Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Depositions of Drug Recognition Evaluator defendants, drugs used for testing taken from teenagers in a park, homeless targeted, scientific method not understood by certified DRE, official reports falsified

I have posted before on the blog about the civil lawsuit in which I represent Plaintiffs who were picked up by Minnesota law enforcement, driven near the airport, and given street drugs and told to use them.  Subsequently, various clinical tests were run on these Plaintiffs by law enforcement to provide training so these officers could become "Drug Recognition Evaluators."  Each officer needed to have 15 test subjects, and credit could be given for being a recorder for another officer doing the tests.  Myself and co-counsel Alan Milstein took the depositions of several of these defendants wherein they testified under oath.  I have now posted these depositions on my file server for anyone to review, in the public interest.

As an attorney who has done a lot of criminal defense work, in addition to bankruptcy and civil litigation, I have long maintained that the DRE program is nothing but preposterous unscientific charlatanism.  Please understand the opinion of one of these officers can get you arrested and jailed sight on scene.  However, do not take my word for it, here is testimony from one of the Drug Recognition Evaluators wandering the streets and arresting people presently,  Deputy Bryce Schuenke, formerly of the Dakota County Sheriff's Office and now with the Prior Lake Police Department, who holds a "Master of Science in Public Safety" from St.Cloud State University, from page 17 of his deposition:

Q (by me):  "Did you rely on, like, any learned treatises or scientific textbooks during the classroom portion of your training?"

A (Schuenke):  "I didn't use scientific textbooks, no."

Q (by me):  "There's no scientific textbooks used in the DRE training?"

A (Schuenke):  "We had manuals, but I don't know if they came from a scientific source or not."

Q (by me):  "What is an Institutional Review Board?"

A (Schuenke):  "I don't---I don't know."

Q (by me):  "What is a controlled experiment?"

A (Schuenke):  "I am familiar with the term, but wouldn't be able to explain it."

Q (by me):  "What is the scientific method?"

A (Schuenke):  "Again, same"

Q (by me):  "You don't know?"

A (Schuenke):  "I don't know."

I reiterate that this is a person who Minnesota Courts qualify to testify in Court about whether or not someone is under the influence of drugs.  His clinical opinion can land someone in jail very quickly and his testimony used to prove someone's intoxication.
These depositions are filled with wonderful information about the Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator Program.  There are many stories in these depositions that are very newsworthy.  One of the overarching themes of this program is that test subjects were given fake names, presumably to make sure their actual participation in this program could be concealed at a later date.  Official DRE logs are replete with fake names and falsified police reports (fascinating how Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman forgot about Minnesota Statute 609.505, falsely reporting crime, in his charging decision relating to the DRE program).  Officers testified under oath at these depositions that they put false names and false events in their official reports.

Another issue that the Plaintiffs were wondering about was the source of the drugs administered to the Plaintiff test subjects for these police experiments.  For such a scientific program that trains officers to put people in jail by waving their hands around and looking at them, one would think there would be very careful controls and dosages for the drugs (I am setting aside for the moment that it is a farce to administer drugs to people and then test to conclude that they are under the influence of drugs).  However, consistent with the entire Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator Program, the method the drugs were obtained is entirely unscientific, and there is no knowledge about what the drugs administered actually contain.  In his deposition testimony, while questioned by my co-counsel, Alan Milstein, Hutchinson Officer explained how the drugs administered to the Plaintiff test subjects were obtained:

From page 15 of deposition of Karl Willers:

Q (by Milstein):  "And there was at least one instance where you gave one of the people you evaluated Marijuana, correct"

A (Karl Willers):  "Yes"

Q (by Milstein):  "Was it only one instance?"

A (Karl Willers):  "No."

Q (by Milstein):  "How many instances were there?"

A (Karl Willers):  "Four or five."

Q (by Milstein):  "And where did you get Marijuana?"

There is a set of questioning from Karl Willers' deposition on pages 16 to 19  that his classmates, Mark Hanneman and Peter Zajac, had obtained the marijuana by taking it from teenagers who were smoking it in a park around Farmington.  Herein lies more of the rigorous science and testing behind the Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator program.

Here are the depositions I have posted, which are all of them:

Karl Willers, Hutchinson Police Department

Bryce Schuenke, Dakota County Sheriff's Office, now with Prior Lake Police Department

Daniel Lewis, Kanabec County Sheriff's Office

Kenneth Willers, DRE with Minnesota State Patrol

Michael Hadland, Fillmore County Sheriff's Office

Nicholas Jacobson, Olmsted County Sheriff's Office

Steve Schultz, Kanabec County Sheriff

Riccardo Munoz, Minnesota State Patrol

These depositions and their contents speak for themselves.  A reading of all of them together leads any reasonable mind to the conclusion that the DRE program is unscientific hocus pocus and its training methods constitute violations of civil rights. Further, the intentional targeting of Occupy Minnesota, the homeless, and other vulnerable populations is made clear in the testimony in these depositions.

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