Message from Kevin Zeese
Day Six: A Nighttime Encounter; A Day in the Countryside
September 27, 2000
Day Six began at the end of Day Five. At midnight Brian McCullough, a Kentucky marijuana reform activist called in to Jodi and me (we had just turned off the computer after sending an email to Nora Callahan of the November Coalition and Tony Newman of Lindesmith-DPF) alerting us, saying: "Chiefs -- we have a situation . . . there are three police vehicles outside."
After our most intense day of police conflict, we were expecting the worst. Jodi came out with the courage of her convictions and asked the Brenham officers what they were doing here so late at night? Brian, Michael Krawitz, of Patients Out of Time and Virginians Against Drug Violence, and photographer Michael Marco quickly explained to us that this was a friendly visit. The officers were curious about the issues and wanted to discuss our views.
We ended up having a two-hour, personal teach-in with each officer -- we each learned from the other. I talked to an African American officer, Lloyd Powell, who had a Bachelors degree from Grambling and a Masters from Louisiana State. Our conversation ranged widely from treatment vs. prison, to the gateway theory, racism in drug enforcement, preventing adolescent abuse and the Dutch experience.
Brian bonded with an officer by sharing his Marine background -- similar to the officer he was talking with -- then further bonded by explaining how the people who oppose reform most are those who profit from it -- gangs and cartels. He noted that reformers and police had a common enemy.
Sadly, but understandably, they all told us they would arrest anyone in possession of marijuana. We gave them some literature and URL's and told them they could read about this experience and the rest of the Journey on our web sites.
When I was returning from a morning walk today a police car was pulling up to the Journey caravan. This time Brian and I approached them with less suspicion. Once again they were there to hear about our views and discuss the issues. They had heard from their colleagues who had visited us the night before about their experience.
The day went without incident, except for a drained battery in one RV and a transmission problem with a car from Brownsville that joined us in the middle of the Journey.
In the evening we were in Giddings, preparing for our Austin arrival tomorrow when we received a call that the police had stopped a crew that was passing out literature and speaking through a speaker. Jodi, Mary Mackenzie of Arizona NORML and I drove to the scene. By the time we arrived there were three police cars, they had the license and insurance information of one of our people. While we there one of the officers received a radio call saying something along the lines of: "if those are the people going through Texas in a marijuana caravan leave them alone."
Tomorrow we will rally at the Giddings County Courthouse and conclude the day in Austin.
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