of weeding them out. Besides, the bulk of what pigs do is write tickets and thus collect extra taxes.

    Think I’m being harsh about “uneducated”? Read a typical police report. It is replete to the point of unintelligibility with spelling and grammatical errors. Quite often, criminals get off because of this because lawyers, who are literate and well-read as a rule, scrutinize the hell out of them.

    The thing I find most entertaining is that cops, like military people, have this fetishistic obsession with their clothing that could only be described as homoerotic. The amount of time they spend on their damn uniforms would make any woman roll her eyes. Some of them brag about working on their uniforms for four hours a day. What are they doing, their hair, nails and makeup?

  5. 6

    proud leftist spews:

    Perhaps if police officers were required to take a bong hit before beginning each shift they would act with a little less unnecessary aggression while undertaking their tasks.

  6. 7

    Right Stuff spews:

    “bunch of knuckle-dragging, head-cracking uneducated buffoons who drive fast cars and carry big guns”

    Now who is showing just how uneducated they are?

    99.9% of police officers serve their communities with pride, honor and a sense of duty. This story sounds tragic, and we are getting a very biased one sided account, but does not reflect the behavior or culture of the police community.

    I’m sure if M.Yass found himself in trouble he would immediately call 911 and would welcome the assistance he receives.

  7. 8

    spews:

    99.9% of police officers serve their communities with pride, honor and a sense of duty. This story sounds tragic, and we are getting a very biased one sided account, but does not reflect the behavior or culture of the police community.

    Um, no. This just isn’t true. In fact, these kinds of police abuses are pretty commonplace, and one of the best journalists covering this growing problem within modern policing is actually a conservative, Radley Balko, who last year released a report from the CATO institute on how bad it’s gotten.

    And exactly what part of this news story was “one-sided”? If you’re going to make that accusation, at least have the decency to point out which detail or details are inaccurate so that we can address it.

  8. 9

    Right Stuff spews:

    There are no protections from arrest in our state law. There is no protection from federal felony charges.
    My apologies, let me correct myself here. Your very biased recount and comments with regards to the NWCN story.
    “cops still have free reign to go after the sick and ailing.

    Well that’s not biased now is it….hmmmmmm
    Those bad bad police going after the sick and ailing……

    The police are doing their job. The law does not protect from arrest.

    Your beef would seem to be with our state law makers who don’t do their job, and pass a real law, with defined parameters.

  9. 10

    Right Stuff spews:

    Gee, what party is in majority in Washington State?
    House, Senate, Gov?

    There lies the problem, not the police. They are just doing the job per the laws on the books.

  10. 11

    Seventy2002 spews:

    The medical marijuana issue aside, the NWCN story is pretty mediocre journalism. It uses the terms “police” “state troopers” and “state police”, making it unclear if it was a municipal police department or the Washington State Patrol that was involved. (Hint to KING 5: “State Police” is what Oregon calls their state law enforcement agency)
    Did it occur to the reporter to ask if a search warrant was obtained? Or would the answer have dampened her sense of outrage?

  11. 12

    spews:

    Gee, what party is in majority in Washington State?
    House, Senate, Gov?

    There lies the problem, not the police.

    I completely agree. But as I said to Steve, the police had no right to ransack these people’s apartment, enter their house without a warrant, or (according to the new medical marijuana law) actually take their plants.

  12. 14

    spews:

    @9
    I said: “cops still have free reign to go after the sick and ailing.”

    You said: Well that’s not biased now is it….hmmmmmm

    It’s 100% true. Something isn’t biased if it’s a fact.

  13. 15

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    Right Stuff @ 10:

    There lies the problem, not the police. They are just doing the job per the laws on the books.

    You have a very interesting perspective of personal responsibility (on the part of the officers) for a dyed-in-the-wool conservative.

    The police do not arrest for every offense they see. They do not hand out tickets for people doing 61 on I-5. They don’t arrest every jaywalker in the city. They don’t write fines for people smoking cigarettes 24 feet from a doorway.

    A police officer has a decision that has to be made any time a law is broken as to if it is a good use of police and prosecutorial time to push a violation forward.

    It’s pretty clear to me in this case that while they may be able to thread through ambiguities in the medical marijuana law, as you point out, they displayed appalling personal judgment under the circumstances.

  14. 16

    Right Stuff spews:

    @14
    Cops have free reign to enforce the law.
    That is what they did.
    They don’t specifically go after the sick and ailing.

    Lucky for you, the police don’t care if you dislike, dismiss, or otherwise hold them in contempt. They will protect you just the same. That’s what makes them professionals and not the “thugs” you make them out to be..

  15. 17

    spews:

    @16
    Cops have free reign to enforce the law.
    That is what they did.
    They don’t specifically go after the sick and ailing.

    Please click through the NWCN link again and watch the video, because obviously you didn’t the first time. They ransacked these folks’ apartment. And yes, the police do specifically go after the sic and ailing. In the recent debate over the medical marijuana bill in the state legislature, the law enforcement union fought a provision in the bill that would have prevented officers from arresting anyone would had a medical marijuana authorization from a doctor. There’s simply no other way to explain that other than to say they want “free reign to go after the sick and ailing”.

    Lucky for you, the police don’t care if you dislike, dismiss, or otherwise hold them in contempt. They will protect you just the same. That’s what makes them professionals and not the “thugs” you make them out to be..

    They will NOT protect me. They will do the opposite. If you have any interest in being informed on this subject, you can do a Google search for “Overkill”, the CATO Institute report on this, and educate yourself to what’s happening in this country. Many cops are good and do function as protectors of the community, but many others really are thugs and act as such.

  16. 18

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    the law enforcement union fought a provision in the bill that would have prevented officers from arresting anyone would had a medical marijuana authorization from a doctor.

    Partially playing devil’s advocate, I would be interested in seeing the text of the bill. It would seem that a blanket prohibition on arresting anyone with a medical marijuana authorization is tantamount to a “run a grow-op free” card.

    I am of the mind that marijuana should be legalized, taxed, and sold in liquor stores under the same controls we currently use for hard alcohol. I think the drug war is stupid and counterproductive.

    However, I cannot imagine the police union allowing a large-scale criminal enterprise to be able to run without fear of arrest. And yes, grow-ops are frequently run by highly unpleasant people, and not in the “run their mouth off for an hour with weird theories about flying saucers and the massive coverup dictated by the secret Illuminati uber-government” sort of unpleasant.

  17. 19

    spews:

    @18
    Here’s the bill online.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinf.....;year=2007

    You can track the changes made by looking through the substitute bills and revisions at the bottom. On page 6 of the revised bill, you can see the parts crossed out for “caregivers”, which allows the police to continue to assume that anyone growing plants is doing so illegally.

    And remember, the harder police go after grow-ops, the seedier the people who will run them… :)

  18. 20

    spews:

    M. Yass said:

    “Okay, what do you expect from a bunch of knuckle-dragging, head-cracking uneducated buffoons who drive fast cars and carry big guns to make up for their self-esteem issues? Rationality? Compassion? You would be disappointed.
    Make no mistake about it, police work attracts those kinds of people and the “profession” has done a miserable job of weeding them out. Besides, the bulk of what pigs do is write tickets and thus collect extra taxes.

    Think I’m being harsh about “uneducated”? Read a typical police report. It is replete to the point of unintelligibility with spelling and grammatical errors. Quite often, criminals get off because of this because lawyers, who are literate and well-read as a rule, scrutinize the hell out of them.

    The thing I find most entertaining is that cops, like military people, have this fetishistic obsession with their clothing that could only be described as homoerotic. The amount of time they spend on their damn uniforms would make any woman roll her eyes. Some of them brag about working on their uniforms for four hours a day. What are they doing, their hair, nails and makeup?

    Not surprisingly, we have a few here that simply support the actions of the police, regardless of whether or not the officers followed the law.

    What does surprise me are the folks making blanket statements against the police, but I suppose that simply being left-leaning does not, in itself, make a person more reasonable.

    The police have a tough, necessary job, and most departments are careful to weed out the “knuckle-dragging, head-cracking uneducated buffoons who drive fast cars and carry big guns to make up for their self-esteem issues“.

    Do the police (and military, for that matter) “obsess” about uniforms? Certainly no more than your average mid-level manager at any major corporation does. (And if you think that corporations don’t have a “uniform”, then I suggest you speak to any successful career counselor, or just spend a few hours in a corporate office.)

    I seriously doubt that M. Yass has read enough police reports to be able to make blanket statements about a “typical police report“, but I should also point out that I know college professors that need help with their spelling and grammar.

    (Yes, SeattleJew, we all love you, but I’ve often wanted to get you a spell-checker and a copy of either Harbrace or Little, Brown.)

    The police are not perfect, and need to be held accountable when they violate a person’s Constitutional rights, or when they violate the clear intent of the laws passed by the legislature.

    And when they do their job well, with honesty, courage and diligence (as is the case most of the time), they should be honored, as most of them could make at least as much as we pay them, while working shorter hours in less dangerous and demanding jobs.

  19. 21

    spews:

    @20
    John,
    As always, thank you for the thoughtful comment. I might argue that quite a few departments actually do have problems weeding out the “knuckle-dragging, head-cracking uneducated buffoons who drive fast cars and carry big guns to make up for their self-esteem issues”, but it’s certainly true that many officers are very aware of the problem and do their job well.

    A funny story from Balko’s blog. He found a police sergeant from somewhere in the south I believe, whose advice for putting together SWAT teams was to ask people on the force to raise their hand if they wanted to be on the SWAT team, write all their names down and make sure that none of them are ever on the SWAT team.

  20. 22

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    And remember, the harder police go after grow-ops, the seedier the people who will run them… :)

    ARRRRRRRGH!!! Deadly puns!!!

    That may be partially true, but I am living in a part of the world that is rather famous for running grow-ops. I won’t say that the police never close them down, but so many are in operation that one is led to the conclusion that enforcement is being winked and nodded at here to some level.

    Some grow-ops are run by happy, hippy stoners. Some are being run by organized criminal gangs from Asia. If you don’t crack down, you will have both. If you crack down heavily, you will have more gangs and fewer hippies. If you legalize and regulate, the hippies will (largely) get licensed, while the gangs will stick to high-profit activities that don’t have all those onerous paperwork requirements.

  21. 24

    spews:

    @22
    Yeah, that’s pretty true, all around. On a related note, I kind of wondered this past week whether the trend of using suburban homes for marijuana grow-ops was significant enough that it’s had a noticeable affect on the housing market. It would be an interesting (but extremely difficult) thing to measure.

  22. 25

    spews:

    Right Stuff says:

    99.9% of police officers serve their communities with pride, honor and a sense of duty. This story sounds tragic, and we are getting a very biased one sided account, but does not reflect the behavior or culture of the police community.

    A unprovable, unsupported statistic. Nice try.

    I’m sure if M.Yass found himself in trouble he would immediately call 911 and would welcome the assistance he receives.

    I wouldn’t be counting on receiving much in the way of assistance. At most they’d come out and draw a chalk line around my body in between donut breaks. Then they’d be back out on the road ticketing people for doing three miles per hour over the speed limit and for jaywalking. Oh, and busting small-time pot outlaws. See, there’s money in that. There isn’t any money in fighting real crime and that’s why they don’t do it.

  23. 26

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    @24

    Since much of the information I have is anecdotal, I don’t know. Frequently, grow-ops here are done in rental houses where the owners are overseas.

    One of my coworkers lives in Port Moody. Land of large, isolated houses, and more than a few grow-op busts. The usual scenario is an affluent family emigrated to Canada, bought a big house, stayed on long enough to get their passports, and then returned home. They rented out the house to keep the mortgage payments going. As long as the checks came in steady, they asked no questions.

    Suddenly the RCMP breaks down the door because a neighbor reports the place reeks of pot. The owners are in Hong Kong or Seoul and are as surprised as anyone that this happened.

    Unaudited numbers indicate there are somewhere between 12,000-20,000 grow-ops in British Columbia. This information was gleaned from a report prepared by BC Hydro on the number of houses with unusual power consumption patterns. The suspicion is that a large number of those houses are grow-ops. Compared with a population of 4 million people (let’s say 2 million households for the sake of argument), that’s not a lot.

  24. 27

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    John, I gotta be unreasonable here. Lite Fluff is once again demonstrating his fascist tendencies.
    The Fourth Amendment should be inviolable. It’s violation by police ‘cowboys’ drive any competent prosecutor completely crackers. The abuses of personal space, real property, and papers under George III were one of the tinderbox issues leading up to our move to independence.
    It is sad to note that we still have out Tories still with us. . . . .

  25. 28

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    JSA@26 We have the same sort of problem, albeit on a much smaller scale, right here in River City. A house just a block from my home, on a stub street extending into a ‘green belt’ was quickly abandoned by a wierd assortment of young, affluent appearing people just after the FBI came by and left a business card stuck to their door. When the FBI came back they used several large trucks to remove ‘evidence’. We never heard any more about this house, but in the next several weeks, houses in Kent, Renton, Auburn, and Bothell were ‘busted’.

  26. 29

    spews:

    STOP THE VIOLENCE

    New Hope Baptist Church. led by Dr. Robert Jeffries, is holding a “100 men” anti violence vigil, Thursday night. 7pm.

    All are invited. Details at SeattleJew

    This is a real chance to demonstrate solidarity on the issues we discuss here! Dr. Jeffries is a very good speaker, well worthwhile!

  27. 30

    spews:

    Lee,

    No I have not seen the video and this may well be excessive. I do not think that warrant is needed if the police have the right kind of evidence. For example,if a police officer suspect there is an ongoing crime, doesn’t she has the right to invade privacy?

    As to whether cops needs ethics, OF COURSE. A cop should even break the law if that is necessary to “do the right thing.”

    As for their rights, this is a hairy subject. I not know the data on medical pot very wlel but as I understand it one can prescribe THC and the efficacy of MJ is not all that clear anyway.

  28. 31

    spews:

    No I have not seen the video and this may well be excessive. I do not think that warrant is needed if the police have the right kind of evidence.

    In this case, they very clearly did not have the right kind of evidence. There are cases where an officer may “shoot first, ask questions later” in terms of entering a private residence, but this isn’t even close to one of those cases.

    As for their rights, this is a hairy subject. I not know the data on medical pot very wlel but as I understand it one can prescribe THC and the efficacy of MJ is not all that clear anyway.

    You should read up on this. A growing number of people are alive today solely because of medical marijuana. In 1999, the government admitted that medical marijuana has a number of benefits. Since then, the Bush Administration has fought tooth and nail to bury the evidence. In fact, several lawsuits are now pending over their unwillingness to comply with public requests for information and data.

    The event you posted about – is it next Thursday?

  29. 32

    spews:

    Tree Frog Farmer said:

    “The Fourth Amendment should be inviolable. It’s violation by police ‘cowboys’ drive any competent prosecutor completely crackers. The abuses of personal space, real property, and papers under George III were one of the tinderbox issues leading up to our move to independence.

    Nothing unreasonable about that. I’m a big fan of the Fourth Amendment. I have often wondered why we go to such great lengths to find a right to privacy in other amendments and in the body of the Constitution, when the Fourth clearly says:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Sure sounds like a right to privacy to me.

    Additionally, the 99.9% figure used by Mr. Stuff is undoubtedly too high. I don’t know of any profession where 99.9% of the people in it are even competent, much less the higher standard of “diligent and dedicated” that we expect of police officers.

    That being said, most officers are both diligent and dedicated. They do a tough, dangerous, and very necessary job for pay that can (at best) be described as “inadequate”.

  30. 33

    spews:

    jsa on commercial drive says:

    And remember, the harder police go after grow-ops, the seedier the people who will run them… :)

    ARRRRRRRGH!!! Deadly puns!!!

    That may be partially true, but I am living in a part of the world that is rather famous for running grow-ops.

    The True North Strong and Free, eh?

    If you legalize and regulate, the hippies will (largely) get licensed, while the gangs will stick to high-profit activities that don’t have all those onerous paperwork requirements.

    EXACTLY! And when you tax the shit out of it, no more health care wait times. Or pay off Vancouver’s inevitably Olympic-sized debt. Wait, they’ll sell the athlete’s village to developers for less than cost instead of putting in the promised social housing for that reason. Hey, we gotta have priorities, no?

    I’m convinced that but for pressure from The Greatest Nation On The Face Of The Earth The Big Bad Bully South of the Border, Canada would have taken the humane approach and legalized a long time ago. At least they’re having the right conversations on this and many other issues. That is why I want to move your way, and that real soon.

  31. 34

    HeyDan spews:

    Bottom line, they were authorized washington state medical marijuana patients, arrested and violated by Washington “State” authorities. This action shows that these washington “State” officials do NOT honor this wasgington STATE law. Voted into law overwhelmingly.