Police Officers Who Support Pot Reform Risk Job Loss - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Police Officers Who Support Pot Reform Risk Job Loss

NEWYORKTIMES.COM - Border Patrol agents pursue smugglers one moment and sit around in boredom the next. It was during one of the lulls that Bryan Gonzalez, a young agent, made some comments to a colleague that cost him his career.

Stationed in Deming, N.M., Mr. Gonzalez was in his green-and-white Border Patrol vehicle just a few feet from the international boundary when he pulled up next to a fellow agent to chat about the frustrations of the job. If marijuana were legalized, Mr. Gonzalez acknowledges saying, the drug-related violence across the border in Mexico would cease. He then brought up an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition that favors ending the war on drugs.

Those remarks, along with others expressing sympathy for illegal immigrants from Mexico, were passed along to the Border Patrol headquarters in Washington. After an investigation, a termination letter arrived that said Mr. Gonzalez held "personal views that were contrary to core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication and esprit de corps."

After his dismissal, Mr. Gonzalez joined a group even more exclusive than the Border Patrol: law enforcement officials who have lost their jobs for questioning the war on drugs and are fighting back in the courts.

In Arizona, Joe Miller, a probation officer in Mohave County, near the California border, filed suit last month in Federal District Court after he was dismissed for adding his name to a letter by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which is based in Medford, Mass., and known as LEAP, expressing support for the decriminalization of marijuana.

"More and more members of the law enforcement community are speaking out against failed drug policies, and they don't give up their right to share their insight and engage in this important debate simply because they receive government paychecks," said Daniel Pochoda, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which is handling the Miller case.

Mr. Miller was one of 32 members of LEAP who signed the letter, which expressed support for a California ballot measure that failed last year that would have permitted recreational marijuana use. Most of the signers were retired members of law enforcement agencies, who can speak their minds without fear of action by their bosses. But Mr. Miller and a handful of others who were still on the job — including the district attorney for Humboldt County in California and the Oakland city attorney — signed, too.

LEAP has seen its membership increase significantly from the time it was founded in 2002 by five disillusioned officers. It now has an e-mail list of 48,000, and its members include 145 judges, prosecutors, police officers, prison guards and other law enforcement officials, most of them retired, who speak on the group's behalf. Click here to read more

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Gonzaga Official: Chick-Fil-A not coming to Spokane

    Gonzaga Official: Chick-Fil-A not coming to Spokane

    Sunday, August 19 2018 12:53 PM EDT2018-08-19 16:53:47 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The rumor that was quickly spread Saturday about a Chick-Fil-A franchise coming to Gonzaga University is false, according to a Gonzaga official. Mary Joan Hahn, the Senior Director of Community & Public Relations at Gonzaga, tells KHQ that this information is inaccurate. She wasn't able to explain how the information got out in the first place, but Gonzaga is looking into it.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - The rumor that was quickly spread Saturday about a Chick-Fil-A franchise coming to Gonzaga University is false, according to a Gonzaga official. Mary Joan Hahn, the Senior Director of Community & Public Relations at Gonzaga, tells KHQ that this information is inaccurate. She wasn't able to explain how the information got out in the first place, but Gonzaga is looking into it.

    >>
  • Defense DNA request denied in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

    Defense DNA request denied in deaths of Colorado mom, kids

    Saturday, August 18 2018 8:33 PM EDT2018-08-19 00:33:15 GMT

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado judge has denied a request by a defense attorney for a man accused of killing his wife and two daughters to require a coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the young girls. KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder reported the judge said in an order he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job. 

    >>

    FREDERICK, Colo. (AP) - A Colorado judge has denied a request by a defense attorney for a man accused of killing his wife and two daughters to require a coroner to collect DNA from the necks of the young girls. KMGH-TV and the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder reported the judge said in an order he would not tell the medical examiner's office involved in the case how to do its job. 

    >>
  • Air quality to worsen in Northwest as smoke returns

    Air quality to worsen in Northwest as smoke returns

    Forecasters are warning of unhealthy air parts of the Pacific Northwest as winds push smoke from surrounding wildfires into the region.>>
    Forecasters are warning of unhealthy air parts of the Pacific Northwest as winds push smoke from surrounding wildfires into the region.>>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/