Pubdate: Wed, 25 Oct 2000
Source: WorldNetDaily (US Web)
Copyright: 2000,, Inc.
Section: Random Fire
Contact:  PO Box 409, Cave Junction, OR 97523-0409
Fax: (541) 597-1700
Author: Joel Miller


Most of us get a laugh from hypocrisy. We've got a dozen images stored in 
our mental caricature file: the animal-rights activist wearing leather 
shoes, a serial womanizer in the church worship band, the fitness coach who 
can't fit into his pants, and an Amish farmer surfing the Web (the Lehman's 
nonelectric catalogue is actually online ).

Then there's this gem: "Two Indonesian anti-drug activists," reports the 
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, "were caught at a drug party. ..." 
Even better, "one of the two middle-aged men, members of Solidarity against 
Drugs and Crimes, had tried to pass himself off as a journalist when they 
were caught using crystal methamphetamine."

Of course, the two had good reason to lie. The same article notes that "In 
the past year, three Indonesians and several foreigners caught at airports 
have been condemned to death for trafficking, and," hitting on the 
hypocrisy once again, "the crackdown has netted the relatives of top 
figures including army generals and TV personalities."

If you haven't noticed, however, Indonesia is a long way away. Things are 
funnier at a distance. Where hypocrisy ceases to be funny is when it comes 
to your local police.

"A second Chicago police officer was arrested ... on drug charges of 
joining forces with violent street gangs in a Chicago-to-Miami drug-running 
conspiracy, providing them with protection and guns," reported the Sept. 22 
Chicago Sun-Times.

The boom in this case was first lowered on his former partner, "a decorated 
gangs crimes investigator who police say joined forces with drug-selling 
gangs and furnished them with guns, ammunition and the names of undercover 
police investigators and informants."

The indictment of the two officers includes charges of blind-eyeing a 
fugitive drug runner, allowing him to evade arrest, lying to obtain search 
warrants, seizing guns and drugs from suspects for personal use, possession 
of narcotics, extortion and conspiracy.

"It is unfortunate that a Chicago police officer has chosen to tarnish the 
badge that so many carry with dignity and honor," said the police 
department in a statement about the arrest and indictment of the second 
officer in the case.

Widespread corruption Worse than unfortunate, it's not uncommon, as some 
stories from just this year make abundantly clear:

As the Oct. 3 Associated Press reported, when agents from the FBI and 
Georgia Bureau of Investigations tried to arrest Coffee County Sheriff 
Carlton Evans earlier this month, he bolted for a nearby wood. About five 
hours later, the sheriff's body was found in the wood after he had 
apparently shot himself. The reason for his evasion of arrest and 
subsequent suicide? He was wanted on federal charges of conspiracy to grow 
more than a 1,000 pounds of marijuana. According to the Oct. 3 Atlanta 
Journal-Constitution, charges were also directed at a former captain in 
Evans' department and Evans' former chief deputy.

Scott County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew J. Brutsman woke up on the wrong side 
of the law in early February, according to the Feb. 13 Lexington 
Herald-Leader. The three-year veteran of the force was busted by Kentucky 
State Police at his house after the sheriff got word he was growing marijuana.

The sheriff's office of Prince George's County, Md., kept some $45,000 
under wraps, hidden from auditors, according to the Jan. 23 Washington 
Post. Seized from a drug dealer, the money was secreted for almost seven 
years, while the office lobbied for new laws that would allow the 
department to keep the cash. "We wouldn't have known it existed if somebody 
hadn't told us about it," said the acting county auditor. "If their intent 
was to hide it and sit on it, we would never have found out about it."

Former California anti-narcotics agent Richard Wayne Parker, convicted of 
operating a multi-state drug-running network, was sentenced in January to 
life in prison and fined $16 million. A Jan. 19 AP report in the New York 
Times said that two others charged in the same case were Parker's former 
partner and his half brother, a former California Highway Patrol officer.

About the same time Parker was getting parked in prison for life, federal 
prosecutors came down on Gregory Colon, a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer 
who allegedly ran a cocaine ring that, as the Jan. 19 Cleveland Plain 
Dealer reported, "used exotic dancers to recruit customers in show bars."

As the Feb. 17 Lafayette Advocate reported, a Louisiana jury lowered the 
boom on former Duson Police Chief Thomas Deville after only three hours of 
deliberation, convicting him of conspiracy, weapons and drug charges. 
"Deville was accused of being part of Lanier 'Pops' Cherry's drug ring, 
which investigators said distributed more than 1,000 kilograms of 
marijuana." As a 15-year veteran and many-time "officer of the month," 
former Jackson, Miss., police Detective Alvaline Baggett isn't one you'd 
finger for corruption, but in September, she was convicted "on charges of 
extorting money from drug dealers to 'fix' their cases," according to the 
Oct. 3 Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Working the city's anti-drug unit, Baggett 
prided herself as being the "No. 1 narcotics officer in Jackson." In 1999, 
a consulting group gave Jackson officials cause to fear when it reported 
what Clarion-Ledger editorialized as "a serious perception of police 
corruption by the department's rank-and-file." Turns out that more than 75 
percent of survey participants believed up to 25 percent of their fellow 
officers were on the take.

A problem you can count on Worse than being both unfortunate and common, 
however, this corruption of our law enforcement is also predictable.

"As to corruption," explained the National Commission of Law Observance and 
Enforcement in the Wickersham Report, "it is sufficient to refer ... to the 
revelations (of) police corruption in every type of municipality, large and 
small throughout the decade ... to the evidence of connection between 
corrupt local politics and gangs and the organized unlawful narcotics 
traffic, and of systematic collection of tribute from that traffic, for 
corrupt political purposes."

"There have been other eras of corruption," the report goes on to say, "But 
the present regime of corruption in connection with the narcotics traffic 
is operating in a new and larger field and is more extensive."

Sounds bad, right? No doubt.

It also sounds a bit inaccurate. The National Commission of Law Observance 
and Enforcement -- also known as the Wickersham Commission because of its 
headman, George W. Wickersham -- was organized by President Herbert Hoover. 
The Wickersham Report was published in 1931. I played a little revisionism 
with the previous quotes; to restore them to the original state, simply 
switch "narcotics" with "liquor."

Charged with reviewing the first decade of Alcohol Prohibition, the 
Wickersham Commission came back with stunning news about law enforcement 
corruption, basically that prohibition itself made corruption unavoidable.

As any economists can tell you, prohibition creates inherent incentives for 
corruption. Couple the illegality of a product with its demand and you've 
got a good recipe for a bad thing. The economics are simple. Because a 
product is illegal, the risks of getting the product to market are greater, 
leading directly to higher prices -- nobody is going to charge spare change 
in a business where selling can land you in the clink for more years than 
committing murder. Thus, the illegality of drugs drives the prices 
sky-high, and it doesn't take Milton Friedman to figure out that with that 
much money involved, somebody -- poor hoodlum, high-school dropout, 
white-collar exec or police officer -- is going to figure out a way to get 
in on it.

This is especially obvious when you consider the low pay scale in which 
many in law enforcement find themselves. When you're only making $28 to $30 
Gs a year, what's a little side venture? Let's say all you do is turn your 
head while a deal goes on -- a cut for silence isn't that bad, is it? Many 
officers start down precisely this path. If you seize $500 from a suspect, 
who does it hurt if you only report $400? >From there, getting deeper is 
just a matter of going with the flow. In his groundbreaking study, "The 
Economics of Prohibition," economist Mark Thornton explains in typical 
economist-speak that "When an official commits one act of corruption, the 
costs of additional acts decline, in a fashion similar to the marginal cost 
of production in a firm." In other words, pocketing that $100 gets easier 
and easier the more you do it.

Consequently, the drug war "has created a business whose profits make the 
rum-running of the Prohibition Era appear bush league by comparison," 
explained Richard Ashley in his 1972 volume, "Heroin: The Myths and Facts," 
adding that "these profits have corrupted our police." And corrupted them 

"Profits are so great," reported Richard Kunnes in his 1972 book, "The 
American Heroin Empire," "that corruption of law enforcement officials has 
become pandemic. In fact, the more officials hired for heroin suppression 
work, the more are bribed, or worse, become distributors themselves."

Taking it into the present day, in a Sept. 21, 1999, Los Angeles Times 
op-ed, Hoover Institution scholar and former Kansas City, Mo., Police Chief 
Joseph McNamara blames "The lure of fortunes to be made in illegal drugs" 
for "thousands of police felonies: armed robbery, kidnapping, stealing 
drugs, selling drugs, perjury, framing people and even some murders. These 
police crimes were committed on duty, often while the cop gangsters were 
wearing their uniforms, the symbol of safety to the people they were 
supposed to be protecting."

Blue cancer goes beyond the badge When the public perceives police as 
corrupt, even if the actual number of lawbreaking law enforcers is minute, 
the entire community suffers immensely. For the criminal justice system to 
have any trust at all, it must be just, and when officers fudge the law -- 
in ways either big or little -- they chip away at their own system, eroding 
community trust and endangering the very people they are sworn to protect 
by allowing violent drug dealers to continue operating or by wearing the 
drug-dealer hat themselves.

Knowing this, it's more than ludicrous for the legal system to insist on 
waging a prohibitionist war on drugs that fosters corruption within its own 
ranks. Society cannot counter economic forces. The free market is nothing 
more than the reflection of people's wants. When you criminalize those 
wants, you drive them underground along with anybody involved in fulfilling 
them, even -- perhaps especially -- cops.

This is as true now of drug prohibition as it was of Alcohol Prohibition.

Harry Anderson, cited 70 years ago in the Wickersham Report and quoted by 
Mark Thornton sums it nicely: "These principles of economic law are 
fundamental. They cannot be resisted or ignored. Against their ultimate 
cooperation the mandates of laws and constitutions and the powers of 
government appear to be no more effective that the broom of King Canute 
against the tides of the sea."

Even more ominous, Anderson warned that with total enforcement of 
prohibition the government would still fail. Complete enforcement "would 
inevitably lead to social and political consequences more disastrous than 
the evils sought to be remedied. Even then, the force of social and 
economic laws would ultimately prevail. These laws cannot be destroyed by 
governments, but often in the course of human history governments have been 
destroyed by them."

As we see our Constitution eroded, our liberties erased and the very 
officers sworn to uphold them subverted by obscene economic incentives made 
real by the drug war itself, Anderson's warning seems all too prescient.
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager