Are the Cops Getting Occupy High?

Ask anyone in the bleary-eyed younger crowd milling around Peavey Plaza, an Occupy Minnesota hotbed, in downtown Minneapolis and you just may get a resounding, if not blissfully confused, “…Yeah.” In what’s either the most genius bit of coax-‘em...

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May 4 2012, 6:10pm

Ask anyone in the bleary-eyed younger crowd milling around Peavey Plaza, an Occupy Minnesota hotbed, in downtown Minneapolis and you just may get a resounding, if not blissfully confused, "…Yeah."

In what's either the most genius bit of coax-'em-and-let-'em-talk this side of Truth Serum, or just another bumbling kick in U.S. law enforcement's unfortunate addiction to drug meddling, or both, officers from outside Minneapolis jurisdiction have apparently been trolling Peavey for weeks, now, luring curious occupiers and passers by into their cruisers. And if a video recently released by local activists and independent media is to believed, those who take the bait are being whisked away to an off-site facility where they're reportedly presented a spread of illicit drugs.

It's no sting. In this case the cops aren't just cool with participants getting wrecked. If we're to take the word of a growing number of participants and witnesses to the alleged bait 'n bakes, getting duped / desperate civilians wrecked is the whole point: The cops, some activists are saying, offer up the goods gratis, at no apparent risk to the user’s criminal record, and all in the name of “evaluations.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Tony Baker

OK, so it may sound a bit out there. But the operations could very well be linked to Minnesota’s Drug Recognition Evaluator program. Administered by the Minnesota State Patrol, the DRE trains law enforcement officials to sniff out all the telltale markers – full-moon pupils, odors, and the like – of various drugs in a continued effort to keep inebriated drivers off the road. And really, who wouldn’t back that? Good on you, Minnesota State Patrol.

But here’s where things get interesting. Speaking to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Lt. Eric Roeske says that the “typical procedure” behind DRE activities is to pick up, and then observe, people “who are already intoxicated.” The activists, of course, are calling bullshit, claiming that it’s the police who are providing the drugs, namely weed. And they say they’ve got the footage and interviews to back it all up.

Which brings us to the video.

Fair warning: The thing is an exercise in slipshod editing and jangly camerawork. But don’t let that turn you away. With a total running time of 35 minutes, the “rough cut documentary” does offer some fairly compelling evidence for what may be going down in and around Peavey Plaza. We get numerous people claiming that they’ve seen folks at Peavy get picked up stone sober, only to return high, or that they themselves have been picked up stone sober, and then lifted, so to speak, at the hands of the state. And then they tell all their friends.

Much of the chatter revolves around weed. We hear claims, though, that the cops are looking for harder stuff – heroin, crack, meth – to maybe pump into Occupy’s DRE pool. Whether that’s legitimate information is unclear, and should absolutely be taken with a giant grain of salt. As Roeske told the Star Tribune yesterday afternoon, "there's been no evidence or no information that has been presented to us that would substantiate any of the allegations." Yet he didn’t rule out the possibility that some officers could “have acted independently.”

And so at around the 5-minute mark we get an officer laying out the mission. It’s unclear just who the officer is speaking to, and the poor audio quality doesn’t help, either. But here’s the editor’s transcription, anyway: "We're just doing evals," the officer begins. "We don't want people's names. We don't want to get anybody in trouble… We're here to admit you to eval for us… If you smoke weed or something like that, we don't care. We really don't care."

Now, why anyone aligned with Occupy Wall Street would fall for this is beyond me. And it’s a genuine bummer to think that some poor addict’s withdrawals are maybe being staved off by the rogue graces of the state. The bigger question, though? If this is all actually going down… Well, what sort of product are we talking about?

Early in the video, a participant explains his experience. Did the fuzz puff him down, he’s asked. “Yeah,” he says. “And it was good.”

Connections:

Reach this writer at brian@motherboard.tv. @thebanderson

(Top image via Kevin Eberle)