Judge considering if cops infringed on Occupy protesters' rights by allegedly giving them pot

Cops definitely didn't violate their Right to Party.
Cops definitely didn't violate their Right to Party.

If you like to smoke pot and somebody gives you some, it's nothing to complain about, right?

THE BACKSTORY: The City Pages' DRE scandal series

That's essentially the argument being made by defense attorneys representing police in a lawsuit filed by Occupy Minneapolis protesters who say their rights were violated when cops allegedly gave them pot as part of the State Patrol's Drug Recognition Expert program.

In a February press release summarizing the lawsuit, representatives of the protesters wrote, "The two-count Complaint alleges that these defendants designed and implemented a pernicious human research experiment exposing young people from minority and/or disadvantaged backgrounds to various illegal drugs in an effort use these individuals as human guinea pigs for the benefit of law enforcement."

"The experiment, of course, had no scientific or forensic validity, and could never have been approved as competent human research," the release continues. "But not only was the experiment unethical by design, the defendants conducted their research without the informed consent of the human subjects, thus violating the most essential ethical requirements which form the basis of our laws and regulations governing human subject research."

But during a Monday hearing about a defense motion to dismiss the lawsuit, lawyers representing State Patrol officers argued that the protesters' allegations are overblown and pointed out that some of them volunteered to serve as DRE subjects more than once. From the Pioneer Press:

A lawyer arguing on behalf of most of the defendants said there was no injury and that the protesters volunteered.

"They voluntarily got into police cars and left," Jason Hiveley told [the judge]. He said there was no proof the subjects were targeted because they were protesters...

"These individuals agreed to the use of marijuana," Hiveley told [the judge]. "It just doesn't reach the level of a constitutional violation."

Despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary, attorneys representing State Patrol officers haven't conceded that any officers actually gave protesters pot.

Federal Judge Franklin Noel has yet to rule on whether the lawsuit can proceed. Representatives of the Occupy protesters are seeking more than $1 million in damages. Meanwhile, DRE training for Minnesota officers is now being conducted in California, the Star Tribune reports.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]

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