I thought you might be interested in this story: Video of St. Louis drug arrest stirs controversy
Local cops planting drugs on suspects has been going on a long time. Seldom anything is done about it because there is never any evidence. This video is a blessing in that it exposes this practice. The Drug War is an absurd immoral war no more successful than Prohibition. It only accomplishes two things: feeding the prison-industrial complex and transforming the police from being protectors of the community to an army of occupation. Let me briefly look at some of the hypocries in local St Louis drug policy.
St. Louis City Class Issue
If you are a poor white hoosier in south city, the north side or out in the county there are complex buy-bust and surveillance operations dedicated to sending you to jail. This is often for amounts of drugs worth as little as $10 and $20 for which people can get felony convictions. Some go to prison costing the taxpayers a lot of money. If you are black and living in “hood” areas of the city and North County the police basically exist as an invading army dedicated to small drug-busts.
Meanwhile if you have money ( and are white) drugs are virtually legal. Sometime the difference is right across the street.
Downtown bars serving loft-dwellers, college students, Central West Enders, and West County folk are flush with coke, Mollys, and other pills. The club that is most notorious for drugs has a full time off-duty police presensce in uniform outside. Just a few blocks north in Carr Square and O’Fallon Place police are coming down hard for less amounts of crack, heroin and pills.
The Grove, a neighborhood popular with gays and hipsters, is also flush with drugs (and the underage prostitution of young black males but that’s another discussion). Again this is an area heavily protected by police, mostly white, and slighlty affluent for St. Louis standards. In the same area black remnants of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood are heavily policed for drugs.
I recently had a discussion with a white hipster dealer in The Grove and he said something I have known for years: ” the city is really desperate to get young white kids from the county to move in so they turn a blind eye to a lot of shit”. He even said cops periodically check up on him to make sure he is OK. Politically we also know The Grove has become very crucial to local politics so maybe some don’t wanna ruffle feathers.
I think with drugs and drunk-driving that is the policy in the city and county. If you are poor or working-class they come down hard. If you are white and have money you get a free pass. Dealers in West County, the CWE, downtown, certain south side hoods and The Grove are selling major weight yet you never hear of any busts. Why is that? While at the same time local jails are full of small-time offenders.
Drugs and Race
We all know that a lot of this hypocricy has to do with race. However, I will just share two personal experiences.
A couple of years ago I had a group of black friends over to my northside home to watch a basketball game. After the game I stood outside and talked to the brothers and gave one a few dollars for some work he had did for me. Out of nowhere a car came speeding up to us with a clean-cut white guy poor excuse for an undercover cop asking for drugs.
“Punk motherfucker we not into drugs so drive off before I snatch out of your car and beat your ass”. I said.
My friends drove off and the guy followed them all the way to the gas station on Salisbury and 70. That was a race thing pure and simple. White guy in a black neighborhood attracts heat and it was inconceivable to this dumb south side hoosier cop that we were friends. Have had the police mess with me many times over the years for the exact same thing.
It reminds me of an incident years ago when my sister was thoroughly violated by Ferguson cops under similar circumstances.
Do you know that while people are casually selling thousands of dollars worth of drugs at the bars I described above people are getting felony convictions and prison time for one or two prescription pills? Can anyone honestly say this is just? Or wise?
Prosecution Instead of Treatment
wouldn’t tax dollars better be spent on treatment?
The Real Gateway Drugs
The real gateway drugs are alcohol and cigarettes. There may be no bigger group of lushes than cops and prosecutors. I don’t blame them they have a hard job. Just sayin. I think with weed, even in a conservative area like St. Louis, we are heading in the direction of legalization. People see the hypocrisy of people going to jail for weed when alcohol is legal.