Police did indeed give Occupiers free pot, new evidence suggests; DRE program suspended

It appears at least one officer did give pot to Peavey Plaza Occupiers.
It appears at least one officer did give pot to Peavey Plaza Occupiers.

Last Thursday, we told you about explosive allegations made by a new video report -- that state patrol officers and county deputies have been giving drugs to young people hanging out near Peavey Plaza as part of the State Patrol's Drug Recognition Expert program.

Later that day, Eric Roeske, State Patrol public information officers, said, "there's been no evidence or no information that has been presented to us that would substantiate any of the allegations." It now appears he spoke too soon.

In a press release issued earlier today, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman announced that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has launched a criminal investigation into allegations that a Hutchinson police officer provided marijuana to a DRE program participant last week.

According to the release, an officer from another law enforcement agency witnessed the activity. The witnessing officer, also a DRE participant, then reported the exchange to the Minnesota State Patrol.

Dohman also announced the immediate suspension of the DRE program, which has been ongoing in Minnesota since 1991. The program is intended to provide officers with intoxication-recognition training so they can surmise what substances have been used by intoxicated people encountered in the line of duty.

"Training law enforcement officers to detect drug impairment helps to keep our roads safe, but we need to ensure that all participants follow guidelines and operate within the law," Dohman said. "I have suspended the drug recognition evaluator training pending the outcome of these investigations and until we revisit and review the curriculum for the program."

In summation, it appears there is at least some fire under the billowing cloud of smoke created by the video report, which is the work of local independent media activists and members of Communities United Against Police Brutality.

Previous coverage:
-- 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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