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Parents Of Autistic Teen Entrapped By Undercover Narcotics Operation File Lawsuit

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cops law enforcement special needs students entrapmentLawsuit Highlights Cruel Practices and Ineffectiveness of Undercover Narcotics Operations in Schools

The parents of a 17-year-old special needs student arrested in an undercover police operation announced today they are suing the school district that authorized the operation. The student, who suffers from a range of disabilities, was falsely befriended by a police officer who repeatedly asked the boy to provide him drugs. After more than three weeks, 60 text messages and repeated hounding by the officer, the student was able to buy half a joint from a homeless man he then gave to his new – and only – “friend,” who had given him twenty dollars weeks before. He did it once again before refusing to accommodate the officer, at which point the officer broke off all ties with the child. Shortly thereafter, the student was arrested in school in front of his classmates as part of a sting that nabbed 22 students in all, many of them children with special needs.

“Our son is permanently scarred from the abuse he suffered. Right now, our focus is on him, and our entire family,” commented Catherine and Doug Snodgrass, the boy’s parents, who are suing the Temecula Valley Unified School District, Director of Child Welfare and Attendance Michael Hubbard and Director of Special Education Kimberly Velez for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other charges. They hope that this suit will send a message to schools around the country that these raids will not be tolerated.

“What we have witnessed here is the polar opposite of good policing and an example of how the drug war skews the priorities of law enforcement officers. There was no crime here until the police coerced a special needs student into committing one. They didn’t lessen the amount of drugs available and they didn’t provide help to any students who may have had a legitimate problem. Instead, they diminished the life prospects of everyone they came into contact with. As a parent, as a retired police officer, as a human being, this outrages me,” remarked LAPD Deputy Chief Stephen Downing (Ret.), who now speaks on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the drug war.

The LAPD stopped using undercover stings in schools in 2005 after a review suggested police were targeting special needs children and that operations were ineffective at reducing the availability of drugs in schools. A Department of Justice study would later confirm the finding that such operations do little to affect the supply of drugs.

“Sending police and informants to entrap high-school students is sick,” said Tony Newman, director of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance. “We see cops seducing 18-year-olds to fall in love with them or befriending lonely kids and then tricking them into getting them small amounts of marijuana so they can stick them with felonies. We often hear that we need to fight the drug war to protect the kids. As these despicable examples show, more often the drug war is ruining young people’s lives and doing way more harm than good.”

The Snodgrass family has set up a legal fund to help end undercover drug stings in school. Go to: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-snodgrass-legal-fund.

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Johnny Green

18 Comments

  1. this is disgusting! im autistic, I smoke weed every day, yet I own my own company and get by very well with life! people need to realise that these drugs are not bad!!! I feel so sorry for this boy, he should not have gone through this and was obviously bullied! disgraceful people! give me a joint over a beer anyday these cops need to get there priorities sorted out jesus christ

  2. This makes me soooo angry!!!!! I had a sister with special needs and it was 30 years ago that she passed away but i remember the people who harassed her and people who tried even back then who tried to get her medications. Including some teachers. I feel so angry on your behalf and for anyone who has a special needs child, sibling, friend.

  3. That sounds painful (but may be necessary). (Do the TWC guys get irritated when we talk back and forth on disqus like this?)

  4. This didn’t happen in a backwater despotry like Oklahoma or Louisiana. This happened in California where it is supposedly decriminalized. I’ve read pathetic posts on many mj sites from Californians bragging how they want to keep the “almost illegal” status quo. I remember some of the dispensaries and growers campaigning against legalization in 2010 and celebrating the fact that it failed. Ask this poor unfortunate family how this “almost illegal” black/grey market “all medical use only” charade is working out.

  5. How low must these ‘jerks’ go. Instead of ‘busting’ these ‘horrid’ children, lol, they, los puercos, should concentrate on the ‘chesters running rampant’ . But nooooo, they go for the easy busts.. Ratas!!!

  6. Marijuana users are a relatively safe and easy bust for lazy cops who want to pad their arrest stats for more funding, equipment and to hold up and crow how they are protecting the public, Its the new police agenda : If you can’t find criminals then manufacture them.

  7. lol undercover sting operations for pot in schools..the boys in blue must be bored or looking to make an easy arrest.Our society as a whole will never advance until things like this stop.terrorist groups and numerous other threats should be at the top of our list.no matter how hard the police try weed will still be as easy ciggarettes to get.spending money on a loosing war and targeting a kid over half a joint.there was no crime the kid busted wasnt even A DEALER.

  8. Not realy.. This wasn’t a criminal gang… he forced a person who has a hard time telling the difference to buy HIM drugs… He also admits doing it… So the cop would have had drugs on him which is illegal that he bought off someone that has no ties to any gangs.. So why wasn’t the cop arrested for possesion…(Still dont know maybe the kid was involved in someway but doubt it)

    They cant break the law to enforce it otherwise laws is usless and we are able to break it

  9. Good, make them pay. I still think that the police officer in this case should be brought up with charges for allowing, if not enabling for illegal substances to be brought into school property. Use their prohibion against them!

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