Vice Squad
Friday, April 30, 2004
Cracking Down on Canadian Tourists Who Look Like They Might Be Marijuana Smokers

OK, Vice Squad comes late to this story, which was mentioned by Last One Speaks a couple days ago. But having just read the account in this week's Drug War Chronicle, I can't resist passing along an excerpt:

"Dehler and Gudz were sitting eating a bagel in Cooper Square Park in Manhattan's Lower East Side when they were set upon by undercover narcs who claimed they were smoking marijuana. They were not, said Dehler and Gudz, only having lunch before a trip to the Museum of Modern Art, when two scruffy looking men in civilian clothes rushed them, yelling something about smoking marijuana. Thinking they were being mugged, Gudz screamed for help. According to Dehler, the undercover cops punched him in the face and threw him to the ground. Although no marijuana was found, both Gudz and Dehler were arrested and jailed at the 9th Precinct for nearly 24 hours.

"I got brought in front of this big bull sergeant who looks at me and says, 'Do you like to fight with cops up in Canada?' I said, 'I don't know what's going on. I'm willing to apologize to the arresting officer,'" Dehler told the Ottawa Citizen. "He interrupts me and says: 'If that was me arresting you, you would be in the hospital right now.' He said, 'Take him in the back and strip search him and give him the whole nine yards.'"

The NYPD strip-searched Dehler and Gudz and repeatedly blocked their efforts to contact friends, family, or attorneys, Dehler said, but a good Samaritan who witnessed the encounter contacted the Canadian consulate. Gudz was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing justice, while Dehler was charged with attempted assault, resisting arrest, harassment and disorderly conduct. All the charges have since been dropped, but the couple is out $5,000 in legal expenses and has, for good reason, developed a jaundiced view of the Big Apple and the United States."

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