DRE drug scandal: City of Minneapolis denies involvement as outstate officers take heat

Categories: Drugs, Police
rt rybak new square.jpg
Rybak: DRE scandal 'undermines trust' between law enforcement and citizens.
With news breaking yesterday that an officer has reported seeing a Hutchinson state trooper give pot to a Drug Recognition Expert program participant, Minneapolis officials are again disavowing any connection to the fiasco.

Wednesday afternoon, Mayor RT Rybak took to Facebook and issued a statement about the scandal. He writes that he "never could have imagined that something like this would happen in Minneapolis, or that it would happen without consulting the mayor and police chief. It's just plain wrong."

Rybak's statement comes days after Police Chief Tim Dolan denied that Minneapolis police had any knowledge about the alleged drug distributing being done by outstate officers. If it turns out to be true that officers from out-of-town agencies were giving drugs to Peavey Plaza protestors, Dolan said he and other MPD officials would "probably have an issue with that."

Assuming Rybak and Dolan are telling the truth and Minneapolis isn't involved in the DRE drug scandal, the picture that emerges is one of country-bumpkin officers coming to Minneapolis for training, then doling out pot to young people they pick up downtown. But why in God's name would outstate officers do such an inexplicable thing?

In a summary of their findings, the journalists who put together the video report outlining the drug allegations say they believe young people hanging out near Peavey Plaza were targeted because getting them intoxicated is a way for authorities  to "discredit and disrupt the Occupy movement." But why would outstate officers give a rip about discrediting an Occupy movement only active in large cities like Minneapolis?
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This unnamed Hutchinson officer came to Minneapolis to participate in the scandal-ridden DRE program.

It doesn't seem to add up, but perhaps state troopers like Hutchinson's Nick Otterson -- Otterson, according to the Star Tribune, is the trooper who is now on paid leave and the subject of a criminal investigation after a colleague reported he gave pot to a DRE participant -- simply did what they did because they thought getting Occupy protesters high was amusing and figured they wouldn't get caught. No Minneapolis officers are depicted as DRE participants at any point during the 35-minute video outlining the drug allegations, lending a bit of credence to Rybak and Dolan's disavowals.

On the other hand, in light of yesterday's news about Otterson and the suspension of the DRE program, it's interesting to note that a Hutchinson officer indeed makes an appearance in the video report. At about the 16-minute mark of the film, Occupy activist Forest Olivier is shown getting into a Chisago County police car. But the officer talking with Olivier as he crawls into the backseat is an unnamed Hutchinson police officer.
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Olivier, escorted into a squad car by the Hutchinson officer, returns downtown and says he's "so fucking high."

As Olivier settles into the backseat, the Hutchinson officer is shown removing an empty bag of McDonald's food from the car, the contents presumably consumed by an previous passenger. Earlier in the video, a young man who identifies himself as Panda said officers bought him a McDonald's cheeseburger on his way back downtown after he got "high as fuck" smoking weed cops gave him at the MnDOT testing facility in Richfield. Olivier gives a thumbs up as the Chicago County squad car leaves downtown to take him to Richfield for another round of "testing."

In the next scene, Olivier is back downtown after being returned from Richfield by police. "I'm so fucking high right now," Olivier says, adding that police didn't test him after all. "They just smoked us up this time," Olivier says. He's then seen on top of a large sign near Peavey Plaza sitting 15 feet above the sidewalk, swinging his arms and legs, having climbed up there while stoned out of his mind after smoking what he describes as "an entire bag of weed."

Previous coverage:
-- Police did indeed give Occupiers free pot, new evidence suggests; DRE program suspended
-- State Patrol: "No evidence" officers gave Occupy-ers drugs
-- State patrol "looking into" Occupy drug allegations; Mpls police claim no involvement
-- Minnesota police giving Peavey Plaza Occupy-ers drugs as part of impairment study, report says [VIDEO]


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20 comments
RasinLung
RasinLung

I think Dr. DRE needs to weigh in on this scandal. I'd say he'd want the kids to be high as hell, just like the cops did. Smoke it everyday!

swmnguy
swmnguy

I grew up in a small town in rural Minnesota.  The cops always did stuff like this out there, 35 years ago.  They would find a socially vulnerable kid (everybody knew everybody), and bust him or her for something.  Then they would keep the kid in weed and pocket change and not charge him or her--as long as whenever they wanted something the kid delivered.  Usually what they wanted was for the kid to buy some weed from someone who was getting too cocky and the cops wanted to take him or her down a notch.  There was one cop in my hometown who was said to  want sex in return.   Everybody knew which cops were dealing, and only the idiots or kids without a better choice went along with them on it.  And the rest of us avoided those kids whenever we were doing something we didn't want the cops to know about.

So I guess they're still doing it.  And the Occupy kids are dumb enough not to know that's the game, and the weed wasn't "free;" they're going to pay for it.  Maybe this time the price is that the Occupy Movement be tarred as a bunch of socially vulnerable gullible potheads.

Lee Hertel
Lee Hertel

I had MPD officers roll up on me a couple of years ago when I was walking near Simpson Housing in whittier area of Minneapolis. Yes i was high. They blocked the sidewalk with the squad car and asked me if I'd like to come to the precinct so that their officers could take part in drug-use/under the influence training. I declined and ended up facing the squad hands down on the hood and spread-eagled while they went through my pockets. They found one clean rig and a bottle of poppers. 

The clean rig because I shoot up and at that time I was a volunteer for Minnesota AIDS Project's Mainline Program which distributes clean needles to people who inject drugs. Because of that I nearly always carried clean rigs on me because I wanted to be certain I had them if I ran into anyone who needed any. when i still refused they tried to sweeten the deal with a cheese burger and a place to sleep for the night. Again I declined, telling them I already had my own apartment and that I wasn't interested in a McDonald's burger beecause I had leftover leg of lamb at home (it was post-Easter).

I've heard they were still doing this a couple of weeks ago when one of my program participants told me the same thing happened to him. He told me they also gave him money to cop some coke in N. Mpls, drove him there, waited, and then watched him as he shot it up in the backseat of the squad.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

The U of M does cocaine studies, what is the difference?Google   "university of minnesota cocaine study"Google   "university of Marijuana cocaine study"The psychology dept, the agricultural dept, and I believe there was others within the U of M that also studied drugs.  The psy dept did it for similar reasons the cops did.

I just find it funny that the police deny they did the same.

Wait, I thought Citypages would advertise in their paper these studies for the U of M  

Sparky
Sparky

Whats all the fuss about kids?  Time and again the DRE program has been endorsed and found legal by courts and legislatures.  Probably time to move on to another topic.....

Soren C. Sorensen
Soren C. Sorensen

Also reported by the program participants in the case where testing was canceled but participants got smoked up, the police reportedly asked questions about occupy and communicated their dislike of some particular occupier... are the officials going to try to make us believe that individual cops did that on their own initiative, independently?

Did they chose to pick people up at occupy and drop them off there on their own initiative? did a group of them agree or conspire to target ocuppy, if that wasn't the explicit direction of the persons in charge of the program?

What was the total budget for this program, and how far in advance was this training session planned and approved? Did they talk to Richfield PD, to HCSD's Stanek when planning it?

Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Jo Sorensen

Copy now reads: " perhaps state troopers like Hutchinson's Nick Otterson ..."  Linking Otterson with Hutchinson seems to be a ghost of the old copy.  Star Tribune article doesn't give a hometown for the trooper.

truckload_bear
truckload_bear

Minnesota cops offering drugs to Occupy members. Nice. Who the hell takes drugs from a uniformed cop?  I'm gobsmacked by the sheer idiocy of the entire situation.

Soren C. Sorensen
Soren C. Sorensen

It is unlikely that MPD Chief Dolan was not aware of the program - he is the Secretary of the Police Executive Research Forum which held national conference calls - in parallel to the calls held by US Mayors as revealed by Oakland Mayor Quan. The drug evaluation program is model  used across the nation, something that must come up at PERF conferences and calls.

In the pre-crackdown PERF calls on Occupy, did this topic of saturating occupy encampments with drugs, with addicts and drunk persons come up? Its' a phenomenon that has been reported at other occupy sites. OWS says NYPD dropped drunks, drugged up people and disruptively mentally ill at Zuccoti. Are local police participating on NYPD internet discussion boards that have been filled with hateful ideas and illegal fantasies about the Occupy protest movement?

The relevent federal term for these sorts of police abuses is "under color of law". If Stanek, Dolan, and other police executives are conspiring to infringe our civil liberties and wrongfully asserting their power to deny basic freedoms it is a crime. A big one.

Using police privileges to transport drugs and drug users and to concentrate them at OccupyMinneapolis at Peavey Plaza is an abuse of police powers.

Sally Jo Sorensen
Sally Jo Sorensen

Nick Otterson is not a Hutchinson police officer.

From the Star Tribune article: " State Patrol trooper Nick Otterson."

That wasn't difficult was it?

Fremontupton
Fremontupton

If I was offered, first thing I'd think is that it's a trap.

Oscar
Oscar

Here's the real problem with this story. If i was given weed by a cop i'd prbly think it was pretty sweet and sure as hell wouldn't go rat it out to the newspapers. Way to ruin it for everyone else.

T_bone_30
T_bone_30

 God you're an idiot. Don't you ever feel ashamed about what a piece of garbage you are?

zerofor
zerofor

You're really good at false equivalencies, aren't you? Citypages DOES advertise these studies. The difference is that the U does them to understand how people react to drugs.The police program was supposed to just observe and record people already on drugs, not get more people on drugs. That's where the waste of our tax $$$ and abuse of police powers comes in.

April
April

Under the DRE program, law enforcement is supposed to test people who are already intoxicated -- not become their drug dealers.

atrupar
atrupar

Thanks Sally, I've edited the paragraph where the distinction wasn't clear.

webcelt
webcelt

If you were part of a protest targeted by police for a smear campaign, yes, you'd probably rat it out. Funny how the people buying the smear, that the protesters are druggies, ignore that the protesters blew the whistle and gathered the evidence.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

I guess I don't see the difference.  Both are a waste of money because these things have been studied to death.  The scientific journals are full of them.

And the biggest way to point out the waste by both parties is asking a simple question;  What information have they discovered that has not already been documented?

Furthermore, as I have stated before, the police never intend to eliminate drugs and drug use.  It would leave many jobless.  Governemnt always opperates perpetually unto itself.

Forwardpride
Forwardpride

Kirk is a lying, immoral hater who slimes these pages on a daily basis.  Clearly the City Pages doesn't care, or they would have banned him years ago.

ludwigtr
ludwigtr

How many other conspiracy theories do you subscribe to?

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