NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR
THE REFORM OF MARIJUANA LAWS
1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
TEL 202-483-5500 * FAX 202-483-0057
... a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana Prohibition.
May 4, 1995
PERMISSIBLE MURDERS IN AMERICA: ANOTHER SUSPECTED MARIJUANA USER KILLED IN HIS HOME BY WISCONSIN POLICE
April 28, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Scott W.
Bryant, 29, was shot dead by police as they charged through the
door of his home with a "no-knock" warrant.
Bryant was unarmed and did not resist the police in any
way. His seven year old son, who was sleeping in the next
room, had to watch his father die while an ambulance took 35
minutes to respond. Police later reported finding less than
3 grams of marijuana (one tenth of an ounce, enough for 2 or 3
This fatal shooting of a suspected marijuana user is just the latest in a series of killings that have occurred over the last several years. These incidents have generally been ignored because the victims are accused of belonging to the one group in America -- suspected marijuana users -- whom it is apparently permissible to murder. These victims range from the multimillionaire Donald Scott, shot dead in 1992 at his estate near Malibu, to the disabled veteran Gary Shepard in the hills of Kentucky in 1994. In all three cases the children of the victims were present. Gary Shepard was killed by a small army as he stood next to his wife, who was grazed by a bullet, and his blood splattered on his four year old son. None of these victims were in any way a threat to anyone. Donald Scott did not even have any marijuana.
Media attention to these killings has ranged from slow to non-existent. Even the Donald Scott case, which seemed to have all the ingredients of a major news story -- money, intrigue and beautiful scenery -- was not covered for more than 90 days after the killing and was then quickly forgotten. The police involved were never disciplined. Gary Shepard was a poor man, a disabled Vietnam veteran who was crippled in Nixon's war in Asia and killed in Clinton's war in America. His killers are still on the job. It is unlikely that any action will be taken against whomever shot Bryant.
The media are looking for an action story with good pictures, so they find a bunch of "good ol' boys" playing soldier who say things ranging from the bizarre to the basic. Somehow it is considered dangerous rhetoric -- and therefore news -- when militia leaders say that they will defend themselves. However, NORML has been trying to get the media to look into the role of the National Guard in marijuana prohibition for over a year and a half. Our report quotes the head of the National Guard saying that their job is to make America drug-free "using any means necessary, no matter what the cost." (emphasis added)
Meanwhile, as the militias and their conservative allies focus on the shooting of the wife and son of the heavily armed white supremacist Randy Weaver in Idaho, they ignore the shootings of citizens who have been accused of having marijuana -- even when they did not have any pot at all. Of course, indifference to the killing of marijuana users is precisely what the mass media have in common with the militias and politicians. While the militias prepare for an invasion by the UN, the media are running around the country looking for heavily armed groups that are a threat to the rule of law. Both are missing the real danger: the involvement of the U. S. military in domestic law enforcement and the extension of unlimited power to the police under the guise of the "War on Drugs."
President Clinton has denounced the supposedly inflammatory rhetoric of his critics, but he ignored the statement last year by Thomas Constantine, the Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, that the "non-violent drug user is a myth." This is a blood libel that leads directly to the type of shooting that occurred in Wisconsin. Former Bush Administration drug policy advisor John Walters even mocked the suffering of imprisoned Oklahoma paraplegic Jimmy Montgomery when his case was reported by ABC television, saying, "Apparently ABC couldn't find a grandmother on death row for carrying a roach clip in her purse." Apparently, the minor technicality of a trial has been by-passed, execution first, verdict later. Could all of this be a clue as to why the people no longer trust their government and the media?
[For further information on the Scott Bryant case, call Wisconsin Governor, Tommy Thompson, at (608) 266-1212.]
GOOD NEWS! JIMMY MONTGOMERY TO BE FREED ON TUESDAY!
Thanks to the calls by the readers of these weekly reports, Jimmy Montgomery is expected to be released to "house arrest" next Tuesday. NORML will issue a special bulletin as soon as he is free. NORML salutes Governor Frank Keating, Michael Pearson of Oklahoma NORML, and all who have worked to end this injustice.
NORML And ACLU Attack Legitimacy Of Anaheim Law
April 28, Anaheim, In an well publicized
press conference, NORML and the Southern California American
Civil Liberties Union jointly announced that they have filed a
civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to
actively challenge Anaheim Ordinance No. 5396.
The controversial ordinance adds Sections 13.08.100.010 and 13.08.100.020 to the Anaheim Municipal Code and prohibits certain prior drug offenders from the right to use public parks for lawful purposes. This discriminatory legislation singles out specific individuals from the general public based solely upon their "criminal" history and forbids them from participating in the many recreational, aesthetic, cultural, associational, and other law abiding activities that generally take place in city parks. Moreover, the restrictive Anaheim ordinance remains in effect for three years after the sentence has been served. Consequently, an individual released from prison for marijuana cultivation in 1995 would be effectively denied access from entering and/or participating in any function taking place at a public park until the year 1998. Persons convicted of violating the ordinance face a maximum six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Both NORML and the ACLU charge that the Anaheim ordinance is unconstitutional. Specifically, the lawsuit, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) v. City of Anaheim (95-2813 AAH), asserts that the legislation directly violates NORML's right to free speech and assembly by precluding members and speakers with prior drug convictions from both attending and participating in a public rally for medical marijuana that is scheduled to take place in La Palma Park. The May 25th rally is being sponsored by NORML. The lawsuit contends that, "The absence of these NORML members from the rally will, [in turn,] deprive the NORML members who can attend of their right to associate with and exchange views with the absent members."
NORML maintains that the Anaheim ordinance will greatly diminish the force of NORML's message by disallowing several speakers from voicing their opinions on the need for medical marijuana. In addition, because the enforcement of Sections 13.08.100.010 and 13.08.100.020 of the Anaheim Municipal code threatens to exclude citizens who are non-members as well, NORML charges that the ordinance "interferes with NORML's ability to recruit new members and to reach the full audience it would otherwise be able to reach."
The joint lawsuit also alleges that the Anaheim ordinance violates the plaintiffs' right to petition the government for redress of grievances and the right to due process.
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is activist and medical marijuana patient, Craig McClain. Recently convicted for growing five cannabis plants at his home, McClain is one of NORML's scheduled speakers who is forbidden from entering La Palma Park by the ordinance.
In effect, "the Anaheim ordinance makes [McClain's] speech a crime," remarked ACLU Staff Attorney Mark Silverstein. "However well-intentioned, the...ordinance offers a false hope about combating serious crime. Measures like this let politicians off the hook, substituting phony rhetoric for measures that work."
The ACLU and NORML are asking for a preliminary injunction so that McClain and other plaintiffs can legally attend the rally on May 25.
[For more information regarding the lawsuit, please contact Mark Silverstein at Southern Cal. ACLU (213) 977-9500 x264 or Allen St. Pierre at NORML (202)483-5500.]
COUNTING DOWN: THE TEN MILLIONTH MARIJUANA ARREST SINCE 1965 WILL TAKE PLACE IN JULY OF THIS YEAR! MORE INFORMATION WILL BE AVAILABLE OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.
ALMOST 10 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965 ... ANOTHER EVERY 90 SECONDS!