Monday, December 8, 2008

Konfuse-a-Kop Ltd.

So this is an interesting twist on the typical police raid story. This guy, Barry Cooper, a former police officer has set up an organization called Kop Busters, which examines the methods -- potentially illegal methods -- routinely employed by cops in setting up drugs busts.

In Odessa, Texas, Cooper's group rented a house, outfitted it with surveillance equipment, and turned on a grow light often used by marijuana growers. But when the cops came swooping in less than 24 hours later to raid the house, what they found was two small Christmas trees peacefully growing under the lights, along with a poster telling them what was going on.

Here's the local news coverage of the story. Sry for the shitty sound.

Now, this is significant, and not just a publicity stunt, as the local news reporters tried to suggest, because it is illegal for cops to use thermal imaging cameras to seek out houses that use grow lights -- which are legal, by the way. Also, it is illegal for cops to lie on affidavits by claiming they have informants who have witnessed illegal activity at the location, leading to probable cause for raiding the house.

Here's the raw footage from Kop Busters of the very confused looking cops entering the house.

According to the Kop Busters web site, the cops first attempted to arrest their attorney, who was waiting for the raid, and refused to show them the affidavit which would explain how the cops came by their probable cause. Essentially, the question is: which is it? Did they lie, or compel an informant to lie about witnessing suspected illegal activity at the house? Or did they illegally use thermal imaging cameras to 'see' the heat signature from the grow lamps?

And the other significant 'take-home message' from this raid in particular is that there is an Odessa woman currently serving eight years in prison resulting from a bust in which a police informant swore in court that he planted the drugs on her, even passing a polygraph to that effect.

Again, your tax dollars at work. Imagine the injection of cash into this struggling economy if we were to repeal even just the marijuana laws, and tax the sales of same. Last Friday was the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Maybe it's time we look into trying that again.

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