The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has suspended its drug recognition training program and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has started a criminal investigation after a police officer allegedly provided marijuana to protesters.
|It appears at least one police officer did give marijuana to Peavy Plaza Occupy protesters.
Occupy Minnesota protesters said last week that police officers gave them marijuana and watched them get high, reports Mike Durkin of KMSP
. The protesters first made the allegations public in a YouTube video, saying officers from Hutchinson, Minnesota came to downtown Minneapolis and asked them to take part in the drug training program.
When FOX 9 asked one of the protesters at the Occupy protest whether the officer supplied him with cannabis, Michael Bounds replied, “Yes. They gave me a quarter of marijuana in exchange for me to tell them what’s going on with Occupy.”
|Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman: “I have suspended the drug recognition evaluator training program”
The Department of Public Safety said in a Wednesday statement that an officer from another law enforcement agency allegedly witnessed the activity. The officer, who was also taking part in drug recognition training, reported the incident to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman has called for an Internal Affairs investigation of the program to find out if any agency policies or procedures were violated. Guess that means she thinks maybe officers are allowed to hand out weed, which would actually kind of rock, at least unless they then busted you for it.
“Training law enforcement officers to detect drug impairment helps to keep our roads safe, but we need to ensure that all participants follow guidelines and operate within the law,” Dohman said. “I have suspended the drug recognition evaluator training pending the outcome of these investigations and until we revisit and review the curriculum for the program.”
“We haven’t found any evidence or any indication any illegal drugs were provided to anyone,” State Patrol Lt. Erick Roeske claimed last week. “Other than allegations made in the video, which were not supported by any video evidence, we did not find anything to substantiate these allegations.”
But the story changed when an officer came forward to the State Patrol later in the week, according to Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon, reports Eric Roper at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Hutchinson Police Department had no comment Wednesday on the allegations. “We’re going to lets this investigation run its course,” said Hutchinson Police Chief Daniel Hatten, who confirmed that the city’s law enforcement officers took part in the training this year.
The Drug Evaluation and Classification (DEC) training program supposedly teaches officers how to detect drug-impaired drivers and remove them from the road. An officer who completes this “training” is certified as a “drug recognition evaluator.”
Currently 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada participate in the DEC program. Minnesota’s DEC program has been managed by the State Patrol since it started in 1991. There are 197 drug recognition evaluator officers in Minnesota representing 92 agencies.