Sunday, December 21, 2003


The breaking buzz is the arrest of Al Gore III, yep that would be Al Gore's son. He and his two companions were pulled over for driving without headlights and pulled over with all their windows and sunroof open, allegedly exuding the smell of cannabis.

A search of the vehicle turned up a partial marijuana cigarette, a cigarette box containing suspected marijuana, and a soft drink can that also smelled of marijuana.

I suspect they consented to the search as well. With only a speeding conviction on his record, young Gore would have done well to follow the advice in Busted, The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters. It just goes to show the importance of this video when even a Vice President's son doesn't know his rights.

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In Orange County, California however, Gregory Scott Haidl, son of the local assistant sheriff, can apparently rely on his family connections.

The audio tapes reveal a disturbing cover-up of his recent brush with the law.

A bombshell audio recording reveals police suppressed evidence that Assistant Sheriff Don HaidlÂ’s teenage son was caught smoking marijuana while awaiting trial on charges he participated in a 2002 videotaped gang rape of an unconscious 16-year-old girl.

Official records show that Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo secretly ordered Sgt. Richard Downing to bury evidence of Gregory Scott HaidlÂ’s involvement in an Oct. 26 San Clemente drug bust. Records also prove that SheriffÂ’s Lt. William J. Hunt--chief of police services in San Clemente, where the sheriff has jurisdiction--released Haidl without arrest and chauffeured him home. In a subsequent report, Hunt downplayed the ride as a "courtesy to another member of the department whose son was in a situation he should not have been in."

Yeah tell it to the 2 million people incarcerated in the US gulag. This as much as anything is why the war on drugs fails. When it only applies to the poor and the politically unprotected, it cannot succeed as a modifier of behavior. If offenders like Gregory were equally incarcerated you can bet you would see a huge influx of middle class parents into the reform movement.

For Greg this offense is treated as behavioral problem. If he was a black man in a poor neighborhood, it would be treated as a serious crime. Until the middle class understands that the only difference between their kid and the one using drugs in the ghetto is economic lifestyle - well, we still have a lot of work to do.

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In a sad illustration of the point, in Columbus, GA a sheriff's deputy killed an unarmed black man on the side of highway with a single shot to his head.

Kenneth Brown Walker, 39 was a devoted husband and father, a respected member of his church, and a 15-year middle-management employee of Blue Cross and Blue Shield..

He had no criminal record nor were any drugs or weapons found in the vehicle.

John Dowdell, an attorney hired by the Walker family, told reporters Walker and his friends did nothing wrong. "They will testify that Walker didn't physically or verbally disobey any command by any law enforcement officer," Dowdell said. "The evidence will show these young men were physically removed from the vehicle, had guns touching portions of their body and were shoved to the ground in a prone position."

The FBI has begun a preliminary investigation into the killing and so has the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the deputy to be indicted for murder though.


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