Cops V. Stoners at Cal Anderson Park
posted by October 1 at 4:42 PMon
At 4:20 this afternoon, as suggested in this week’s Stranger, about 150 people gathered on the slope at the North East corner of Capitol Hill’s newly-revamped Cal Anderson Park to smoke pot. The event was organized by anti-drug-war warrior Dominic Holden. Holden helped pass Initiative-75 in 2003. I-75 reclassified arrests for smoking pot as the SPD’s “lowest priority.” (The Initiative passed by 57.7 percent.) Holden thought a smoke out would be a groovy way to celebrate the new Capitol Hill park.
Officer J. Hayes, joined by about 7 bike cops, greeted the crowd and told them he wished they wouldn’t light up. He urged them to “respect everyone in the community” that wants the new-and-improved park to undo the negatives of the old park. He then explained, over the strains of someone’s acoustic guitar, that people who did smoke would get parks exclusion tickets. That means they’d be banned from the park for at least a week.
Holden, wearing an “I Heart Dirty Hippies” T-shirt, told the officer he wanted the SPD to respect everyone in the community who passed I-75. Holden lit up. (And apparently so did a lot of others because the place started to smell like my older brother’s Led Zeppelin bedroom circa 1978). Holden, who also told Hayes he respected the SPD for arresting bona fide law breakers like people who break into homes, was given an exclusion notice and escorted to the park offices south of the hill on the edge of the soccer field.
As I was leaving, officer Hayes was explaining the parks exclusion rules to a young woman with curly blonde hair. She wanted to know how long the marijuana citation would be on her record. Hayes guesstimated “about three years.” The woman looked stymied. Hayes said: “I guess it depends on how important this is to you.”
Look for a full report on the event in next week’s paper from David Schmader, who was also on the scene, and even though he was, it seemed to me, stoned—got away without an exclusion notice of his own. Schmader was apparently savvy enough to have smoked a bowl at home beforehand.