Sid Delaplaine: Washington Police Railroading Medical Mairjuana Patient to Settle A Score?

Life in small town America has its perks, but things can get pretty damn iffy pretty damn quickly when you piss off the local cops.

Of course, that couldn’t be the reason Sid Delaplaine is facing a long prison sentence, could it?

Could it?

Piling On The Charges For Medical Marijuana

In October 2006, Vancouver, Washington medical marijuana patient Delaplaine grew 21 plants in his backyard (not in public view) for his annual supply of medicine. “I had already cut six of them; 15 were still growing,” he told me. The Vancouver Police Department raided his home and took all the plants, along with a couple of guns.

Delaplaine was charged with manufacturing and selling marijuana, with charges enhanced because of guns, even further enhanced because a school bus stop is in front of his house.

The harassment didn’t stop with the raid. “They’ve been dogging me for three years,” Delaplaine told me. “Every time the cops have had an opportunity to come to my house and roust me, they did.”

Vengeance Is Mine, Sayeth The Cop

Sid Delaplaine’s daughter used to be a dispatcher with the Vancouver, Washington Police Department. She loved her job. And it bothered her a lot when she noticed back in 2006 that calls for help from one of the officers, a native of India named Navin Sharma, somehow seemed to result in a certain lack of response from the other officers.

Surely such nasty racial prejudice wouldn’t exist among members of the esteemed police force of Vancouver. But then, there it was. When Officer Sharma called in, sometimes the other officers just wouldn’t respond at all.

Trying to do the right thing, Delaplaine’s daughter reported what she’d observed to internal affairs. But her confidence was broken by one or more officers, and soon she found herself blackballed.

Despite becoming the victim of what looks a lot like a case of blaming the messenger by the Vancouver PD, Delaplaine’s daughter’s testimony helped Officer Sharma eventually win a settlement of $1.65 million in September 2008. Sharma said he faced discrimination and retaliation after he won an earlier settlement from the city. His attorneys said the city seized upon minor mistakes Sharma made on drunken driving reports as a pretext for firing him.

Not surprisingly, California consulting firm Matrix, recently hired (to the tune of $46,440) by the Vancouver PD, told them they have a significant problems with poor morale, inadequate communication, organizational dysfunction and labor-management unrest. The consulting firm reached these conclusions after a four-month study of the department, focusing on its internal affairs and disciplinary processes.

In employee surveys conducted as part of the study, a miniscule 5 percent of respondents within the Vancouver PD said there was a “positive organizational culture” in the department.

Not surprisingly, lawsuits, arbitrator rulings and internal investigations have had a negative effect on the department, the consultants concluded. “Morale is poor,” said Brown Taylor, a Matrix consultant and former police chief himself (Los Altos and Mountain View, CA). The scandal-plagued department has gone through nine police chiefs in the past 19 years.

Rather than accepting the obvious findings of the consultants, apologizing, and promising to do better, the police union reacted with suspicion and hostility. “With the current climate we have, without us trusting the administration, guild members aren’t convinced that it would lead to a fairer process,” said Ryan Martin, president of the Vancouver Police Officers Guild. “We can’t trust they will make the appropriate decisions anyway. So why would we give up a right that protects our members?”

There now, that’s a great, productive attitude to have, Officer Martin. Good to see you’re more concerned with protecting misbehaving cops than, you know, being held accountable and stuff!

Chris Sutter, assistant chief for administration in Vancouver, said the department started a working group in 2008 to examine these issues, but quickly ran into opposition from the union. “They have been very reluctant to recommend any changes,” Sutter told the Columbian newspaper. “In fact,” added Police Chief Cliff Cook, “they won’t put anything in writing.”

…….

So there you have a brief summary of the Vancouver police officers’ “constructive” reactions to criticism.

Now, just because one brave young dispatcher helped to expose racism, cronyism and corruption in the local police department, that wouldn’t result in what looks a lot like vindictive, petty retaliatory actions from the cops themselves, would it?

Would it?

What You Can Do

Seattle activist attorney Douglas Hiatt is taking on Sid Delaplaine’s case pro bono. But as the upcoming trial is in Vancouver, he and a couple more volunteer attorneys will have to spend the time (probably a week or more) in a hotel and will incur considerable expenses.

Hiatt needs our help in meeting and defraying those expenses; his goal is to raise $5,000 to ensure that Sid Delaplaine receives a fair trial with the best defense possible.

Please send what you can; anything helps:

Douglas Hiatt
3161 Elliott Ave., Suite 340
Seattle, WA 98121

If you’d rather contribute online, you can donate to the anti-Drug War group The November Coalition.

Be sure to include a note with your donation that it is intended for Douglas Hiatt, and the money will go towards defending Sidney Delaplaine:

Donate to Douglas Hiatt via November.org
Posted by ?~alapoet~? at 2:59 PM
Labels: Medical Cannabis, Medical Marijuana, vancouver, washington

Comments

2 Comments

  1. gstlab3 on

    I CAN SEE THE SAME THINGS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BOARDER.,IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE IN THE UNITED STATES OR CANADA OR GREAT BRITIAN.,THE SMALL TOWNS ARE MOST SUSPECT TO THE GOOD OLD BOYS SYNDROME AND THE NEPOTISM AND OLD FASHIONED CRONYISM., IF YOU ARE A POWER BROKER IN THE BIG CITY OR SMALL TOWN ANYWHERE YOU STAND A BETTER CHANCE OF GETTING OFF WITH A SLAP ON THE WRIST AND PUBLIC HUMILLIATION AS YOUR PUNISHMENT.,BUT IF YOU ARE JOE OR JANE AVERAGE WITH NO MONEY OR POLITICAL TIES YOU GET THE JAIL AND THE HARRASSMENT AND ALL THE FINES AND FEES THEY CAN MUSTER AGAINST YOU. IT IS NOT FAIR AND IT IS MOST CERTAINLY AGAINST THE LAWS OF EQUAL JUSTICE AND PROTECTIONS UNDER THE LAW. THE ONLY SAVING GRACE MAY BE THE INTERNET AND THE INSTANT COMMUNICATION IT BRINGS THE COMMON MAN. THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IS A HUMAN INSTICTUAL BEHAIOR THAT PROMOTES SAFETY IN NUMBERS BY KEEPING THE PARTICULAR POWERS IN THAT GROUP AND ALL OUTSIDERS ARE TREATED WITH DISRESPECT AND HARSH PUNISHMENT FOR BREAKING THE STATUS QUOE. IT IS ONE WAY TO KEEP THE TRIBE IN ORDER AS IT WERE. WE MUST GATHER OUR TRIBE AND FIGHT THESE ABUSES OF POWER AT ALL TIMES AND PLACES AROUND THE FREE WORLD!!!!!

  2. Ban Ki Moon on

    Serious change needs to happen at all levels of law enforcement. As the ecomomy dwindles and people get restless and angry, it will come as no suprise when a revolt happens. whether major or minor, the result will be deadly. Corruption runs wild as police seem to only PROTECT their interests AND SERVE Their masters. This is why there is a Second Ammendment, to protect the people from Lawless, Unconstitutional Governments. I in no way shape or form promote the use of violence to acheive freedom, but all is fair in love and WAR.