Marijuana The War on Marijuana Takes Another Victim

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Add another body to the pile.

New Orleans police officials confirmed Thursday that the 20-year-old man who was fatally shot by a plain-clothed narcotics officer during a drug raid at a Gentilly house a day earlier was unarmed. New Orleans police officer Joshua Colclough, 28, fired a single shot Wednesday evening that killed Wendell Allen, 20. Police officials were guarded in their comments about the shooting Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation.

We have not been able to yet completely understand what exactly occurred,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Thursday.

The shooting took place inside a red-brick, two-story home at 2651 Prentiss Ave. in Gentilly. Officers were executing a search warrant at the home following a days-old probe of marijuana dealing. Serpas said officers later found drug paraphernalia and 138 grams of marijuana — about four and a half ounces — inside the residence.

The actual suspect (not Allen) was already in custody before the raid.

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50 Responses to “Marijuana The War on Marijuana Takes Another Victim”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    just a kid. damn.

  2. #2 |  Mike | 

    Just got back from my time machine. The report stated, “All procedures were followed, and the heroic officer Joshua Colclough is back on active duty, after receiving a commendation for bravery.”

  3. #3 |  Zargon | 

    I always love how every time they state we don’t know what happened.

    I’m pretty sure we all know exactly what happened, and the only question remaining is why, for which coming up with rather pointed answers isn’t terribly difficult.

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    “Police officials were guarded in their comments about the shooting Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation coordination of the cover story.”


  5. #5 |  Robert | 

    The news report of course has to indicate that the victim was arrested for a pot violation last year. This arrest has no bearing on this case what so ever. Even if the victim was dealing, which by reporting prior drug arrests implicitly suggests, this is irrelevant to the police shooting of an unarmed person from long range (as the report also notes).

  6. #6 |  Scott Lazarowitz | 

    America is a sick society, with those in charge having this pathological obsession with drugs, even though many of them themselves use drugs and are involved in selling and trafficking. But, as far as the federal laws are concerned, why is “liberal” Obama continuing to pursue this sick drug war, and why aren’t any of the so-called “liberal” bloggers and commentators criticizing him for it? Is his persona THAT alluring and seductive?

  7. #7 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    No, but the “Democrats can do no wrong, Republicans can do no right” ethic is that ingrained.

  8. #8 |  a_random_guy | 

    Of courae, the person who fired the fatal shot, killing an unarmed bystander is in jail, charged with murder, right? Right?

  9. #9 |  Aresen | 

    @ a_random_guy | March 9th, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Can I move in to your universe? It sounds much better than the one I’m in.

  10. #10 |  Difster | 

    “We have not been able to yet completely understand what exactly occurred,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Thursday.”

    Code for: “Please stand by while we concoct a plausible story and make sure we’re all on the same page.”

  11. #11 |  Goober | 

    I don’t get it. The suspect was in custody.

    I can’t stress that enough. The suspect was in custody. Which means that even IF you throw out entirely the protections of “innocent until proven guilty” and assume all suspects are guilty and treat them as such, they still admitted to a tactical, violent raid on a home full of people who were completely innocent of everything. THEY HAD THE SUSPECT IN CUSTODY, people, which means that when they broke down the door and went in guns blazing, they knew for an absolute fact that the people behind that door were not suspected of crimes and were innocent of the crime that they were investigating.

    They will probably say “well, he got up and ran” or something, never even considering why a young man who has his door broken down by people with guns who ARE NOT IN UNIFORM isn’t going to hang around to see what is going on first before he high-tails it the hell out of dodge.


    Okay, and criminals are somehow barred by the physical laws of the universe from yelling POLICE as they break down a door and come rushing in?

    Why are our police departments putting innocent people in the situation where they have a split second to decide if the people coming in with guns drawn are good guys or bad guys? If you choose wrong, you either get your ass shot by the police, or you get a front row ticket to the gang-rape of your wife because the bad guys aren’t really police. Decide quick, which is it? You have one half of a second. Ready? GO!

  12. #12 |  notsure | 

    I love how they always use a small unit of measurement in some sick “ends justify the means” argument about killing a guy over a small amount of plant matter.

    128 grams! OMG the streets are safe because a half full ziplock bag of some dried leaves were seized.

  13. #13 |  Balloon Maker | 

    Why do I read the comments on articles like that? It’s incredible the number of people who will claim with a straight face that the job of a police officer is so dangerous and difficult that they should have carte blanche to murder anyone at any time for any or no reason. Sickening.

    If being a cop is so awful, quit before you murder someone.

  14. #14 |  StrangeOne | 

    Goober this isn’t the first time Radley has reported on an unnecessary raid / homicide combo.

    There was another story last year, where a SWAT team was assembled to issue an arrest warrant for a man at a particular address. The man was standing on the street corner when the police pulled up and was promptly arrested. The house was then raided anyway, the official reason was for preventing destruction of evidence, even though everyone in the house was already aware of police presence and the arrest they had just preformed outside it. Anyways the cops go in, break stuff, and knock people down. The grandfather in the house was lying prone on the ground when an officer “accidentally discharged” into the back of his head. Why the officer had his finger on the trigger, had his weapon pointed at the unarmed man, and why the police dept. felt it was ok to raid a house when they had their only suspect in custody, was never satisfactorily answered.

    Its fairly obvious that many of these raids are preformed for the police to play soldier, justify budgets and overtime, and generally have nothing to do with the safe execution of search warrants.

  15. #15 |  30 year lawyer | 

    It will be OK. They have the cover story.

    The dead man had deliberately disguised himself (with an Afro hairdo) as a poodle. The officer “just shot a dog,” No big deal because we do that all the time. Afterall, the officer feared a licking.

  16. #16 |  Nancy Lebovitz |

    TED talk about the high incarceration rate in the US, and why people who care about “oooh, shiny!” should also care about routine injustice.

    Scott and C.S.P., while I don’t think liberals have been as energetic in pursuing the war on drugs as conservatives, ending the war on drugs doesn’t seem to be on the liberal political agenda. A while ago, I asked about people on the left who were opposed to the war on drugs (I only knew about libertarians) and there were some, but they were all comedians. No politicians.

    I’m pretty sure it’s right-wingers who created the political pressure which made it very risky to be seen as “soft on crime”.

  17. #17 |  Aresen | 

    Against my better instincts, I followed Balloon Maker’s lead and read the comments.

    My gawd! These people not only do not want liberty, they are trying to throw it away as fast as they can.

  18. #18 |  EBL | 

    Legalize it.

  19. #19 |  Roho | 

    “We have no idea what happened, and will conduct a full investigation. Nonetheless, here are all the ways in which our cops our heroes, and by the way, here’s all the terrible, horrible, mean things that the person we shot may have been suspected of in the past. Here’s a bunch of horrible stuff we found in the house, that may or may not have belonged to him. Not that we want to bias things, or anything, we’re still conducting the impartial investigation.”

    And agree with Goober above. I absolutely cannot understand when the police *know* they are raiding people that aren’t part of the current investigation, but do it anyways. Comes back to an argument I’ve frequently made. People breaking the law know that at some point, men with guns may break down their door; either fellow criminals, or the police. They know what they can do in that situation. Those who haven’t broken the law (as far as they know) have no such luxury. When the door splinters to pieces, the first thought won’t be, “Drat, they caught me!” It’ll be “INTRUDERS!”

    It’s knowingly, wantonly, and callously inciting a violent situation where there *is no situation*. It’s not even escalation at that point, it’s just flat out instigation.

  20. #20 |  MH | 

    I saw that Pat Robertson story, EBL. My reaction was like, “My God, am _I_ on drugs?”

    But seriously, you can’t listen to doper-sympathizing hippies from the 700 Club. Put your faith in the law-and-order credentials of our current executive leadership.

  21. #21 |  MassHole | 

    When you’ve lost Pat Robertson, you’ve lost America, or something like that. Finally something Pat and I can agree on.

  22. #22 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Of course their comments were guarded,what good can be said about shooting and killing an unarmed man. I believe the police call themselves professionals,when will the time come when performance equals the claims. If ANY officer is so scared of losing their life on the job that shooting first is the modus operandi,perhaps they should get a new job. Until police are held to a professional standard(and liability) they claim to hold this kind of injustice will continue. Anytime I see this kind of story I recall a saying A coward dies a thousand deaths,but the valiant taste death but once. I do not wish any to die in these circumstances, it is the philosophy I wish to convey.

  23. #23 |  30 year lawyer | 

    Racism is alive and thrieving in New Orleans. Just read the comments in the local paper. $10 bucks says the officer is white.

  24. #24 |  Dante | 

    This story, and the thousands of others just like it, clearly demonstrates the fact that “officer safety” has completely replaced “protect & serve the public”. Most police don’t even try to deny or hide this any more – their lives matter and yours don’t. Whatchooo gonna doo bout it?

    Now, who is paying for all this “officer safety” at the expense of the public’s safety?

    Surprise! Not the officers. Wouldn’t want them to suffer any harm over this, you know. Because it’s all about them now.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 

    @ Dante:

    It is not even about officer safety. Look at Radley’s work on Police Militarization. It is quite clear from the information presented that these unnecessary SWAT raids are getting more police officers killed than would otherwise happen.

    What it is about is showing the little people that THE POLICE HAVE THE POWAH!

  26. #26 |  nemo | 

    @ #15, who said:

    “…while I don’t think liberals have been as energetic in pursuing the war on drugs as conservatives, ending the war on drugs doesn’t seem to be on the liberal political agenda.

    This is something I have been noticing for some time now, namely this shameful silence on the part of those who trumpet themselves as ‘progressives’. When it comes to this issue, on engaging them, I’ve generally received either cynically condescending put-downs as to not being ‘realistic’ about the ‘way the world works’…or I’ve received pathetically weak excuses like ‘progressives have been in the forefront of reform!’ and how can I dare say that they are not?

    I go with what I see…and I don’t see them on the ramparts, making fiery speeches against drug prohibition’s social ills, or pounding tables in Congress and tendering bills to change the laws. The most we have seen in literally the past 40 years was the Frank/Paul bill..and that’s it. Nothing else for 30. Effing. YEARS.

    Might it be because ‘progressive’ fingerprints are all over the crime of creating drug prohibition to begin with? The ideological forebears of today’s ‘progressives’ were the ones that lobbied for the laws to restrict an adult citizen’s access to what were previously cheap, over-the-counter substances. No traditional conservative would have, because they knew that that would be opening Pandora’s Box of an ever-expanding, overweening government influence in our daily lives.

    Their ‘enlightened’ ideological parents created Frankenstein’s Monster, and now today’s progressives grow very quiet indeed when you point out that this product of allowing government to slip it’s chains has led to the Monster savaging the very people the ‘progressives’ claim to be so ‘concerned’ about.

    Verily, they remind me of HL Mencken’s observation:

    ““The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.”

    I’ve had enough of their efforts to ‘save’ me dear readers; how about you?

  27. #27 |  John P. | 

    The cops are showing the public just how brave they really are.

    Infact they are so brave they are shooting first and asking questions later. What you are seeing here is the simple fact the cops are terrified.

    They are blasting away at anyone who happened to move wrong. Regardless if they are armed or not.

    I am reminded of this article to support my claims…

    Half of L.A. County deputies’ ‘waistband shootings’ involve unarmed people

  28. #28 |  CTD | 

    “He made a motion for what looked to be an object in his waist band…”

    Bet. On. It.

  29. #29 |  el coronado | 

    They’ve lost Pat Robertson, they’ve lost my 75-year-old mom, they’ve lost all of us, they’ve lost most of my friends & neighbors……..

    And none of it matters one good damn. They don’t give a shit what we want/think/demand/vote for, they’re going to keep on with their corrupt, highly profitable little agenda now and forever. “Complain all you want, proles – but we better not catch you with/near/around/ drugs, or we’ll incarcerate you (for profit) and just might kill you, if we feel like it.”

    We all know how this is going to end: the killa cop is going to walk away scot-free; he won’t even be charged, in fact; there’s going to be more unarmed innocents/bystanders killed in “drug raids” every year; and the militarization of the cops & erosion of our liberties will proceed and accelerate on schedule. No getting around it: it’s just the way it is. Like gravity. It doesn’t care what you think, and you can’t negotiate with it – although gravity at least doesn’t expect us to pay for its shiny new toys and gold-plated pensions.

  30. #30 |  Dante | 

    “It is quite clear from the information presented that these unnecessary SWAT raids are getting more police officers killed than would otherwise happen”

    No argument there. The police are epic stupid. The point I make is that the police THINK these tactics enhance officer safety, and they say so as often as anyone asks. I also offer the point that serving the public is no longer one of their responsibilities. It has been replaced with their violent “officer safety” program, in which any and all who don’t have a police uniform must be killed.

  31. #31 |  SJE | 

    re: partisan name calling.

    We are right to call out Obama on his actions on behalf of the drug war, something on which Dems notably fail to do. The DEMS cannot claim to be for kindler gentler government when they allow, and fund, excesses of the police state.

    However, I also note that the GOP failed to call out the numerous cases of drug war death like this, yet claim to be the party of individual liberty, property rights, and defending ourselves against big govt. The GOP of Newt Gingrich and John Boehner say nothing about the daily slaughter, yet tried to crucify Clinton and Reno for government over-reaction with David Koresh and Ruby Ridge. They hate unions, except for the police union.

    I call a pox on both their houses.

  32. #32 |  el coronado | 


    Or, IOW, The Simpsons were right yet again. “Don’t blame me – I voted for Kodos!”

    The fix is in, the signs are everywhere. The GOP never once tried to undo the national ponzi scheme back when it was still small enough to kill. The infamous HUAC was started on the Democrats’ watch. Kennedy & LBJ got us into Vietnam, and Nixon cranked it to 11. The GOP – as usual – never tried to kill LBJ’s burgeoning welfare state, perhaps seeing its useful possibilities. Neither party has or will ever make any serious attempt to control the borders – except against US citizens trying to sneak a bottle of cheap booze back into the country. The 9-11 comedy show, unchallenged by both parties. The Iraq/Afghan/Gitmo adventure hour, loudly blasted by the dems, (after they voted for it, of course), but left in place when they took the reins. The hated Obamacare’s first pre-installment payment of a mere $500 billion or so came up after the GOP had retaken the house in ’10 – and they signed the check without so much as a whimper of complaint. Most importantly, the federal budget, and its powers, increases year after year, regular like clockwork – and both parties see this as right and proper.

    Kabuki theater 101.

  33. #33 |  contrarian | 

    “A while ago, I asked about people on the left who were opposed to the war on drugs (I only knew about libertarians) and there were some, but they were all comedians. No politicians.”

    Barney Frank. Politician — and comedian!

  34. #34 |  Whim | 

    Conservative Tele-Evangelist Pat Robertson today came out for the legalization of marijuana, terming the War on Drugs a failure.

    Here’s the cite in today’s Washington Post:

  35. #35 |  Whim | 

    Those with a strong, vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal are:

    –The Police (funding, overtime, and unbridled power over the public)
    –The Prosecutors (Power, Power, and still more Power to wreck peoples lives)
    –Jailors (it provides lots of jobs guarding weed smokers: 24 x 7 x 365)
    –The Jail and Prison Construction Industry (The Toughest of the Tough-On-Crime Construction Cartel)
    –The liquor industry (keeps out the competition)
    –The Rx drug industry (same as liquor industry)
    –Mexican Drug Lords
    –Drug Mules
    –Drug Dealers
    –The Manufacturer of “Baggies”.

  36. #36 |  Resistance | 

    Pigs went home safe to their families? What’s the problem?

  37. #37 |  fulin | 

    Hey Mike, can you just go back into your time machine and tell those officers the name of the suspect and let them know they already have in custody? And tell that kid to go out with some friends that night.

  38. #38 |  Johnny English | 

    Here in England we only give ‘License to Kill’ to our double-0 agents.

  39. #39 |  Personanongrata | 

    The police surveilled the house for 48 hoursThe warrant states that Jefferson Parish Sgt. John Pacaccio and NOPD Officer Michael Voltolina watched the house for a 48-hour period and saw several “hand-to-hand” drug transactions in the driveway and either didn’t know or didn’t care that there were five children living within Police said that five children, ranging in age from 1 to 14, were in the house at the time.

    The police not only placed the lives of the people residing within the home and surrounding neighborhood in danger with their poor lack of judgement and extreme depraved indifference to life they also placed their own lives in danger.

    And for what?

    Some marijuana. A young mans life was taken for absolutely no cause and his killer is likely to get off scotfree.

    Why couldn’t the police act in a professional manner and simply wait for someone to exit/enter the home and then serve the warrant without the need/use of violence?

  40. #40 |  Yoho | 

    I wonder if they will ever release where he was shot.

  41. #41 |  Sam | 

    This sickens me. So corrupt. Herb heals the nation. The drug war has made it a police state.

  42. #42 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    “fired a single shot” + fatality

    Sounds an awful lot like an execution to me.

  43. #43 |  marco73 | 

    Well the drug war has been lost, these are just the death throes. Terrible that this young man lost his life over it.
    Back in the 80’s when I was in college, I could have purchased pot, coke, or any variety of pills all over my college town.
    So 30 years later I believe that, if I was dropped off in any city in the nation with nothing but $1000 in my pocket, I could score pot, coke, meth, or pills in 48 hours.
    So what did the billions spend, the millions incarcerated, and the thousands dead buy us, exactly?

  44. #44 |  kwame | 

    In 1968 richard nixon declared an all new war on the black commUNITY under the disguise of “war on drugs” most black lawyers support this war on the black family because they are products of the nigger factory and are officers of the court. Most black people support the war on them selves because they have been programmed to believe that the war on drugs was created to make our communities safer, but a closer look at history and one can clearly see that prohibition does not work to make the streets safer. This foxhole is deep, but 4peace2b the drug war must end. All drugs should be in the drug store not on the street and marijuana is not a drug! Asha

  45. #45 |  JOR | 

    “So what did the billions spend, the millions incarcerated, and the thousands dead buy us, exactly?”

    Exactly what “we” (the government, its “private” partners, and its badgelicking sycophants) meant to gain by it all along: power.

  46. #46 |  GreginOz | 

    Tragedy. You know, here in Oz, my lady & I went late last year to see an amateur production of the play Caberet, by a local theatre group. It was actually really good! You might remember the movie of the same name, starring Liza Minelli (who was once married to the very gay Aussie, Peter Allen incidentally;-).

    It was the story of an American in Berlin circa 1938, as the drums of war began. Seriously, if I visited the USA today, that play is the lense through which I would view your once great country. Just swap Muslims (& pot smokers) for the Jews in the story…

    And another thing; it always amazed me how the Jews in Nazi Germany LET the Holocaust happen. They were in a state of disbelief, I guess, that their very own Government would suspend its very morality. Oh sure, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising happened but German Jews stood passively in lines to climb on to those dreadful death camp trains.

    It seems to me that US citizens are having their very own boiling frog moment…

  47. #47 |  GreginOz | 


  48. #48 |  Classical Values » “high-stress, terrifying situations,” in search of certain plants | 

    […] Radley Balko, I learned about another SWAT Team raid in which an unarmed man was shot to death. The reason for […]

  49. #49 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    So what did the billions spend, the millions incarcerated, and the thousands dead buy us, exactly?

    The war on drugs isn’t about providing YOU with anything.

    The bailouts aren’t about bailing YOU out.

    The war on terror isn’t about making YOU safe.

    See a trend?

  50. #50 |  M. Simon | 

    It is explained here:

    and here: