Police Lie for Drug War

Former San Jose police chief Joseph MacNamara estimates that hundreds of thousands of police officers lie every year in order to make drug arrests. Cops feel such perjury is not wrong because politicians reward such behavior and because the victims are mostly poor blacks and Latinos.

As MacNamara said in the Philadelphia Enquirer:

The federal government reports that more than 1.3 million drug arrests were made in 1994, 480,000 of which involved marijuana. About 1 million of the total drug arrests were for possession, not selling.

Despite government drug-war propaganda that big-time dealers are its targets, only 24 percent of the total drug arrests were for selling. Almost all those arrested for selling are small-timers, in large part supporting their own drug use. Often they are inveigled by undercover police to up the ante. Many of the arrests for selling are made without search warrants and almost all the possession arrests are without warrants.

In other words, hundreds of thousands of police officers swear under oath that the drugs were in plain view or that the defendant gave consent to a search.

... Leaders of the drug war dehumanize their "enemy" -- not just foreign drug traffickers but also American users. This mentality pushes the police into making ever more arrests, arrests that can only survive in court because of perjured police testimony. The fact that enforcement falls most heavily on people of color also encourages illegal police tactics. Non-whites are arrested at four to five times the rates whites are arrested for drug crimes, regardless of the fact that 80 percent of drug crimes are committed by whites.

... Some officers in the New York City police and New York State police departments were convicted of falsifying drug evidence. Yet, President Clinton appointed the heads of those agencies to be drug czar and chief of the Drug Enforcement Agency, respectively, and they were confirmed in the Senate.

Source: "Why cops lie about drug evidence" by Joseph D. MacNamara, in the February 13, 1996, Philadelphia Inquirer.