Suit: Minn. drug training program violated rights
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Six people who say they were given drugs as part of a now-suspended program that taught police how to recognize signs of drug use have sued the state of Minnesota and several law enforcement agencies, alleging the program was an "unethical clinical trial" that treated participants like "guinea pigs."
The lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota alleges the Drug Recognition Evaluators program violated plaintiffs' rights and targeted protesters and vulnerable people.
The program trains officers how to detect and remove impaired drivers from the road. An investigation was launched last spring after some Occupy Minneapolis activists accused police of offering them marijuana and incentives to participate. The protesters posted a video online to back up their claims.
The investigation found there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges. The program remains suspended pending a review by the Department of Public Safety.
DPS spokesman Bruce Gordon said he could not discuss specifics of pending litigation, but added: "We are committed to restoring public confidence in this important program."
The lawsuit alleges the program was "essentially an unethical clinical trial whereby armed police officers provided vulnerable members of the public with substantial quantities of marijuana ... encouraged them to get high, observed them, and then abandoned them while they were still high."