A police officer pulled over Darius Mitchell, an African American, one late night in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana for breaking the speed limit. The police officer smelled weed in Mitchell’s car and called for a drug-sniffing canine to search the vehicle against his consent.
They were looking for pounds of weed, according to American Civil Liberties Union lawyers, but only found a single bottle of the opioid pain medication hydrocodone,apparently prescribed to his child’s mother. But this was inLouisiana, where incarceration has replaced sugar and cotton as king. So Mitchell was arrested for felony drug possession of the pills and faced five years in prison. He was acquitted at trial, a legal proceeding few can take advantage of; plea deals are the path most taken. But the stigma of being a suspected “drug dealer” stuck.
Mitchell’s story is recounted in a new report issued by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch called “Every 25 Seconds: The Human Toll of Criminalizing Drug Use in the United States,” which details how the “War on Drugs” continues to take prisoners despite recent reforms.
[For more of this story, written by Brentin Mock, go to http://www.citylab.com/crime/2...gs-continues/503846/]