Victoria Police Muzzle Cop’s Free Speech on Drugs

CANNABIS CULTURE – A police officer who supports the legalization of marijuana was barred from speaking at a harm reduction conference by the Victoria Police Department.

David Bratzer, an active-duty Victoria, British Columbia policeman who is part of the anti-prohibition group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), was planning to speak about his views at a city-sponsored drug policy and harm reduction conference on Wednesday, March 3.

“Even though the event is scheduled outside of his regular work hours, management from the Victoria Police Department, without Bratzer’s knowledge, informed city staff that he was being withdrawn from speaking,” a LEAP press release states. “Then on February 24, a senior officer at the department directly ordered Bratzer not to participate in the event.”

“I will not be attending this event,” Bratzer said, “but I would like to thank the City of Victoria for the invitation to be part of an honest and open discussion about harm reduction. I will try to find other venues to present my views about drug policy.”

Bratzer has spoken about his views at a number of drug policy venues, including delivering testimony to the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Ottawa, and has, according to LEAP, “always taken pains to state that his opinions are his own and do not reflect the views of his employer”.

“We feel that because he works in this community as a police officer and he is a very public figure, that it would be confusing to have him speaking about his views on social policy,” Sgt. Grant Hamilton of the Victoria Police said in an interview with A Channel News.

After learning of attempts to muzzle the officer, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) filed a complaint with the Victoria Police Board.

“In light of this allegation, the BCCLA is concerned that the Victoria Police Department is taking an unduly punitive and anti-free speech position without justification,” the BCCLA said in a press release. “Where an off-duty communication by a member is a critique or endorsement of government or department policy, and is not stated or implied in that communication that the member is unable or unwilling to enforce the law impartially and according to his or her statutory and professional duties, it is inappropriate for a police department to interfere with that communication.”

“The voices of front-line officers who are charged with enforcing the drug laws are incredibly important to the public debate on drug policy issues,” said LEAP’s executive director Jack Cole, who is a retired narcotics detective. “Preventing an officer from sharing his firsthand perspective about the harms of our current drug laws with policymakers is a disservice to the entire democratic process.”

Add your support for law enforcers’ rights to free speech by signing LEAP’s online petition for Bratzer.

Go to the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition website.



  1. Medicinal Mike on

    What double standard!!! How many times have we heard some top cop spout off about keeping the war going and how well they are doing at it. When a fellow officer wants to give his opinion off duty,They FORCE him to comply. We have no freedom anymore. The logical extension of this is there will be a big tipping point in the war and it will end suddenly almost overnight. That little corgi dog getting shot may be one of those tipping points. The abuses and the cops being suspended with out pay or let go from the force for using excessive force will finally catch up with them. Once the bad thugs are drained from the police stations, they will then have to work their asses off for several decades to EVER be trusted. That means all police that have EVER been involved in busting someone for drugs will be scrutinized for the rest of their lives. Only Police Officers that come out after the war is stopped will even have a chance at regaining trust. That is the big cost we pay in this war on drugs ( and drug users), the lost of trust in our elected officals and police. Corruption is the direct result of prohibition.

  2. Chucky Treez on

    I think this is a total violation of his rights. If he isnt in a uniform, and is clear that these are his personal opinion, there should be no problem with him speaking. This is yet another example of our Government trying to keep they little guy down. How many more people have to get their rights violated until someone in Ottawa steps in makes things right? I’m ashamed to be a canadaian when I see this in the news.

  3. Anonymous on

    Question…Well maybe 2.

    Did They not have a grandpa fight Adolf and the Nazis?

    And if so,why are they continuing the work of communism?

    Bonus/Kudos for the cop who wants to speak out,Keep up the pressure.

  4. Bud on

    I see they sport the “Stars & Bars” on their uniform insignia. It’s a wonder you haven’t heard from the Deep South yet. LMAO

  5. Anonymous on

    so then why are cops allowed to even go out in public to do anti-drugs speaking events?


  6. Anonymous on

    Wrong “Victoria” on your police badge photo.

  7. Pedro on

    Jamie Graham is at it again!

  8. Anonymous on

    f…… cops ! Just shut up !