A New Year’s Eve party got a little raucous for the folks of Cartersville, Georgia. So much so that it resulted in sixty people jailed for possession of under an ounce of pot. That’s right: police arrested dozens of partygoers for the same bag of weed. But this was not a fat sack of grass. Not like the ones often pulled out in the backseat of a car in the movies, sending the driver into a spine-shattering bout of paranoia. This was but a small bag containing less than an ounce.
The Mass Arrest
It was a celebratory gathering promoted as a “lingerie-themed 21st birthday bash,” according to WXIA-TV. The report indicates that the neighbors called the Cartersville Police Department on the wild-eyed festivities after hearing a series of gunshots pop off around the community.
When officers arrived on the scene, they spotted a cornucopia of party favors in plain sight. Including a small amount of marijuana. That’s when the boys in blue called in the big dogs. They summoned the Bartow Cartersville Drug Task Force to join in the fun.
When local drug agents showed up to lend some shakedown assistance, they began giving everyone at the party the third degree over who was the rightful owner of the leafy stash.
The individual who dared stand up to claim the weed was on the fast track to jail. Knowing this, the entire party did exactly the right thing in this type of situation. They kept their mouths shut.
But their solidarity of silence screwed them all in the end.
Law enforcement officers felt pissed that they failed to compel a bunch of citizens between the ages of 15 and 31 to rat each other out. And so they made the decision to have sixty people jailed for possession of under an ounce of pot.
A report from the Daily-Tribune indicates that 63 people, including several minors, were forced to spend the night in the slammer as a result of the incident.
The Bartow Cartersville Drug Task Force justified its decision to conduct such a ridiculous, mass arrest by saying the marijuana “was within everyone’s reach,” so they all went down.
“All the subjects at the residence were placed under arrest for the possession of the suspected marijuana which was within everyone’s reach or control,” reads a press release issued by Bartow Cartersville Drug Task Force. “All arrestees were immediately transported to the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office by multiple transport vans.”
Final Hit: Sixty People Jailed for Possession of Under an Ounce of Pot
All of those the police arrested face charges of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. In Georgia, this offense is a misdemeanor. It carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and fines reaching $1,000.
In addition to the weed, a search warrant of the residence turned up a substance that officers “suspected” was cocaine. Police also discovered various pieces of paraphernalia and a couple of firearms. Only four of the attendees face charges for these crimes.
Since the massive pot arrest, the Georgia NAACP has gotten involved. It seems the cops were verbally abusive to the suspects, most of which were of African American descent. They even went as far as to mistreat many of the partygoers once they were in police custody.
Someone even set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the group. Aptly labeled “the Cartersville 70,” the campaign is for bail and legal fees.
“A good majority of these individuals are college students and members of the US military who were visiting home over the holiday break…Others were working citizens who lost their jobs the second they walked into work this morning,” said Racquel McGee at the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office, which established the online fundraiser.
But why did the local police department have sixty people jailed for possession of under an ounce of pot? Why bring in the drug task force over a small bag of marijuana? Police said it is a “long-standing” policy to call in the Bartow Cartersville Drug Task Force for all drug-related investigations. But the department admitted that the policy is now under review following the recent New Year’s arrests.