Drug Policy

Update From Chesapeake

|


Ryan Frederick tells the Virginian-Pilot that he had at most a small bag of marijuana in his house, that he wasn't a dealer, and that he didn't grow marijuana. He says he'd been doing some landscaping in his backyard, including growing a banana tree and some Japanese maple trees. Seems like that would be easy enough to prove. And it would explain the lights.

Meanwhile, support from people who know Frederick is showing up in comments threads and in newspaper articles. In another interview with the Virginian-Pilot, Ryan Frederick's aunt says he wasn't dealing drugs (but was a recreational pot smoker), had nothing more than a traffic ticket on his record, and would never have knowingly shot a police officer. Yes, it's his aunt. So take it for what it's worth. More interesting, though, are the comments from neighbors who not only also vouch for Frederick's credibility, they also say they never heard the announcement the Chesapeake Police Department insists was given before officers forced entry. One was outside at the time of the raid. That's not to say there was no announcement. It is to say that if someone standing outside didn't hear it, how could we expect Frederick, who was inside and in bed, to hear it?

Also interesting, about 20 miles away, police in Suffolk County, Virginia stumbled onto a major marijuana grow while investigating a burglary. The guy in charge was arrested without incident. No breaking into his home. No SWAT team. He gave in peacefully. The media were also invited to take pictures of that operation. It was immediately apparent what was going on. There were lots of plants, irrigation equipment, and such.

That's not the case with Frederick. It took five days just to reveal that the police found drugs. We've yet to be told what quantity of drugs police found in his home. We do know that they didn't find the major grow operation described in the warrant. It's also probably time to start inquiring about the informant whose tip led to the raid. Who is he? Did he have a grudge against Frederick? What exactly did he see that made him think this was a major operation? Does he know enough about marijuana to know what a major grow operation would look like?

Here's another scary thought: Frederick says one reason he was frightened was that three days prior to the shooting, someone had broken into his house, rummaged through his belongings, but didn't take anything. The search warrant says that the confidential informant was in Frederick's home within 72 hours of the raid. Could it be that the informant was the one who broke into Frederick's house? Might be worth asking Frederick who was in his home in the previous week.

It's becoming increasingly hard to believe that this guy is a hardened cop killer. It's become increasingly easier to believe that these tactics were way out of line. It's far more plausible that Frederick was a slight (120 pounds), scared man faced with the unimaginable decision of what to do as armed men are breaking into his home. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

If there's any good news to come of this, it's that judging by the comments to the Virginian-Pilot's articles about the case, public opinion seems to be turning a bit. Commenters are no longer uniformly calling for Frederick's head. Some are raising serious questions about the tactics, the informant, and Frederick's right to defend his home.