A number of police officers in Minnesota will not face criminal charges after they were accused by activists of giving marijuana to members of the Occupy Minneapolis movement. After a documentary was released of officers allegedly giving drugs to individuals in Peavey Plaza, there were some who were calling for criminal charges to be filed against the officers involved.
A county attorney said, however, that due to a lack of evidence, including inconsistent testimony from protestors and fellow police officers. The attorney made it very clear that it is his job to “evaluate whether there’s sufficient admissible evidence to establish probably cause to bring a charge.” When there isn’t, it is impossible to file criminal charges.
The officers who were accused of distributing marijuana had apparently been part of the Drug Recognition Evaluator training program for police officers. Part of the program trains officers to recognize when people are under the influence of drugs by monitoring users. In most cases, officers monitor people who are already under the influence, but in this case, the activists were alleging that police were encouraging people to smoke in front of them.
Even though there was very little credible evidence that the officers involved were doing anything wrong, the appearance of impropriety forced one officer into an administrative assignment. He was taken off his usual duties merely because it looked like he had done something wrong. This situation, however, is not unique to law enforcement. Many people in Minneapolis who are accused of drug crimes may find themselves losing their jobs even when no charges are brought or no evidence is found.
Source: Star Tribune, “No charges against cops accused of offering drugs,” Eric Roper, Sept. 21, 2012
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