State Patrol "looking into" Occupy drug allegations; Mpls police claim no involvement

The State Patrol's DRE program is under fire after a new report alleged officers gave Occupiers drugs.
The State Patrol's DRE program is under fire after a new report alleged officers gave Occupiers drugs.

Earlier today we told you about the explosive allegation 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 an impairment study.

Early this afternoon, City Pages spoke with Eric Roeske, State Patrol public information officer. Roeske said the State Patrol was "made aware of the video this morning," adding that his agency is "looking into" the allegations.

Meanwhile, at a news conference today, Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan said Minneapolis city officers weren't involved in the State Patrol-administered Drug Recognition Expert program.

"We looked at the allegations but there was nothing involving Minneapolis Police," Dolan said, adding that if it turns out to be true that out-of-town agencies were giving drugs to Peavey Plaza protestors, "I think we'd probably have an issue with that."

Roeske said the DRE program has been ongoing "for decades." He characterized the program as a "traffic safety program" meant to "remove impaired drivers from the road."

DRE "helps [officers] identify people that are impaired," he said.

The video report was put together by local independent media activists and members of Communities United Against Police Brutality. In a summary of their findings, the journalists say they believe young people hanging out near Peavey Plaza were targeted as subjects because getting them intoxicated is a way for police to "discredit and disrupt the Occupy movement."

Peavey Plaza has become the epicenter of Minneapolis's Occupy movement this spring. Following a re-Occupation demonstration early last month that resulted in a KSTP camera getting trashed by a Minneapolis officer, Councilwoman Barb Johnson is floating a new city ordinance that would restrict access to city-controlled public plazas between midnight and 6 a.m. The ordinance will be considered by a City Council committee later this month.

See also:
-- Minnesota police giving Peavey Plaza Occupy-ers drugs as part of impairment study, report says [VIDEO]
-- Minneapolis City Council considering anti-Occupy public plaza restrictions
-- KSTP wants answers from Minneapolis police over cameraman shoving incident [VIDEO]

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