State police went grossly overboard of their pursuit of a marijuana suspect whose physique was discovered beneath a bulldozer that authorities used to seek for him in thick brush, a hashish advocacy group stated Thursday.
Officers with the Nationwide Group for the Reform of Marijuana Legal guidelines (NORML) blasted state police for calling in a helicopter and commandeering a Pennsylvania Sport Fee bulldozer as they tracked Gregory Longenecker, 51, who’d fled legislation enforcement on state recreation lands about 10 miles from his hometown of Studying. Police stated they discovered 10 marijuana vegetation on the scene.
“We merely can not perceive how a person is useless over an investigation involving 10 hashish vegetation,” stated Patrick Nightingale, government director of NORML’s Pittsburgh chapter and a former Allegheny County prosecutor. “The entire investigation was ridiculous. I’ve seen legislation enforcement take down main heroin traffickers that haven’t engaged on this stage of aggression.”
A state police inside investigation is underway. The unidentified trooper who rode the bulldozer has been positioned on administrative obligation pending the end result, stated a state police spokesman, Cpl. Adam Reed, who declined additional remark.
The chase developed Monday morning after a recreation fee employee who had been clearing brush noticed a parked automobile he thought regarded suspicious and known as native police, who, in flip, contacted state police.
One suspect was arrested by the Bernville police chief, however Longenecker eluded seize.
A state police helicopter noticed him within the underbrush, and the sport fee employee, with a trooper aboard, used the bulldozer to blaze a path in pursuit. The chopper overpassed him, and the trooper instructed the employee to cease the machine, in line with a state police account. That’s once they noticed his physique.
Patrick Nightingale, lawyer and government director of NORML Pittsburgh
“That’s so thick up there, there isn’t any method that you would see somebody mendacity in there,” Trooper David Beohm, a state police spokesman, instructed reporters shortly after the chase.
Post-mortem outcomes had been pending. It remained unclear Thursday whether or not Longenecker was killed by the bulldozer or died shortly beforehand of another trigger.
The marijuana advocacy group questioned the necessity to pursue Longenecker within the first place, given the comparatively small amount of marijuana concerned and the truth that authorities had the opposite man beneath arrest. NORML stated it was outrageous for state police to make use of a bulldozer in an space the place Longenecker had fled.
“What was so exhausting about asking the man you had in custody what his buddy’s identify is? What was so exhausting about operating the plates of the car that drew their consideration to the world? What was so exhausting about ripping up the (marijuana) vegetation?” stated Nightingale, a protection lawyer.
The second suspect, David B. Mild, 55, of Sinking Spring, was charged with drug offenses. Mild’s legal professional, who has additionally beforehand represented Longenecker, didn’t instantly return a telephone message. It wasn’t clear whether or not Longenecker’s household has employed a lawyer.
Jeff Riedy, government director of the Lehigh Valley chapter of NORML, stated the marijuana vegetation possible had a avenue worth of beneath $5,000.
“I doubt they had been even planning to promote this on the road. In the event you’re a client of marijuana, 10 vegetation is nothing,” he stated. “Ten vegetation isn’t even going to get you thru the 12 months.”