BroadSnark

Thoughts on politics, religion, violence, inequality, social control, change, and random other things from an autonomous, analytical, adopted, abolitionist, anarchist who likes the letter A
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Things You Might Have Missed

September 12, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

St. Louis PD shot sixteen other people before Michael Brown in 2014.

I do not encourage contacting the police. Usually, when I read a story about someone calling the cops, it ends with somebody getting beaten or shot who shouldn’t have. But I send sincere thanks to the woman who turned in her phone so that the police department could go after the pig that texted “I wish someone would pull a Ferguson on them and take them out. I hate looking at those African monkeys at work…I enjoy arresting those thugs with their saggy pants.” She cannot be too popular amongst the PD right now.

Speaking of bad outcomes after the cops are called. The eight-year-old who was tased? The state attorney claims the cops were totally justified. Ummm. If you cannot handle an eight-year-old, knife or not, perhaps you aren’t cut out for “protecting and serving.”

Or how about the guy who called the cops who shot a Walmart shopper. He isn’t suspicious or anything.

Glen Ford from Black Agenda Report has been on fire the last few weeks. Here is an interview he did on This is Hell! focused mostly on police militarization and the counter-insurgency army that cops really are, with a little misleadership class sellout on the side.

Very interesting interview with Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell about Terrorism, COINTELPRO, and the Black Panther Party

Further to that robot conversation from a few posts back, now you can be freaked out about robots and the cloud together. You’re welcome.

Yes, for the millionth time, the stats about sex workers are bullshit.

There is a big brouhaha because the leader of Greenpeace has been jetting back and forth between Luxemburg and Amsterdam on a weekly basis. The focus is mostly on the hypocrisy of racking up that massive carbon footprint, with a little bit of wasteful spending outrage on the side. But what about the fucking class issues? Ugh. These are the kind of horrible assholes I have to deal with on a regular. The kind who pat themselves on the back for helping the world as they live the bougiest of lives.

Also under the heading of repulsive nonprofits, Pathways to Housing has not been paying the rent for their mentally disabled clients. This is despite the fact that these people have been turning over their social security checks to the agency. But don’t worry “The group’s president, Sam Tsemberis, made nearly $300,000 in 2013. Boothe made $174,000 last year, and four other Pathways executives cleared six figures, including a $182,000-a-year psychiatrist.” So the really important people are totally covered.

I really need to check out that Samaritans show.

Mentally ill inmates in a Michigan women’s prison are being tortured.

The bombing in Chile is being blamed on anarchists. It is also being used to resurrect/reinforce some Pinochet era anti-terrorism laws. You may recall that, just a bit over a month ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that several Mapuche “activists’ rights to freedom of expression, presumption of innocence and their right to question witnesses had been violated when they were tried and found guilty under the anti-terrorism law. The law allows the accused to be held without bail before trial, to receive higher penalties for crimes and to be sentenced based on anonymous testimony.” What a coincidence.

Meanwhile, Latin America has horrifying rates of violence against young people . And gun deaths in Honduras have doubled in less than a decade. A total of “49,294 homicides were reported during the 2005-2013 period”.

I also saw a report of anarchists being targeted and imprisoned in Egypt. But I’m not finding much on this. Anyone?

Guess who has the highest housing costs in the USA? We’re number one, DC!! Maybe it is time to get in contact with OneDC.

I’ll leave you on a slightly more positive note. Restorative justice in Illinois schools. It works.

 

 

Prison Health Care: Money for Nothing

September 08, 2014 By: Mel Category: Criminal Injustice System

Antique Human Diagram for BloodlettingAt the beginning of August there was an Alliance for Healthcare forum on Health Care Behind Bars. One of the panelists was Debra Rowe of Returning Citizens United. This isn’t the first time I have heard Debra talk about this. I was lucky enough to be on the Criminal Injustice Committee with her. I’m not sure that the full impact of what she is saying comes through in such a formal talk. So I’ll share what I remember from the talks I heard.

When Debra was incarcerated in the 80s, her and the other women found themselves providing hospice care for people dying of AIDS. There was virtually no health care and they had to fight to get even minimal attention paid to the inmates who were sick. But that’s not all. Prisoners were being tested for HIV. Reports were coming out about HIV infections in prison. But they weren’t telling the prisoners they were sick. The people only found out when they started becoming symptomatic.

Not much has changed. Despite prisoners being blood tested upon entering prisons, they are not being told what the results are. Debra recounts an instance where a man was tested several times by several different prisons and never once told that he had Hepatitis C. The rates of Hepatitis and other infectious diseases are incredibly high in prison. One study estimates that 17.4% of those in prison have Hep C. If they are left untreated, those people could die. 

People who know they have a health issue struggle to get any kind of care in prison. One woman who wrote in for the mother’s day issue of Tenacious: Art and Writings by Women in Prison explains:

Betty, one of our Golden Girls, fell on the uneven pavement on Sunday morning, Sept. 8th, while walking back from an Art Therapy class with interns from the Gerontology Department at USC. Luckily she had put in a co-pay the day before, and so would likely be seen in the next day or so. A copay is a prison system alert that some kind of care is needed; it is called a co-pay because the system charges an inmate $5 for every visit. Cheap by free world standards, but enormously expensive for inmates as this reflects about 33% of their monthly average salary at an 8 cents an hour job…

despite many health care visits, the foot is still broken, still untreated, now nineteen days since the fall, but the system will assure you that she is being seen and taken care of.

Suffering with a broken foot for 19 days and having paid for the privilege. That’s the prison health care system.

Though prisons have not figured out how to do even minimal care, they have figured out how to make millions of dollars. At least 20 states have outsourced all or part of their prison health care to private for-profit organizations like Corizon, about whom you can read a damning list of abuses and scandals around the country in this piece on Prison Legal News.

Another corporation getting into the prison medical business is CenteneCentene had 2013 service revenue of $ 10,526,040. Not all of that was for prison health care. In fact, much of it was saving governments money on medicare spending. In other words, they make most of their money off of “the families of low-income single mothers.” You can read all about their famous cost cutting and army of lobbyists here.

It isn’t surprising that they are so good at getting government contracts considering how well-connected they are.  The board includes Former Majority Leader Dick Gephardt and former Governor of Wisconsin Tommy G. Thompson. Of course, there are plenty of banks, insurance companies, and the obligatory Microsoft guy on the board as well.

One other thought about the health care forum I linked to above. For a minute I thought that nobody was going to bring up racism or poverty. That it would just hover there unspoken. Luckily, another Criminal Injustice person, popped up during the question and answer session and made sure nobody forgot. Christopher Glenn also brought up the 500 mile rule for DC inmates, which is something I should write about soon.

Things You Might Have Missed

September 05, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

The New York City school teachers who wore t-shirts to school showing their support for NYPD can go straight to hell.

Related to my last post, The new Luddites: why former digital prophets are turning against tech

Another black person with a gun license had a run-in with cops. This time, rather than arrest, they just beat him up.

That cop that likes to rape black women in Oklahoma also killed a guy.

Another killer cop decided to light the woman on fire afterwards.

Balko comprehensively covers how poor people in St. Louis County are getting screwed by the injustice system.

What happens when a cop tries to do the right thing? The police department starts investigating them.

Someone was just saying the other day that they thought the militarization of police was a good thing because it made all sorts of military equipment more available for appropriation. Considering that police departments keep losing stuff, that isn’t so far-fetched.

Thirty years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

Nice piece about Tenacious: A Zine of Art & Writing by Women in Prison, which we should all be subscribed to.

Someone please explain to me how 181 pre-K students and 201 kindergarten students were suspended from school for violence, drugs, alcohol and/or weapons in the 2012-2013 school year.

There is so much wrong with this story about a 14-year-old who had sex with a 20-year-old (statutory rape), found out six years later that she had his kid, and is now having his wages garnished for child support.

I’ve been saying for years that age segregation is a disaster. I started noticing the problem in activist spaces that are almost always segregated (usually with those in the kid years completely absent).

Hats off to LulzSecPeru for stirring up shit over there.

I thought I had posted a link to this talk about anarchist fiction with Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Killjoy, but maybe not.

And last, but not least, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei gives us a DIY tutorial on blocking a surveillance camera (pictured).

Robots and Revolution

September 03, 2014 By: Mel Category: Change

On Friday I put up a link to Kevin Carson’s post called Capitalism, Not Technological Unemployment, is the Problem. He says,

The problem arises, not from the increased efficiency, but from the larger structure of power relations in which the increase in efficiency takes place. When artificial land titles, monopolies, cartels and “intellectual property” are used by corporations to enclose increased productivity as a source of rents, instead of letting them be socialized by free competition and diffusion of technique, we no longer internalize the fruits of technological advance in the form of lower prices and leisure. We get technological unemployment.

In response, AR shared some links, including a short video on robots called Humans Need Not Apply. You really should watch it. It is hard to wrap your head around just how many jobs will disappear and how quickly it could happen. I’ll wait.

Of course, as David Graeber pointed out, many (if not most) of us are working at completely useless, bullshit jobs now. And we know it. But “the ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger.” And so we must continue to believe that our primary value is in our employability at something – regardless of how useless or even evil it is. 

Those of us who hit the accident of birth lottery spend a vast chunk of our waking hours renting our asses out to sit in office chairs. Some who were perhaps slightly less lucky take jobs keeping the masses in line. And the rest we just lock up. But we make sure to lock people up in a way that makes money for people whose asses are sitting in chairs.

Every time somebody talks about a jobs program, we should just show them that video. Every time someone talks about an education program – even a more practical one like the community college plug Robert Reich just did – we should make them read that Graeber post. We need to start believing that people have inherent worth. And if you cannot manage to do that, then you should at least be able to manage the understanding that none of the technology that some wiz kid invented to make life easier would have been possible without the people feeding and clothing that kid – not to mention the generations of knowledge all of it is based on.

We better get a massive change in attitude, a revolution in how we perceive who deserves to live and how we perceive those who prevent things from being shared. And we better get it quick. Or there will be a lot more of us in prison. There will be a lot more of us as guards. There will be just enough of us pushing papers while our insides atrophy to keep things passive.

Or perhaps, if we cannot be allowed to live human and pursue things that are actually of value, we will all just start dying of hopelessness like the Russians seem to be doing.

Things You Might Have Missed

August 29, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Remember the good old days? The Leave it to Beaver years. They were simpler times. When white people wanted to hang black people for drinking out of white water fountains. When workers would find nooses hanging at their workplaces. When cops put dogs on unarmed protesters. When curmudgeonly, white supremacist stereotypes yelled “cut your hair, hippy Navajo kindergartner!” or kicked black teens out of school for dreadlocks. Oh wait. That’s all now.

A seventeen-year-old from Ferguson writes about being Tired and Fed-up.

This guy shows how frequent the Fergusons have been in our history.

Never ever speak to cops. Not that you have a right to remain silent.

This charming cop offered to help “straighten out” his niece. By which he meant rape her and make her be his maid. He was found out after she tried to kill herself.

This Oklahoma cop likes to rape black women.

Cops and coroner claim a handcuffed man shot himself in the chest.

The 84-year-old Asian man who was slammed to the ground by NYPD for jaywalking is suing.

In Chicago, a candlelight vigil was being held for another teen killed by cops. Police attended the vigil to do their usual intimidation and harassment thing. One attendee believed they saw the actual shooter. Then things got real as people started throwing things at the PD and one woman ran into a cop with her car. Let’s all take notes from that one.

Data on police killing people is impossible to find, though the feds are responsible for tracking it. This guy has started his own project.

There is a petition circulating to try to get compassionate release for Robert C. Fuentes who is dying of liver cancer.

System Failure was uploaded back in 2007 by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. It is about abuse in California juvenile facilities. Gives you a very good feel for what happens in these places.

This is a long, but worthwhile discussion about “incarceration and resistance (with) Ashanti Alston (former BLA member and Prisoner of War, current co-chair of the Jericho Movement)…Victoria Law (author, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women) …Matt Meyer (editor of Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movement to Free Political Prisoners) and Lynne Stewart (attorney and contributor to Let Freedom Ring)”.

Where does that hard-working, pull yourself up by the bootstraps mentality get you? It gets you four jobs and dead in your car.

All the more shameful since we could all be working a few hours a day if the system wasn’t about fetishizing work and making sure that a disproportionate few benefit from technology and increased productivity.

This interview with Boots from the Coup where he tells the woman they are “a punk-funk Communist revolution band…trying to…make everyone dance while we’re telling them about how we need to get rid of the system” is just priceless.

Very interesting research on who participated in the Rwandan genocide. It was those with larger social networks that were more likely to participate in atrocities. Especially important was the influence of family and neighbors.

And then there is this on how we decide who is innocent, their death being a tragedy, and whose death we shrug off.

Finally, anybody know anything about Friendica? Or maybe you host a Diaspora server. I really need off of Facebook.

____

HT to @BrendasJustice for photo

Worse Than Michael Brown

August 27, 2014 By: Mel Category: Criminal Injustice System

Little blond angelBy now you have undoubtedly heard how The New York Times is getting a lot of backlash for calling Michael Brown “no angel.” Specifically they wrote

he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.

A couple days ago, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about just how typical Brown’s behavior was. In fact, he wrote, “if Michael Brown was not angelic, I was practically demonic.” And he goes on to list how much more than shoplifting, drugs, alcohol, and (gasp) rap music there was in his teenage years.

It occurs to me that this might be an exercise for all of us. Half of the adults in this country have smoked pot. The vast majority of teens have tried alcohol, and a fairly significant percentage binge drink on a regular. And whoa, vulgar music and scuffles. Well who has ever been involved with those?

By the time I was 18 years old, I had:

  • Been drinking for 6 years (quite a bit)
  • Regularly raided mine and my friend’s parent’s medicine chests for drugs
  • Smoked pot
  • Did acid and ecstasy
  • Ran away…a lot
  • Quit school
  • Went back to school
  • Got suspended (a lot)
  • Got kicked out of school
  • Got kicked out of my house
  • Got caught shoplifting
  • Stole liquor from a bar after a little illegal entry (after convincing my friends the cameras were fake)
  • Rode in numerous stolen vehicles. (Did you know old Camaros could be started with a screwdriver?)
  • Listened to some really disturbing music (I Saw Your Mommy and Your Mommy is Dead..anyone?)
  • And so much more…

Do you know what happened when I got caught shoplifting in Rite Aid? I didn’t get shot. They called my parents and banned me from the store. Do you know what happened when my friend and I appropriated her mom’s car and got into an accident without either of us having a drivers license? I didn’t get shot. The cop brought us back to her parent’s house. Do you know what happened on the many occasions cops caught me and my friends with booze and weed? I didn’t get shot. They confiscated it for themselves.

I never even got arrested. Not once.

Don’t think I am saying that cops have changed. Seems like almost everyone I knew had some sort of record. Many of my friends ended up face down on a roadside with a cop’s knee in their back over a speeding ticket. I didn’t go through that because I as a girl and white and lived in a middle class suburban house with “good” parents. Despite being “no angel” I have been allowed to grow up, been given the benefit of the doubt, been assumed to be redeemable.

It is the people that obey all the rules and, most especially, the people who get their jollies from enforcing them, that we need to be worried about. I never killed anybody. And neither did Michael Brown. But here I am. And he is dead. For nothing.

But maybe what the NYT meant by “no angel” was that he wasn’t a little blonde girl like the one in that picture.

Things You Might Have Missed

August 22, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

This is gonna be a long one. And I’m saving some for next week. Apologies. Not only did I miss last week, but I also did a lot of catching up on reading. And, of course, I have been obsessively following Ferguson.

I know none of you have missed what has been going on in Ferguson. But I will drop a few of the more important links:

Ferguson isn’t the only place people have had enough. In the Mandalay Region of Burma/Myanmar, farmers had their land taken away by the military. They protested by, for example, plowing the fields that had been stolen from them. The cops came and started shooting. The protesters, along with local villagers who ran out to help, “detained 37 police personnel“. The rest ran away. Nicely done, farmers.

While we wait to hear whether or not the cop will be charged in Ferguson, we know that Shaneen Allen is going to be prosecuted for gun possession.

San Bernardino PD tased a man to death last week. Maybe they were trying to one up the South Dakota PD who tased an 8 year old?

In New Orleans, a man was shot in the head and the PD didn’t report it for two days. And in LA, they refused to release the autopsy of the man they shot.

If You Were Gunned Down By Police, What Photo Would the MSM Use to Portray You?

You have probably seen the picture going around of all the people killed by police. But maybe you missed this series of Last Words: A Visual Tribute to Men Killed By Police.

Nobody knows how many people cops murder every year.

I don’t know if this new police accountability app will do any good. But these teens are clearly awesome.

Prisoners in PA have been protesting and need some support.

We don’t hear enough of the stories from people in prison, especially not women in prison. Which is why this account from a woman at Virginia Correctional is so important. And why people should support films like this one about Marcia Powell, a sex worker who died in prison.

It turns out that Telling White People the Criminal Justice System is Racist Makes them Like it More. Awesome. 

In Memphis, a teacher punched a five-year-old girl in the face.

Good news is, LA says they are trying to shut down the school to prison pipeline. Bad news is, they are arming Compton school PD with AR-15s. What could go wrong?

Mothers are still be arrested for letting their kids play in parks and for swearing in front of them. (Newsflash: If you put your kid in a car, you are risking their life far more than any of this bullshit.)

Baltimore Jimmy Johns workers are now IWW.

Also in Baltimore, an out of control judge ordered a pro se defendant to be tased in court.

One could argue that a dildo is even more dehumanizing than this very life-like Japanese sex doll. But as a human and a sapiosexual, I’m finding the claims about it being a legit girlfriend replacement a little incomprehensible and (frankly) sad.

They better send a whole crap ton of those dolls to Brazil considering that women need virginity tests before they can get a job.

Sooo. That whole Affordable Care Act thing. How is it that hospital CEOs are seeing massive pay increases? Almost as big as the insurance premium increases we have been getting.  Hmmmmmm.

Finally, a Honduras morgue director is reporting that at least 5 of the children deported back to Honduras are now dead.

How Consumers Choose Their Corporate Masters

August 11, 2014 By: Mel Category: Change

Protester with Boycott BP signNonprofit Quarterly has a piece about how nonprofit nursing homes outperform for-profit ones. It got me thinking about the categories that we put organizations into and the criteria by which we judge an organization’s worth.

Here we have for-profit vs. nonprofit. The evaluation looks at outcomes for patients, as it should. But we don’t have much about how the workers are treated. Nursing assistants are absurdly low paid. The median wage is $11.97 per hour. In Minnesota, a main argument against the minimum wage was that nursing homes would have to close if they were forced to pay their workers $9.50. In New Jersey, nursing home workers cannot afford health insurance.

Those nonprofit nursing homes may have better health outcomes and they keep higher levels of staffing. But that doesn’t mean that they treat their employees well or pay them a living wage. It doesn’t mean that the people who work there have any autonomy or democracy in their workplace.

What about food labels? I’ve written before about how workers are ignored in the movements for a better food system. Nothing about an organic or free-range label tells you how the humans are treated. A label of local doesn’t tell you much when people haven’t even decided how far away local actually is. How much does fair trade tell you really? Fair in comparison to what?

The Human Rights Campaign has an annual Corporate Equality Index. It measures things like whether or not a company has a sexual orientation discrimination policy or offers same-sex partner health benefits. HRC has consistently given Wells Fargo a 100% human rights rating, presumably encouraging GLBT people to bank there. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo is a major investor in private prisons and their racist, predatory loan practices were a key driver in the foreclosure crisis.

What about pressure campaigns against giant companies? There are multiple current campaigns against Coca Cola. Each of them run by a different organization. When one organization wins something, they wrap it up and congratulate Coke and tell everyone they can start buying from them again. No thought to the other campaigns that keep going. No thought to how the greenwashing may actually keep a company in business.

Boycotts? What happens if I boycott BP, but I’m still buying gasoline from Exxon or Shell? Is that really helping anybody? What about boycotting Starbucks, but still buying coffee from another chain whose workers don’t have a union? What if your local indie coffee shop treats their workers like shit too? What about boycotting Walmart but still buying from Target, which is just as anti-union?

I’m not saying we should give up trying to make ethical choices. I’m not saying you are a shit if you ever buy anything from someplace that does horrible things. There is no way to avoid completely interacting with organizations that, in a better world, would not exist. But can’t we at least get it together enough to evaluate them in a way that isn’t so disjointed, that is based on more than just some narrow set of issues? Can’t we look at purpose, size, democracy, profit, community involvement….everything? And can’t we be smarter about what kinds of things we boycott and what we offer as alternatives?

Don’t tell people to leave Wells Fargo for Bank of America. Don’t just find any old credit union either. Don’t care only about environmental issues and ignore workers. Don’t assume that nonprofit means anti-capitalist or that people are treated well. Don’t start a campaign to boycott one organization in an entire sector that runs the same way. What is the point in that?

Consumer choice can help. I feel most hopeful when I am surrounded by co-op people who are trying to build the new world inside the old. But not all decisions that are made out to be ethical are. And we aren’t going to consumer choose our way into a revolution, especially not if we are just choosing between Walmart and Target.

Things You Might Have Missed

August 08, 2014 By: Mel Category: Misc

Dirt track at Hagerstown SpeedwayI watched dirt track racing this weekend. Apparently, that’s a thing. A very loud and surprisingly fun thing. You can make a race car out of anything.

Very much looking forward to seeing how the amazing Andrea Bowen takes Garden State Equality past the gay marriage fight. Andy has actually gotten me to help call people for an advocacy day, so you know she can make pretty much anything happen.

I think many people forget that a lot of chains are actually owned by locals who just wanted a small business of their own. Though it sounds like McDonalds is trying to get rid of those people. In any event, when a franchise owner basically comes out in support of a union for fast food workers, that’s news.

Moving on up the chain of evil corporations, a bunch of memos have been released showing Chiquita’s support of the death squads in Colombia.

Setting aside the Obama apologism and apparent belief that the CIA is or should be salvageable, this isn’t a bad summary of the torture investigation history.

Where is the nationwide torture investigation of US police? Like the ones in New Mexico that like to anally rape people for kicks.

Or these cops who went to the wrong house and dragged a woman naked out of her apartment.

Those cops will not be punished in the slightest. Meanwhile, a five-year-old has sexual misconduct on his record for pulling down his pants at school. You read that right. A five-year-old.

Looks like people in Colorado are staying home to get high instead of going out and getting in car accidents. Seriously though, the chicken littles are just going to look sillier and sillier as drugs are legalized and the world doesn’t fall apart.

If you are trying to help things fall apart, then you’d be better off sending in some aid. Perhaps you can send USAID to pretend to humanitarians working for an AIDS organization in Cuba.

Or maybe you can NGOize a small country that has been pummeled by natural and political disasters so that NGOs and contractors can make gazillions of dollars and thwart any chances for autonomy or democracy or justice…

Or you can just sell out to the highest bidder while still patting yourself on the back for being a good guy.

At least with Chiquita, nobody really pretends they aren’t evil.

In Delhi, The Hindu did an investigation of the reported rape cases. One of the things they found is that many of the cases were controlling parents who filed rape charges against the man that their daughter eloped with. Authoritarian parenting at its worst. Happens here too.

Leo Hollis calls out the bullshit that is “startup urbanism” for the gentrification that it actually is.

DC has now been added to the list of cities where a posh building agrees to provide affordable housing, but has the poor people use a separate door. The twist here is that they claim the low-income tenants wanted it that way in order to preserve their community. Can’t really blame them for not wanting to deal with all the douchebags that live in places like that. It is tragic to see how the neighborhood relationships break down with gentrification.

And finally, Victoria Law has a new piece on compassionate release.

Marijuana Decriminalization Isn’t Stopping Arrests in DC

August 06, 2014 By: Mel Category: Drugs

An ounce of weedDCist reports that “between July 17 and July 31, 26 people have been arrested for marijuana-related crimes that don’t fall under the new decriminalization law.” Fourteen of those people were arrested for consumption. Presumably they were actually caught smoking in public. Police aren’t supposed to stop people for the smell of weed anymore. But I’m not exactly going to be shocked to find out that isn’t how things are playing out.

Of the other twelve people arrested, only one of them was arrested for having more than an ounce of weed. Eight were arrested for distribution. Presumably those eight sold to undercovers or were actually seen transacting a sale. But again, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that wasn’t the case. Three of the arrests were for intent to distribute. Meaning that three people were arrested in those couple of weeks despite having less than an ounce and nobody having witnessed them sell anything.

Too many people believe that quantity is the determining factor when police and prosecutors are deciding whether or not to go after someone for intent. But quantity is just one thing they might use to argue that you were intending to distribute. For example, one of the cases that we heard when I was on grand jury duty involved a minuscule amount of marijuana. But they were prosecuting the kid for intent because it was divided up into a few different baggies.

I’ll give you three guesses what the race of the accused was.

Just kidding. We all know who gets arrested for petty drug crimes in DC. Marijuana decriminalization was supposed to be addressing that disparity. But considering that the MPD clearly states on their website that “selling any amount of marijuana to another person” is still a crime, their reminding us that they still intend to arrest people for marijuana, and their long history of targeting – I think we can expect the bullshit to continue.