The publication of a video on YouTube stating that Occupy protesters in Minnesota have been given drugs by police officers has caused authorities to open a criminal investigation.
So far at least one Minnesota state trooper has been put on paid leave, as law enforcement officials investigate allegations that police officers visited Occupy Wall Street encampments in Minnesota and gave free drugs to protesters.
The video was made by independent journalists and filmmakers in the state. They interviewed members of the local Occupy movement who say they have been offered drugs by police officers.
Apparently protesters who opt in to the program are given the drugs for free and the police, in turn, monitor the effects of the drugs. Some protesters say they've been rewarded for offering to snitch on the movement.
Allegedly this is all part of the police run Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program.
The allegations were brought up at a Minneapolis City Council meeting on Wednesday regarding a resolution to ban overnight use of plazas. The video focuses on Occupy Minnesota protesters who were picked up at Peavey Plaza on Nicollet Mall.
"We’re aware of the video and the allegations made by individuals in the video and we’re looking into it," said Lt. Eric Roeske, a spokesman for the Minnesota State Patrol.
According to Dan Feidt, an independent journalist interviewed by RT in the video below, “The sheriff is getting people to do drugs and then they drop you back off at the plaza.”
“They are trying to practice how to start getting information out of people; How to start rewarding them to give information,” he adds.
Once Feidt started his investigation, others began to step up and demand answers.
“Essentially, we kind of think that one thing that may have happened is an officer in a rural town called Hutchinson was encouraged to step forward and talk to his police chief about seeing a state trooper handing out marijuana to DRE [Drug Recognition Expert] subjects. And as soon as that happened, his police chief talked to the state level Department of Public Safety, they started having an official investigation, they had to announce it, and that finally get the local media rolling on the whole thing,” Feidt says.
At first reports were dismissed by some police outlets. However, a state trooper has since been put on paid leave. Other officials understand that people, whether OWS or not, are demanding a thorough investigation into the situation.
Feidt continued, "It seems like the mayor is really feeling the heat and kind of laying low out of this program. They are trying to spin what happened, they are trying to blame it on a couple of rogue officers, and they still aren’t addressing the ethical issues, the medical safety issues, all those other things. They are just trying to peg it on a couple of people and hope that everybody keeps moving on.”
While the story seems far-fetched to some, Feidt has documentary evidence to back up the story and media outlets are picking up the story worldwide.
Besides the moral and ethical dilemmas that arise from this, Feidt also questions the safety problems that could come from this.
“Was this laced with something?” he asks. “People are in danger if they are being offered contaminated drugs.”
“It is starting to really prompt discussion about the war on drugs,” he says.