Permalink to Great Moments in the Drug War

Great Moments in the Drug War

 

From the Columbus Dispatch

Tennessee police might need better instruction in botany and Buckeye football. A 65-year-old woman recently came under suspicion, she reported, for having a Buckeye leaf decal on her car. The cops mistook it for a marijuana symbol.

“It’s just amazing they would be that dumb,” Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni said.

She lives in Plano, Texas, but she grew up in Columbus and is known as a lifelong Buckeyes fan. She has served as president of the Ohio State Alumni Club in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. On Feb. 4, Jonas-Boggioni and husband Guido Boggioni, 66, were driving home to Plano after a trip to Columbus to attend the funeral of his mother, Eleanor, 92. They were in the westbound lanes of I-40, a few miles east of Memphis, when a black police SUV with flashing lights pulled them over, Jonas-Boggioni said. A second black SUV soon pulled up behind the first one.

Two black SUVs

“Knowing I wasn’t speeding, I couldn’t imagine why,” she said.

Two officers approached, one on each side of the car.

“They were very serious,” she said. “They had the body armor and the guns.”

Because the couple’s two schnauzers were barking furiously, one of the officers had Jonas-Boggioni exit the car so he could hear her better.

“What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” he asked her.

She explained that it is actually a Buckeye leaf decal, just like the ones that Ohio State players are given to put on their helmets to mark good plays.

Admittedly, the police cannot really be expected to be botanists (and the leaves are not entirely dissimilar) or, indeed, experts in the iconography of Ohio State. 

But…

Before they let her go on her way, the officers advised Jonas-Boggioni to remove the decal from her car.

“I said, ‘You mean in Tennessee?’ and he said, ‘No, permanently.’

“I didn’t take it off. . . . This little old lady is no drug dealer.”

No she’s not. Nor more, it seems, than those policemen are respecters of the Constitution. But, then again, among the drug warriors, who is?

H/t: Reason

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  1. Profile photo of skipsul Moderator

    Well, as a resident of the Buckeye State, I will point out that OSU basketball and football fans exhibit the usual signs of addiction to controlled substances. Seriously, some days it’s all you hear. Iran could nuke Tel Aviv, the Euro could collapse, Obama could nullify the Constitution outright, and all you’d hear on the radio would be whether OSU would be in the final 4.

    Dumb call on the Tennessee cops, but in the ballpark of ironic weirdness.

    • #1
    • February 17, 2013 at 1:09 am
  2. Profile photo of Robert E. Lee Member

    As long as they beat the Wolverines.

    • #2
    • February 17, 2013 at 1:16 am
  3. Profile photo of Devereaux Inactive
    Roberto: I’m more concerned that there are police officers out there who seem to view a sticker on a car as some sort of proxy for probable cause. 

    This is not a question of the drug war, this is simply a reflection of horrible training. · 4 minutes ago

    Precisely! Even if it WAS a marijuana sticker, since when is that probable cause to stop someone. RICO is a horrible law that is being abused by many police organizations as simple highway robbery. It is no different than being stopped by a gang and robbed of your money. The flashing lights are not any real authority, as what they are doing is really outside the law. But unfortunately LEO’s have gotten accustomed to disregarding citizens’ rights in the mistaken idea that they can do anything they want with the badge.

    A sorry state we’re in.

    • #3
    • February 17, 2013 at 1:20 am
  4. Profile photo of Joe Inactive
    Joe

    From my understanding, municipalities that have jurisdiction over a stretch of highway will often “hire” cops from other local jurisdictions to patrol that stretch, then split the civil forfeiture proceeds under equitable sharing, which makes accountability even worse. And that’s really what this is about – civil forfeiture and Federal money. Here’s a chart from Drug War Facts showing the total civil forfeiture amounts across the country. In addition to the obvious 4th Amendment violation, there’s a 1st Amendment issue in that you can advocate for legalizing drugs without being harassed by the state for it.

    But probably the biggest and scariest violation of this mess regards reality – that certain people trusted to play domestic GI Joe are so detached that they think a drug dealer would advertise by driving around with a pot leaf sticker. These are probably the same ones that came to class and taught us smoking pot once would turn our brains to scrambled eggs. As unfunny as the drug war is, that made me chuckle.

    Also, as a Michigan alum, I’ll just acknowledge there are a lot of bad jokes I could make and move along. You’re welcome, Scott

    • #4
    • February 17, 2013 at 1:26 am
  5. Profile photo of Kervinlee Member

    Help, it’s the police!

    • #5
    • February 17, 2013 at 2:00 am
  6. Profile photo of Roberto Inactive
    Gracie
    QuickerBrownFox

    So we should be suspicious of two old people driving through a part of the country known for civil forfeiture abuse, yet guess at the circumstances so as to give the officers the benefit of the doubt? And why do you say that this event is highly unlikely? 

    Civil forfeiture laws are a problem everywhere and I would be in favor of either doing away with these laws or extreme modification of such.

    However, that doesn’t mean that I am willing to take at face value an unsubstantiated story. I don’t think they were stopped because of the sticker on their bumper. That is what is unlikely. · 4 hours ago

    Is it? I am not so certain. Certainly all such reported stories, in fact ANY story reported, on the internet should be approached with due skepticism. However I have followed a number of discussions among law enforcement officials and a common refrain is that from 1/4 up to 1/3 of their colleagues are unfit for that profession, as an aside public school teachers appear to generate similar numbers from their fellows. I do not believe your wholesale rejection of this incident is warranted Gracie.

    • #6
    • February 17, 2013 at 2:01 am
  7. Profile photo of billy Member

    Enough is enough. Let’s legalize marijuana and be done with this nonsense.

    • #7
    • February 17, 2013 at 2:35 am
  8. Profile photo of Gracie Inactive

    This story has been picked up everywhere, evidently from the same original source of that Ohio newspaper. As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone. As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value. Perhaps the recent events surrounding the manhunt in CA have made us ready to believe any tale of misbehavior by the police.

    If the couple were stopped, I would think it more likely that the cops were looking for a vehicle similar to theirs and just wanted to talk to the occupants. They wouldn’t necessarily tell them that though, but might comment on the plant as a conversation opener. Evidently they did not search the car so that has to tell us something. 

    • #8
    • February 17, 2013 at 3:43 am
  9. Profile photo of Vance Richards Member

    If they had an Alabama sticker on the car, the police would have shot them on sight. In some parts, football is a much bigger deal than drugs.

    • #9
    • February 17, 2013 at 4:03 am
  10. Profile photo of Franco Member

    Hard to believe? Not at all.

    Usually police find other reasons to stop people in order to find criminal offenses, so this is at least somewhat refreshing.

     Safety is a pretext for finding criminality. Whenever I hear a police officer utter words like “safety” and “care”, I cringe. He’s lying to himself and others. 

    I find it especially galling that they advised them to remove the sticker.

    Gracie: 

    If the couple were stopped, I would think it more likely that the cops were looking for a vehicle similar to theirs and just wanted to talk to the occupants. They wouldn’t necessarily tell them that though, but might comment on the plant as a conversation opener. Evidently they did not search the car so that has to tell us something.

     I don’t know where the believe-the-police-first mentality comes from, but if your fantasy of what may have happened is true, then these police just made it much more difficult to prosecute these potential criminals by opening the conversation as you describe. 

    • #10
    • February 17, 2013 at 4:10 am
  11. Profile photo of Joe Inactive
    Joe
    Gracie: As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone. As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value.

    So we should be suspicious of two old people driving through a part of the country known for civil forfeiture abuse, yet guess at the circumstances so as to give the officers the benefit of the doubt? And why do you say that this event is highly unlikely?

    • #11
    • February 17, 2013 at 7:25 am
  12. Profile photo of Mr. Dart Coolidge
    Gracie: This story has been picked up everywhere, evidently from the same original source of that Ohio newspaper. As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone. As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value. · 15 hours ago

    I have to admit, Gracie, I don’t buy it either. As a libertarian who thinks the so-called drug war is a total waste of time and money I would like to believe it, but it smells like a hoax to me. Did they get badge numbers? Plate numbers? I sure would have. The male in the story wasn’t so fearful of the armored and armed officers that he couldn’t exit the vehicle and approach them to show off his sweatshirt. Yet he didn’t get a badge number. Nor did they get plate numbers from either of those mean black SUV’s. 

    Why didn’t the “reporter” from the Columbus Dispatch make a few calls? Maybe it was just too good a single-sourced tale to feed his Buckeye Booster readers to confuse it with a few facts. Maybe.

    • #12
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:00 am
  13. Profile photo of Richard Finlay Member

    As a non-OSU resident of Ohio, I would favor outlawing buckeye stickers everywhere, just on general principles.

    • #13
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:01 am
  14. Profile photo of skipsul Moderator
    Vance Richards: If they had an Alabama sticker on the car, the police would have shot them on sight. In some parts, football is a much bigger deal than drugs. · 4 hours ago

    Or Florida, after all OSU poached Urban Meyer from the Gators.

    • #14
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:13 am
  15. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor

    As government, at all levels, becomes more abusive of its citizens, pushing them around in matters large and small and ignoring their constitutional rights, it’s not surprising that its enforcement arm follows similarly. I don’t see the issue going away anytime soon, unfortunately.

    • #15
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:20 am
  16. Profile photo of Franco Member
    Terry
    Gracie: This story has been picked up everywhere, evidently from the same original source of that Ohio newspaper. As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone. As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value. · 15 hours ago

    I have to admit, Gracie, I don’t buy it either. …but it smells like a hoax to me. Did they get badge numbers? Plate numbers? The male in the story wasn’t so fearful of the armored and armed officers that he couldn’t exit the vehicle and approach them to show off his sweatshirt. Yet he didn’t get a badge number. Nor did they get plate numbers from either of those mean black SUV’s. 

    Why didn’t the “reporter” from the Columbus Post Dispatch make a few calls? Maybe it was just too good a single-sourced tale to feed his Buckeye Booster readers to confuse it with a few facts. Maybe. 

    Are you saying these people are lying? They are deliberately impugning police in order to boost their football team? Maybe? Maybe not.

    • #16
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:22 am
  17. Profile photo of Franco Member
    Robert E. Lee: She’s lucky. West bound in Tennessee the police are looking for drug money. Various police agencies have almost had shoot-outs over who was going to keep all the money they could get their hands on.

    Tennessee State Troopers have a nasty reputation for shooting pet dogs, apparently for fun. If children are watching, so much the better it seems. · 20 hours ago

    Here’s a report on I40

    • #17
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:49 am
  18. Profile photo of Mr. Dart Coolidge
    Franco
    Terry
    Gracie: This story has been picked up everywhere, evidently from the same original source of that Ohio newspaper. As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone. As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value. · 15 hours ago

    Why didn’t the “reporter” from the Columbus Post Dispatch make a few calls? Maybe it was just too good a single-sourced tale to feed his Buckeye Booster readers to confuse it with a few facts. Maybe. 

    Are you saying these people are lying? They are deliberately impugning police in order to boost their football team? Maybe? Maybe not. · 14 minutes ago

    Beats me. I don’t know them. She wrote a letter to the Dallas Morning News about it too. Could have happened. Maybe not.

    I usually don’t immediately believe what I read in newspapers, Franco. Especially with no second source or corroboration. Reporters are at least as untrustworthy as policemen to me, generally.

    Every time I have been involved in stories reported upon in the media major facts have been wrong. This story is hearsay with no verification.

    • #18
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:57 am
  19. Profile photo of Gracie Inactive
    QuickerBrownFox
    Gracie: As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone. As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value.

    So we should be suspicious of two old people driving through a part of the country known for civil forfeiture abuse, yet guess at the circumstances so as to give the officers the benefit of the doubt? And why do you say that this event is highly unlikely? · 58 minutes ago

    Edited 56 minutes ago

    Civil forfeiture laws are a problem everywhere and I would be in favor of either doing away with these laws or extreme modification of such.

    However, that doesn’t mean that I am willing to take at face value an unsubstantiated story. I don’t think they were stopped because of the sticker on their bumper. That is what is unlikely.

    • #19
    • February 17, 2013 at 8:59 am
  20. Profile photo of Robert E. Lee Member
    Franco

    Here’s a report on I40 · 8 minutes ago

    Now if people would just watch this video.

    • #20
    • February 17, 2013 at 9:37 am
  21. Profile photo of Severely Ltd. Member
    Terry
    Gracie: This story has been picked up everywhere, evidently from the same original source of that Ohio newspaper. As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone. As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value. · 15 hours ago

    I have to admit, Gracie, I don’t buy it either. As a libertarian who thinks the so-called drug war is a total waste of time and money I would liketo believe it, but it smells like a hoax to me. Did they get badge numbers? Plate numbers? I sure would have…

    Why didn’t the “reporter” from the Columbus Dispatch make a few calls? Maybe it was just too good a single-sourced tale to feed his Buckeye Booster readers to confuse it with a few facts. Maybe. · 1 hour ago

    Been discussing/arguing these same points with my son this morning. Just read him these two sensible comments. In the race to lose credibility these days, the press is well ahead of the police.

    • #21
    • February 17, 2013 at 10:08 am
  22. Profile photo of Robert E. Lee Member

    She’s lucky. West bound in Tennessee the police are looking for drug money. Various police agencies have almost had shoot-outs over who was going to keep all the money they could get their hands on.

    Tennessee State Troopers have a nasty reputation for shooting pet dogs, apparently for fun. If children are watching, so much the better it seems.

    • #22
    • February 17, 2013 at 12:11 pm
  23. Profile photo of Roberto Inactive

    I’m more concerned that there are police officers out there who seem to view a sticker on a car as some sort of proxy for probable cause. 

    This is not a question of the drug war, this is simply a reflection of horrible training. 

    • #23
    • February 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm
  24. Profile photo of Robert E. Lee Member

    It’s not horrible training, it’s a reflection of a horrible attitude. One that gives decent, honorable civil servants a bad name and spreads fear in the populous the are supposed to protect.

    • #24
    • February 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm
  25. Profile photo of Western Chauvinist Member

    I’m guessing these same police officers would think a vehicle sporting the green cross sticker is an ambulance for animals injured while crossing the road.

    green-cross.jpg

    Signs of the times.

    • #25
    • February 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm
  26. Profile photo of Richard Finlay Member
    Franco
    Terry
     

     

    Are you saying these people are lying? They are deliberately impugning police in order to boost their football team? Maybe? Maybe not. · 5 hours ago

    Well, given that it is OSU, if it works, they might think it was a good idea. OSU alumni sports-folk are, shall we say, somewhat over-invested in the program. A totally unbiased outsider like me (as in, alumnus of a different Big Ten school) might almost wonder if the sports programs are the only praiseworthy thing going on there.

    • #26
    • February 18, 2013 at 2:00 am
  27. Profile photo of Gracie Inactive
    Robert E. Lee
    Franco

    Here’s a report on I40 · 8 minutes ago

    Now if people would just watch this video. · 4 hours ago

    I watched it. Twice now. It is irrelevant to the case at hand.

    $200,000? Yeah, it was drug money.

    • #27
    • February 18, 2013 at 2:19 am
  28. Profile photo of Franco Member
    Gracie
    Robert E. Lee
    Franco

    Here’s a report on I40 · 8 minutes ago

    It is irrelevant to the case at hand.

    $200,000? Yeah, it was drug money

    Gracie: ……. As far as I can tell it is totally uncorroborated by anyone.  As it seems to me to be a highly unlikely event, I am surprised that everyone seems to take it at face value.

    If the couple were stopped, I would think it more likely that the cops were looking for a vehicle similar to theirs and just wanted to talk to the occupants. They wouldn’t necessarily tell them that though, but might comment on the plant as a conversation opener. Evidently they did not search the car so that has to tell us something.

    Guilty until proven innocent, unless it’s the police.

    Fascinating how likelihood dominates your views here. Plenty of highly “unlikely” events take place every day, everywhere.

    How is it that the story could be false yet selected elements of your choosing are true and “tells us something”? 

    The question becomes, how much cash can a person carry without it being automatically deemed “drug money” by Gracie?

    • #28
    • February 18, 2013 at 4:02 am
  29. Profile photo of Franco Member

    Update: Columbus Dispatch,

    Couple retract story told to Ohio Dispatch reporter

    Bonnie and Guido Jonas-Boggioni, a very unlikely name for a couple, were taking a very unlikely trip between Ohio and Plano, Texas. It was so unlikely that they thought they would make up a story to boost their favorite College football team, OSU. Being rabid fanatics who would stop at nothing to promote their beloved Buckeyes, the two decided to make a false report to a newspaper in Dallas in an attempt to have the story go viral. The story was picked up and repeated by Reason Magazine and others. “This is way bigger than we thought” , said Guido, who urged his wife to retract the false story. “She loves the Buckeyes, what can I say? She was just trying to get them some attention.” 

    Tennesee police have made no comment and continue to patrol the I-40 Interstate with a flawless record of keeping citizens safe.

    • #29
    • February 18, 2013 at 4:36 am
  30. Profile photo of Richard Finlay Member
    Franco: Update:Columbus Dispatch,

    Couple retract story told to Ohio Dispatch reporter

    Bonnie and Guido Jonas-Boggioni, a very unlikely name for a couple, were taking a very unlikely trip between Ohio and Plano, Texas. It was so unlikely that they thought they would make up a story to boost their favorite College football team, OSU. Being rabid fanatics who would stop at nothing to promote their beloved Buckeyes, the two decided to make a false report to a newspaper in Dallas in an attempt to have the story go viral. The story was picked up and repeated byReason Magazineand others. “This is way bigger than we thought” , said Guido, who urged his wife to retract the false story. “She loves the Buckeyes, what can I say? She was just trying to get them some attention.” 

    Tennesee police have made no comment and continue to patrol the I-40 Interstate with a flawless record of keeping citizens safe. · 1 hour ago

    What’d I tell you? Typical Buckeyes.

    • #30
    • February 18, 2013 at 6:36 am
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