Best Scandal (2013)

DRE Drug Scandal

The DRE scandal might sound like something out of  The Wire, but sometimes truth is just as strange as fiction. Last spring, a documentary video produced by local activists and uploaded to YouTube alleged state troopers were giving pot to Occupy protesters hanging out around downtown Minneapolis's Peavey Plaza in exchange for participating in the State Patrol's Drug Recognition Expert program. That sounded far-fetched to some — after all, why in God's name would cops risk their jobs by doing such a thing? — but before long a trooper came forward and said he'd in fact witnessed his training partner smoke someone up. Months of investigation followed, with the picture that ultimately emerged being one of country bumpkin troopers coming to the strange and unfamiliar city for DRE training and cutting all sorts of corners. In some cases, they traveled to poor parts of Minneapolis and used ganja, cigarettes, and McDonald's as an enticement for participation because, after all, how else do you get folks walking along Franklin Avenue in the evening hours to hop in a squad car willingly? In the end, it became clear that the design and oversight of the DRE program was fundamentally flawed, and it was suspended. In other words, folks hanging out at Peavey Plaza this spring will have to find a different hookup.


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