Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Just wait, it gets worse

I wrote in August after the shooting of Mike Brown and protests in Ferguson about how the police cannot handle simple things--not hostages, terrorism, bank robberies, high tension situations that can go wrong and we could imagine giving police some slack if honest mistakes were made.

Besides the long list of unarmed black men killed by police (and vigilantes) I included jaywalkers, peaceful protesters, mentally ill and babies.

(I also wrote a few posts about police shooting statistics and grant programs that give military equipment to police, most famously the Department of Defense's 1033 program.)

And now comes the ridiculous and sad part.  When talking about the federal programs that give military equipment to police I argued for ending the failed war on drugs.  I just didn't realize it was so bad.

Can police even handle dead people correctly?!

This is an urn, for holding the remains of cremated ashes of beloved family members who have died. It is not for holding drugs.


From Wikipedia
Besides the traditional funeral or cremation ashes urns, it is also possible to keep a part of the ashes of the loved one or beloved pet in keepsake urns or ash jewelry.

Now before today I had never heard of ash jewelry, that is true, and I'm sure many of us remember Sarah Michelle Gellar's drugs necklace from Cruel Intentions, but seriously? Come on!


So urns, ashes, necklaces, drugs.

Cops Dump A Murder Victim’s Ashes Alleging They Were Drugs
After he was cremated, his daughter, 25 year old Sarah Lewis, took a portion of the ashes and put them in a small cylinder on a necklace so that she could always have her father with her.
This is not even the only incident where law enforcement mistook ashes for drugs.  I will even admit that a necklace is not an ordinary storage container for ashes (again I just heard of it today).

This was not a necklace with questionable contents (father's murdered ashes) but an urn, a regular standard funeral urn--but wait the story gets "better," by which I mean more disturbing.

TSA Agents Unscrewed Urn Dumped Ashes of Man’s Deceased Mother In His Luggage During Search
Shannon Thomas....was intending to board a flight headed for San Juan, Puerto Rico, with a stop in Washington, D.C.
He was on his way to San Juan so he could spread his mother’s ashes, one of the final requests that she had made before her death.
When Thomas arrived in San Juan and recovered his luggage, he found the urn open and the ashes spilled all over the contents of his bag.  A TSA notice was place on top of the mess in his luggage, informing him that the contents of his bags were checked by agents.
This is comforting--TSA is ignoring their own guidelines on urns (emphasis mine)
According to the TSA’s own guidelines, agents are not permitted to open urns, but are instead required to use an X-Ray scanner too determine if there is a weapon or bomb hidden inside.  This same situation has actually occurred on multiple occasions, and sadly seems fairly common.  In 2012, it was reported that a man John Gross was traveling through Florida when TSA agents spilled the ashes of his grandfather.  In that case, the agent reportedly laughed as the man knelt down to clean up the ashes and bone fragments that they had spilled on the ground.
But wait, it gets worse
Sadly, police mistaking innocent items for drugs is extremely common. We adamantly recommend not consenting to searches or speaking to the police without a lawyer present, even if you’ve never done anything wrong.
On Saturday, we reported on a man who’s home was raided by a Georgia task force believing that the okra he was growing in his garden was marijuana.
Over the summer, an innocent woman was arrested and spent over one month in jail after dried Spagettio’s on a spoon were found in her car during a traffic stop.  The officer believed the tomato sauce residue to be drugs.
During the same month, we reported on rapper, Joe Mugga, had his rights violated when an officer mistook a french fry in the backseat of his car for marijuana, yes, you read that correctly.
Let’s also never forget the cop who mistook a Jolly Rancher candy for crystal meth.
For more information check out our Top 10 Reasons Not to Talk to Police and learn why consenting to searches and answering questions from police can never help you.

 Let's help the cops out shall we?

Not marijuana

Not drug residue

Not meth, crystal or otherwise

This however, was a nice moment

Justice for Mike Brown

Which side are you on?


No comments:

Post a Comment