DRE drug scandal: City of Minneapolis denies involvement as outstate officers take heat

With news breaking yesterday that an officer has reported seeing a Hutchinson state trooper give pot to a Drug Recognition Expert program participant, Minneapolis officials are again disavowing any connection to the fiasco.

Wednesday afternoon, Mayor RT Rybak took to Facebook and issued a statement about the scandal. He writes that he "never could have imagined that something like this would happen in Minneapolis, or that it would happen without consulting the mayor and police chief. It's just plain wrong."

Rybak's statement comes days after Police Chief Tim Dolan denied that Minneapolis police had any knowledge about the alleged drug distributing being done by outstate officers. If it turns out to be true that officers from out-of-town agencies were giving drugs to Peavey Plaza protestors, Dolan said he and other MPD officials would "probably have an issue with that."

Assuming Rybak and Dolan are telling the truth and Minneapolis isn't involved in the DRE drug scandal, the picture that emerges is one of country-bumpkin officers coming to Minneapolis for training, then doling out pot to young people they pick up downtown. But why in God's name would outstate officers do such an inexplicable thing?

In a summary of their findings, the journalists who put together the video report outlining the drug allegations say they believe young people hanging out near Peavey Plaza were targeted because getting them intoxicated is a way for authorities  to "discredit and disrupt the Occupy movement." But why would outstate officers give a rip about discrediting an Occupy movement only active in large cities like Minneapolis?

This unnamed Hutchinson officer came to Minneapolis to participate in the scandal-ridden DRE program.
This unnamed Hutchinson officer came to Minneapolis to participate in the scandal-ridden DRE program.

It doesn't seem to add up, but perhaps state troopers like Hutchinson's Nick Otterson -- Otterson, according to the Star Tribune, is the trooper who is now on paid leave and the subject of a criminal investigation after a colleague reported he gave pot to a DRE participant -- simply did what they did because they thought getting Occupy protesters high was amusing and figured they wouldn't get caught. No Minneapolis officers are depicted as DRE participants at any point during the 35-minute video outlining the drug allegations, lending a bit of credence to Rybak and Dolan's disavowals.

On the other hand, in light of yesterday's news about Otterson and the suspension of the DRE program, it's interesting to note that a Hutchinson officer indeed makes an appearance in the video report. At about the 16-minute mark of the film, Occupy activist Forest Olivier is shown getting into a Chisago County police car. But the officer talking with Olivier as he crawls into the backseat is an unnamed Hutchinson police officer.

Olivier, escorted into a squad car by the Hutchinson officer, returns downtown and says he's "so fucking high."EXPAND
Olivier, escorted into a squad car by the Hutchinson officer, returns downtown and says he's "so fucking high."

As Olivier settles into the backseat, the Hutchinson officer is shown removing an empty bag of McDonald's food from the car, the contents presumably consumed by an previous passenger. Earlier in the video, a young man who identifies himself as Panda said officers bought him a McDonald's cheeseburger on his way back downtown after he got "high as fuck" smoking weed cops gave him at the MnDOT testing facility in Richfield. Olivier gives a thumbs up as the Chicago County squad car leaves downtown to take him to Richfield for another round of "testing."

In the next scene, Olivier is back downtown after being returned from Richfield by police. "I'm so fucking high right now," Olivier says, adding that police didn't test him after all. "They just smoked us up this time," Olivier says. He's then seen on top of a large sign near Peavey Plaza sitting 15 feet above the sidewalk, swinging his arms and legs, having climbed up there while stoned out of his mind after smoking what he describes as "an entire bag of weed."

Previous coverage:
-- Police did indeed give Occupiers free pot, new evidence suggests; DRE program suspended
-- State Patrol: "No evidence" officers gave Occupy-ers drugs
-- State patrol "looking into" Occupy drug allegations; Mpls police claim no involvement
-- Minnesota police giving Peavey Plaza Occupy-ers drugs as part of impairment study, report says [VIDEO]

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