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How Much Longer Will The American People Be Subjected To Paramilitary Narcotics Task Force Raids




May 19, 2010

by Brad Forrester


How is it possible that in the United States of America, masked mercs can forcibly enter homes, damage and steal personal property, traumatize innocent bystanders, and do so with legal protection of our judicial system? If this were happening in any other country, Americans would recognize it as terrorism!


Numerous incidents in the past 12 months, many here in this state, have mandated a review of these government funded terror groups and the federal agency that provides the bulk of their funding, the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The victims of these civil rights meltdowns are not hardened narcotics traffickers, they are students and mayors, and sadly little girls. They are our family, friends, and neighbors, and our elected officials owe it to all of us to review those policies that have a detrimental effect on the society.


But who will be brave enough to answer that call? It clear, prosecutors and the judicial system support law enforcement, that’s who keeps them supplied with customers. The politicians continue funding them because they understand the law enforcement community is organized and (mis)informed, and most importantly they consistently vote. Politically, it’s safer to upset the cannabis consumers who have little organization or ability to effect elections than it is to upset a known voting block.


The only clear way to stop these raids on peaceful cannabis consumers and medical marijuana patients is to take direct action through the ballot initiative process. In Detroit, Safer Detroit, a group led by Tim Beck, has gathered the required number of signatures to have a decriminalization proposal placed on the Detroit ballot in November. Only by decriminalizing cannabis statewide can we place limits on the ability of task force goon squads to traumatize and victimize non-violent cannabis consumers, and circumvent our public servants don’t have the will to make changes.


I encourage all voters to not vote for any candidate for governor in November. The number of signatures required to get an initiative on the 2011 (or 2012) ballot is 8% of the total votes the governor receives in this years election, and we will have a new governor in November. Let’s keep the total votes for governor as low as possible to minimize the task of collecting signatures for a decrim bill in the future.


And it is the future we must work towards. Our community may be fractured at the moment, but it is a thriving community, growing and changing daily like a year old toddler just learning to stand. We may be drawn in different directions right now, but when it counts, I believe this community will rally around the directives of it’s leaders and support the efforts required for change of this magnitude. A wise man once said:


"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction." - John F. Kennedy


Please support the Detroit group, SaferDetroit.net Maybe Tim Beck will parley a win in Detroit into a statewide movement that will help protect peaceful and productive cannabis consumers, and limit the ability of federally funded illegal drug cops from destroying the lives and futures of cannabis consumers. I also urge you to email a copy of the letter below to Senators Levin and Stebanow, and other elected officials so they get the message that paramilitary forces are not required to arrest peaceful cannabis consumers.





Honorable Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stebanow,


I am writing you today to bring your attention to a disturbing problem in the law enforcement community that needs to be addressed by Michigan’s next Attorney General. The use of paramilitary-style narcotics task forces to effect warrants on cannabis consumers, and low-level cannabis distributors is an unnecessary use of such a powerful law enforcement resource. These resources must be reserved for the most violent and dangerous members of society. Cannabis consumers and growers are far from that.


Within the past 12 months, task forces in this state have shot a student in Grand Rapids, raided the legal medical cannabis gardens of numerous licensed patients and caregivers, and siphoned off scarce community resources that could be better used to offer treatment options to real narcotics addicts.


Cannabis consumers are peaceful and contributing members of our society and do not deserve to have mercenaries invading their homes or traumatizing innocent victims and bystanders. I know you’re proud to bring home funding to retain officers, but the proliferation of these forces have exceeded their demand for services. Michigan crime is at it’s lowest levels in decades, taking good local cops and retraining them to employ paramilitary tactics on American citizens is nothing short of tyranny, and a very poor use of taxpayer resources.


I request that a thorough review of Michigan State Police task force procedures be conducted by the next Attorney General of Michigan. Additionally, new guidelines must be drafted and implemented to educate command and force about Michigan’s medical marijuana law, MCL 333.26421 et seq. Inconsistent application of enforcement between posts, and a lack of written medical marijuana policy by MSP command has left county and local forces, those forces who comprise task force members, confused about what to do when they encounter persons with marijuana who may be legal medical marijuana patients or caregivers.


Pressure on our next Attorney General from Michigan’s senators will help end the nightmare scores of good cannabis consuming people face each day when masked task force soldiers invade a neighborhood home to thwart an allegedly dangerous narcotics trafficker. I beg you to reserve this force for the truly violent offenders who prey on a society that includes many upstanding people who also consume cannabis. It’s incumbent on the Attorney General and the Michigan State Police to help Michigan’s medical cannabis community to stay lawful. The victims who have had dreadful encounters with these forces deserve your earnest action.



(Put Your Name Here)


Contact Levin ~ http://levin.senate.gov/contact/

Contact Stebanow ~ http://stabenow.senate.gov/email.cfm



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I wish we could all stand together on this issue, it is so important that we put an end to this military style behavior.

I wonder how many cops in Michigan were gunned down as compared to citizens being accidentally shot by police.

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UPDATE... our message is resonating!!!


From the Detroit Free Press




Conyers calls for Justice to investigate shooting


Posted: 12:07 p.m. May 19, 2010




WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Conyers asked the nation’s top law enforcement official today to investigate “a disturbing wave of violence” in Detroit highlighted by the shooting death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a police raid.


Conyers, a Detroit Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee which oversees the U.S. Department of Justice, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder saying it’s “imperative that we take all possible steps to calm the situation, reassure the community that their safety is a national priority and lessen the chance of future bloodshed.”


He said while Michigan State Police are investigating the incident, only the Justice Department – which Holder runs – “has the resources, the expertise and the independence to give this case the close scrutiny that the citizens of Detroit deserve.”


Holder’s office did not immediately respond. Detroit police already are under a long-standing federal consent decree for use-of-force issues.


In his letter, Conyers cited reports that the raid was filmed by a TV crew from the A&E Network for a program which has featured Detroit police in the past and openly wondered if that may have played a role in the girl’s tragic death during the raid.


“This raises the question whether police tactics may have been influenced by the presence of film cameras, and whether the SRT’s (Special Response Team) publicity efforts may have increased the risks associated with the raid,” Conyers said in the letter to Holder.


Conyers also said “paramilitary-type police raids” are becoming more frequent and asked if Holder would investigate their use nationwide and report back to the Judiciary Committee on “the effectiveness and appropriateness of these tactics.”




This story also appeared:



Southfield couple suing cops over raid tactics at home


Posted: May 19, 2010





Leonid and Arlene Marmelshtein were sitting down to dinner when the Southfield cops burst into their home in December 2004 looking for marijuana.


After battering down their front door, the cops tossed in two flash-bang grenades and knocked Leonid Marmelshtein, a 69-year-old Russian immigrant, to the ground.


Today, the couple is suing the Southfield Police Department and 10 officers who took part in the raid, alleging use of excessive force in storming their house and terrorizing them.


The U.S. District Court case focuses on the use of the flash-bang devices, like the one used in Sunday morning's raid in Detroit in which 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was fatally shot when a police officer's gun discharged.


A lawyer in the Stanley-Jones case filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the girl's family.


The Marmelshteins' lawyer, William Goodman of Detroit, said Sunday's incident has prompted the Detroit chapter of the National Lawyers Guild to study the use of flash-bang devices to protect Detroit-area residents and safeguard their civil rights.


"Flash-bang devices are explosives, and the police should use a lot of care before deploying them," Goodman said.


Goodman said the Southfield Police Department uses them routinely without any training, placing citizens at risk. He said he thinks other Detroit-area police departments are doing the same thing.


A lawyer for the Southfield Police Department disputed that.


"To say there isn't any training is absolutely false," attorney T. Joseph Seward of Livonia said Tuesday.


And the use of the flash-bang grenades in the Marmelshtein raid was "entirely appropriate," he said.


But a federal judge disagreed.


"No reasonable law enforcement officer would have considered a confused elderly couple to be capable of producing the kind of tense and rapidly evolving uncertain situation which would require 10 police officers to make split-second decisions, including the use of two flash-bang devices," U.S. District Judge Julian Cook said in September in refusing Southfield's request to dismiss the suit.


The city has appealed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.


Southfield cops began investigating the couple after neighbors complained about traffic at the home, suspecting drug trafficking. A check of their trash yielded traces of marijuana, so police got a search warrant.


Police said they burst into the house after the couple refused to answer the door.


In the moments that followed, the husband was knocked to the ground. Goodman says he was punched and kicked, which police deny.


Goodman said police found a few crumbs of marijuana in an adult son's sock drawer.


Police charged Marmelshtein with obstructing and assaulting the police and disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. A judge took the plea under advisement and dismissed the charge a year later.


Contact DAVID ASHENFELTER: dashenfelter@freepress.com

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