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By now, many people who would recoil at the assertion that the police have become the protection force of the ruling elite in this country, acting as corporate goons against peaceful protesters, may be willing to put their reservations aside after witnessing the rampant display of police brutality across the country.

So finding out that police departments are actively engaged in the practice of purposely ignoring violent crimes, including rapes and beatings, and instead focusing on drug-related crimes (including minor offenses), should not be surprising either.

According to Radley Balko at The Huffington Post, police departments are purposely failing to pursue cases involving assaults, beatings, robberies, and even rape because those cases do not bring back money to their precincts.

Instead, due to a perverse set of incentives in the form of federal anti-drug grants and asset forfeiture policies, police departments are doing everything they can to inflate their drug-related arrests' statistics.

Arresting people for assaults, beatings and robberies doesn't bring money back to police departments, but drug cases do in a couple of ways. First, police departments across the country compete for a pool of federal anti-drug grants. The more arrests and drug seizures a department can claim, the stronger its application for those grants.

This emphasis on "profit" has corrupted police departments.  "In an explosive Village Voice series last year, current and former NYPD officers told the publication that supervising officers encouraged them to either downgrade or not even bother to file reports for assault, robbery and even sexual assault. The theory is that the department faces political pressure to produce statistics showing that violent crime continues to drop."

There are also reports of police officers planting drugs on innocent people (in order to improve their drug arrest statistics), waiting for large-scale drug sales to take place before making an arrest (since the confiscated money is kept by the department), and aggressive tactics meant to link private property to drug dealing, which allows police departments to "seize property from people merely suspected of drug crimes."

So long as police can show even the slightest link of drug activity to a car, some cash, or even a home, they can seize it. In the majority of cases, most or all of the seized cash goes back to the police department.

On another front in the so-called "drug war," the sudden change of heart from the federal government regarding aggressive enforcement against "medical marijuana" use and sale, could be seen as a Big Pharma's lobbying money being put to work to protect its profit interests, using the power of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

David Downs at the East Bay Express reports that (up to 55 unnamed) pharmaceutical companies are lobbying the federal government to allow them to produce cannabis-derived medication.

In other words, if big corporations grow dope with the government and put it in a pill, it's medicine. But if you grow it at home or at a city-permitted pot farm and then put it in a vaporizer, it's a felony.

So there you have it... Police departments leaving victims of violent crimes to fend for themselves, planting drugs on innocent people, seizing your property unfairly (and fraudulently), all in the name of profit and privatization.  And the federal government trampling all over state rights (of California), denying desperately-needed relieve (medical marijuana) to people suffering from debilitating illnesses, at the behest of Big Pharma.

Now we know what it really means when the government and police says that their mission is to "Protect and Serve."  It is the interest of the moneyed elite they are protecting, and the public be dammed.

Originally posted to Ray Pensador on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 10:06 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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