August 23, 2005

With all due respect to my colleagues who live there...

Fucking Utah.

More information available from the Utah County Sheriffs here. Without even going into the wondrous spelling and grammar of our government officials, I love tidbits like 'Security personnel were arrested for possession of drugs.' Given that the security personnel were required to be there by Utah law, and that one of their tasks would have been the confiscation of any illegal substances they found, it would make sense that they'd have illegal substances in their possession now, wouldn't it? I can't wait to hear the outcome of this one.

"A 17 year old was found overdosed on Ecstasy and was returned to her parents." That's nice. How about the girl we see three armored cops stomping on in the video of the incident? Was she returned to her parents? In what state? Was she the one 'resisting arrest'?

I realize that I don't have 'all the facts' as to what happened. I am a suspicious bastard, and I acknowledge that. I will say that whenever I see law enforcement demanding that a witness 'turn off the camera' whenever force is being used (excessive force, from what I can see, at that) I find it very difficult to take anything that organization says at face value.

And anyway, we alllll know what a threat to life and limb those Ex users are. Regular hoodlums.

Here's a good one: "A safety sweep was conducted after the crowd was ordered to disburse and numerous narcotic items were located scattered on the ground which included: cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, mushrooms, alcohol and large amounts of drug paraphernalia." Yep, yep. Because marijuana, mushrooms and alcohol are narcotics, oh, absolutely. BZZZZT. Wrong. Narcotics are a specific schedule of substance, with a specific set of penalties. Lumping those others in there with them is a completely idiotic (and negligent) generalization, serving only to demonstrate the lack of care for actual specific law enforcement that appears to have been going on. Furthermore, finding the stuff 'scattered around the ground' after you 'disburse' (sic) the crowd seems to simply indicate how badly you fucked up. Wouldn't you rather figure out who had the stuff, rather than wade in, beat the crap out of several folks, and give them all a chance to dump the shit in the dirt? What if, in fact, those drugs had been confiscated by event security - those same security you arrested for possession? The message there is that any attempt to actually make dance events safer by enforcing rules of conduct is pointless, because those doing the enforcing are simply the ones who the police can find when they come stomping in anyway.

Just. Fucking. Ridiculous.

If you're so concerned about people taking drugs at raves, send in undercover officers. Observe them doing so, arrest them, and haul their asses out. Station police officers at the security checkpoints - from the sound of it, I'm sure the event organizers wouldn't have objected, if they had gone to the trouble of applying for all the permits and had security working the entry. Work with the community to police it! Gain the trust and assistance of those who run these events, allowing police personnel to work on weeding out the actual problems (drugs, weapons, violence) rather than simply trying to smash flat the entire scene - which will only serve to drive such events further underground and out of official view, where it will be even harder to ensure that those problems are dealt with.

All in all, a pathetic piece of policing. And for whatever's holy, have someone who can write write up your press releases, at least.

Coverage at DailyKos, Utah Indymedia. Video footage of the incident.

Posted by jbz at August 23, 2005 9:27 AM | TrackBack

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