Monday, March 09, 2009

Cops Phish for profit

Here's a perfect illustration of the biggest mistake in drug law enforcement. Forfeiture laws. An estimated 75,000 fans showed up in Virginia to see the first Phish concert in five years. The 200 cops policing the event made off with big windfall.
Police said Monday they confiscated about $1.2 million in illegal drugs and more than $68,000 in cash from concertgoers. Authorities also arrested 194 Phish fans during the three-night celebration... Most of the arrests were for drug possession, use and distribution, police said.
I feel certain the seized drugs were overvalued, but the confiscated cash is real. What this means is every person they busted, whether is was for a few grams of marijuana or 3000 hits of acid, lost every cent in their pocket under the forfeiture laws. For a three day event you can expect even someone busted for possession of a personal use amount would have at least 300 dollars in their pocket.

I never got into the Phish thing myself, but I know a fair number of their fans. They're peaceful people. I doubt if most the arrests were for any kind of threatening conduct. The cops were just capitalizing on a legal moneymaking scheme. They get to keep the cash so they have a perverse incentive to make unnecessary arrests. And it's an invitation for corruption. Ending that dynamic would go a long way toward bringing some balance back into law enforcement.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

The number of small town Florida sheriffs driving Mercedes' and Vettes and Ferraris should be evidence of what this is really about. It's not enough that they cost the country 50 billion a year at the very least, they have to put on eye-patches and go pirate.

Arresting Tommy Chong for selling water pipes was a move as obvious as flying the skull and crossbones. It's nothing but legalized piracy. millions of people have gone to jail and had their lives ruined over absolutely nothing, yet you can't speak up without being afraid. You can't disprove the lies without getting arrested and the 4 years between 1933 and 1937 were the only time since the Civil War when this was a free country.

9:51:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Of all the destructive policies of the WOsD, I remain convinced that this was the biggest mistake they ever made. Of course, for the prohibs, the idea was to fill the jails and build more, so from their POV I suppose it's a great success.

10:49:00 AM  

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