In the 1992 film “Bad Lieutenant,” the lead character, LT, played by legendary actor Harvey Keitel, is a ruthless and destructive New York City homicide detective, who dangles from a wrecking ball of sexual deviance and drug addiction. This cop is more of a vile degenerate than a civil servant, doomed to die from a gambling debt, but ultimately brought down by the twinges of guilt oozing from his full-frontal pursuit for God’s forgiveness. The movie, which is a fictional account, is often viewed as an overly inflated depiction of police corruption in the United States. But is it really?
The majority of Americans have come to trust that their police officers are acting in the best interest of public safety and justice for all. So, if a cop says marijuana is fueling gang violence and cartel activity, most regular citizens — the ones who fiend over Fox News and the results of American Idol — have no trouble buying into their regurgitated swill without raising any questions. Meanwhile, some of these boys and girls in blue are out there patrolling the streets in areas of prohibition trying to profit from the black market cannabis trade. Others, well, they are just trying to get stoned like the rest of us. It’s true. Your friendly neighborhood police officer could be a pothead or even a drug trafficker.
Several police officers have been busted lately for marijuana-related offenses. Earlier this summer, an Alabama police chief by the name of Brian “Scott” Martin was arrested for second-degree marijuana possession and possession of paraphernalia. The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Major Crimes Unit. A search warrant led to the discovery of an undisclosed amount of marijuana and a bong under a sink, reports AL.com.
Although Martin, who served as chief of the Lipscomb Police Department, was released after posting a $1,500 bond, he is no longer employed. Lipscomb Mayor Brenda Renz recently told reporters that the city was accepting applications for the police chief position. She said it was unlikely that Interim Chief Lamar Lackey would be taking over full time. Martin will be tried later this month. If found guilty, he could be facing up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine.
Around the same time in Oklahoma, an officer employed with the Cleveland Police Department in the northwestern part of the state was busted smuggling around 160 pounds of marijuana. According to the arrest documents, a trooper with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol spotted 33-year-old Officer Terry Browne roll through a stoplight in his truck, so he pulled him over for a little chat.
Browne told the officer that he was on his way to SWAT training. But because he was acting so nervous, the trooper asked to search his vehicle. When Browne refused, the trooper called in the Canadian County Sheriff’s K-9 unit to investigate further. From there, the situation went downhill for Browne. The dog sniffed out 150 pounds of raw marijuana in a couple of suitcases, along with 10 pounds of cannabis edibles packed in a cooler. Browne, who was charged with one count of drug trafficking, is now facing four years to life in prison and a fine maxing out at $20,000.
A little further East, an officer with the Atlanta Police Department resigned over the summer after she was caught up in a raid in which $30,000 of marijuana and other drugs was discovered. According to WBS-TV, Officer Iris Rowe, who joined the force in 2016, was at the wrong place at the wrong time back in June when a SWAT team raided a local apartment building on suspicion of drug activity. The officers had no idea that when they kicked down the door searching for two male suspects that they would find Rowe chilling on the couch alongside a pile of marijuana and an assortment of pills. To make matters worse, SWAT also found about $8,000 in cash and a variety of weapons, including an AR-15, in the apartment. They also discovered an assault riffle in Rowe’s vehicle.
Although the Atlanta Police Department was on the verge of firing Rowe for being an off-duty thug, she chose instead to resign. In a note, she said, “I, Iris Rowe will be resigning from the Atlanta Police Department. I would like to send me deepest apologies to the department, and others for this shameful act.” The former officer is facing a number of drug charges, including possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of illegal drugs in a drug-free zone. Prison is a distinct possibility.
This is not the first time an officer with the Atlanta Police Department has been in trouble for marijuana. The AJC reported Officer Vincent Marcano was arrested for possession of less than an ounce of weed back in 2014 after a traffic stop. Marcano, who was placed on paid administrative leave pending a hearing, said the weed for was his sick wife who needed it to help with pain.
These are just a few of the latest cases where a law enforcement officer was caught in possession of a substance that most states and the federal government still consider illegal for recreational and medical use. This means a percentage of the people paid to take down pot offenders all across the nation are guilty of the same crimes. The only way to remedy this hypocrisy is by eliminating the prohibitionary standard, allowing adult-use marijuana to become a taxed and regulated part of the system in a manner similar to alcohol.
TELL US, do you think police officers getting busted for marijuana is a call for change?