Busted by the cops at the burn

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Busted by the cops at the burn

Postby ubu » Tue Sep 02, 2003 3:50 pm

We had BLM rangers come into our dome and bust a few of us because they saw they say someone smoking from a pipe.

they searched a few people and the premises without asking for consent.
i guess they figured they had reasonable suspicion and probable cause.
now i dont think they had either, but they rolled us over like dead salmon and searched everyone in the dome. most were just drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, but one fellow had his salvia, a legal herb, siezed.

we had a lawyer in our dome, who talked the rangers down. tickets were issued to four people for marijuana possession and some was siezed.

my question is about the wording on the tickets, my lawyer was curious as well about the wording. it does not say, i plead guilty or i plead no contest, it only says i wish to terminate this matter by paying the above fine of $250. strange indeed. so this does not result in any record at all? just a fine? will anything show up in their NCIC records? does anyone know out there?

there was plenty wrong that the cops did, but the lawyer says it is not worth raising a ruckus about, unless. unless it affects the records and immigration status of these members or our camp. they are foreign nationals and I am concerned about their fate. I warned them not to smoke outside but told them it was ok inside our dome. apparently not.
i feel like i should have warned them more emphatically.


be careful out there next time!

as someone who have been involved in this thingy since the early nineties and has not been back in a few years, i was disheartened to see this kind of over policing and surveillance. makes me never want to go back.
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Postby Red Woman » Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:42 pm

Your story sounds like a complete drag. Here's another one. Some Newbies flew in from Japan - completely adorable - about 10 of them - enthusiastically set up camp across from ours. They had some of the coolest costumes, camp decor, decorated bikes, I'd ever seen. Jumped right into the spirit of BM with both feet (whatever that is...). One night a camp behind theirs set off some fireworks. The BLM was over there with lights flashing. While passing through the Japanese kids' camp to get to fireworks camp, BLM Man noticed a joint being rolled, busted the PERP, handcuffed the whole lot of them, and shipped them out of camp. This was on Tuesday night... I'm not suggesting that we have different rules for "foreigners" - but give me a break. They probably thought drugs were OK at BM and not punishable by a trip to the Gerlach Pen. Seems like a warning would have been more appropriate. It seemed to me they were sacrificial lambs in the ongoing effort to maintain a BM permit for upcoming burns??? Any thoughts?
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Postby precipitate » Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:05 pm

> They probably thought drugs were OK at BM and not punishable by a trip to the Gerlach Pen.

Since when is being a foreigner an excuse for not knowing the laws of the country you're in? Yeah, it sucks a lot to get busted (and the arrest should have been limited to the person(s) actually possessing or smoking marijuana, not to everyone in the vicinity), but that's the risk you take by doing something illegal. Ignorance has never been an excuse. And Nevada takes its drug laws very seriously. Besides, this was all outlined very clearly in the Survival Guide.
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the first timers from Japan

Postby firepoet » Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:14 pm

Turns out some of them were camped with us. Red Woman's account is accurate, however, the good news is that for whatever reasons they were let off with a warning.
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Anti-gay busts

Postby Eric » Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:55 pm

I know of 3 guys who were busted in the chill room of Space Virgins for (and I quote): "Infamous Crimes Against Nature"- they were naked, like some straight couples who were there, and were engaged in touchy-feely and some oral sex. When they left the dome, they were handcuffed, taken to Lovelock, held in the County jail for 12 hours, then had all charges dismissed against them the next day, and were driven back to BM.

Just more harrassment against gays by the Nevada police?

Never forget this is Utopia in Rural Nevada (to quote my infamous editor)

Grrrrr.
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Survival Guide was full of helpful reminders

Postby manberne » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:28 pm

I'm glad I read it on the way up this year....when we arrived Saturday night the 25th or so, one of our campmates had already been busted. The BLM police strolled through our camp in the dark a few more times that night. A few of our campmates confronted them with the LURKING and I didn't see them again around the camp again which was GOOD.

So I was reminded how vigilant they are. So the first night we were out on the playa (after a good day and a half of building infrastructure for opera camp), I brought just what we were going to use...a joint to celebrate our hard work. Well....after dancing the kinks out of our legs, a few of us went off into the dark to discreetly smoke the doobie...towards the end of it...the lights came on and here came the LAW. After eating the rest of what was in my hand, I wasn't worried...no evidence. The police were respectful and searched us but found nothing but told me they were being sneaky and would bust us out on the playa if they found anything. WHile he couldn't condone what we were doing, he said just do it behind closed doors in the camp.

It was a good reminder to do anything in camp before going out..little inconvenient but not as inconvenient as getting a ticket or going to jail for some hours....
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Postby nymphgonebad » Wed Sep 03, 2003 11:41 pm

i can only give this advice: treat the pigs as peers. it loosens them up and makes them less likely to run around busting peeple.

i was walking around, wearing nothing but sunglasses and a cowboy hat, around 7 am sat morn and was approached by a photojournalist snapping photos for a magazine article entitled "desert diversity". he asked if he could take some pictures and as we were walking across the lane a cruiser with the washoe county sherrif's dept pulled up. i waved and as they stopped to say hello, i asked if they'd had breakfast, and offered them a breakfast smoothie. they were so pleased, i could tell, and they never bothered us.

the photographer, whose name wa steve, got some pictures of me talking to the cops. i asked him to e-mail me a copy - i'm going to call it "the princess and the pigs".
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Postby ubu » Thu Sep 04, 2003 10:54 am

BLM had night vision goggles.

rumor has it that things may be on a rez next year so this may be moot, but those that go back could also get some night vision goggles and set up a neighborhood cop watch program kind of modeled on crimewatch but the reverse. could be kind of humorous and helpful to the unawares.

We were accosted and searched *in* our camp. the BLM code advises its officers to use discretion and authorizes them to issue warnings instead of tickets, so they do have the leeway to not bust people, and they really should not be busting people for something as trivial as marijuana. The local BLM superior has instead gone out of his way to tell his officers to bust people left and right, as that shows toughness, and improves their statistics.

They did put special focus on the foreign nationals in our camp and that had a kind of creepy post 9/11 aspect to it.

the did not take special care to follow proper procedure because they know that the 250 per schedule 1 controlled substance means no one will bother challenging their procedure in a court of law unless they are a john gillmore or something.

thanks precipitate for that comment about ignorance being no excuse for breaking the law, that really helps. fact is, these officers do have discretion and can just issue warnings.
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Postby precipitate » Thu Sep 04, 2003 11:04 am

> thanks precipitate for that comment about ignorance being no excuse for breaking the law, that really helps.

Yer welcome. Had everyone followed my advice, this thread wouldn't exist, now would it?
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Postby ubu » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:06 pm

another brilliant comment. you're either a cop or a genius or both.
or perhaps all the marijuana you have not smoked has kept that mind of your so razor keen. kudos to you.

We had the dubious distinction of being the coolest bust on the playa (in the cops' words), and we had to unstick the cops from some of our more attractive female camp members who they were spending a little too long trying to search. We had a lawyer as well, which helped the cops calm down.

It does not take a genius of your caliber precip, however, to note that we were indeed, breaking the law when people were smoking marijuana in our camp, and that not until we get our legislators to change the laws around marijuana use, will we be free of harassment in public and private spaces.

Nonetheless, bm llc, made a conscious decision a few years ago to let blm patrol the site, and to disallow firearms, etc. that may or may not have been the right decision. when there were firearms, you never saw a ranger jump into a camp unannounced like they do now. BLM is fully capable of not so strictly patrolling the campsites, regardless of what people are doing inside their domiciles, but the cost is so low, that people just roll over and let them harrass them, and ticket them.

if we had firearms, they would not come into our camps. not to suggest that firearms are the answer. some degree of respect that did not come from the barrel of a gun would be the answer. And of course, an end to the irrational war on drugs would also be an answer.
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Postby III » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:19 pm

>Nonetheless, bm llc, made a conscious decision a few years ago to let blm patrol the site, and to disallow firearms, etc.

right around the same time they explicitly declared that black rock city was subject to state and fedral laws, in particular citing those involving illegal drugs.
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Postby precipitate » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:32 pm

> not until we get our legislators to change the laws around marijuana use

Which effort I applaud and support. But until that happens, don't expect me to be sympathetic to you for getting busted.

Why is it that I must be a 'genius' or a cop to believe that, in a place you know to be patrolled specifically for drug use by law enforcement, you should expect to be surveilled and perhaps arrested should you break those drug laws? Sounds like common sense to me. Frankly I find it funny when people go whining about getting a ticket for something they know to be illegal. Idiot tax.

For what it's worth, if you were illegally searched I agree that it sucks and it'd be nice to be able to do something about that. I don't think that LEOs should be able to do whatever they want with impunity. I've been treated unfairly by cops before, and nothing feels worse than that helpless feeling. If it's feasible I do believe you should file a complaint. If no one complains (through legal channels), then nothing will ever be done about it.
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Postby blyslv » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:39 pm

One of my campmates made me promise not to start any conversations with LEO when my eyes were as big as saucers. Pretty good advice that...
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Postby Zane5100 » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:51 pm

ubu wrote:if we had firearms, they would not come into our camps.


Oh yes they would.

And you would not like their entrance procedures.

The "no firearms" rule is for more for your protection then for the cops.
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Postby emily sparkle » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:10 pm

friends of friends of ours were busted by blm because they saw a bong in a tent. hassled multiple people who were camped in the area, but only fined one person i think.

if you're going to use drugs out there, you need to be responsible for what you do, in all ways, at all times.
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Postby manberne » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:11 pm

princess strych-9 wrote:the photographer, whose name wa steve, got some pictures of me talking to the cops. i asked him to e-mail me a copy - i'm going to call it "the princess and the pigs".


"the princess and the pigs"
This made me grin...good job on the inclusion...my dad was a cop and most of them are good at what they do...the few I met at BMAN were pretty respectful.

I think this could be series of photos...I hope you post it.
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Postby eli eli eli » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:21 pm

self pity ubu
matters not how cool you are
must still pay the price

don't ya hate it when
others show your logic flaws?
stop whinin, willya?

broken rules are that
any sympathy i had
burned into ashes
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Postby ubu » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:23 pm

fair enough precip. You've got it exactly right. I'm not whining.

I was, at first curious, about the relative decriminalization of posession of schedule 1 controlled substances on federal lands, but I've researched it and that seems to be the standard across all federally patrolled property.
i also see that the termination language on the tickets is a part of the standard petty offense protocol used on federal lands as well. this can include camping in the wrong place on blm land, riding outside the perimeter at bm, collecting artifacts where designated improper, speeding, etc.

It is still up to the discretion of the commanding LEO just what kind of tack the officers take and to what degree they root around in campsites, how far they push the illegal searching, to what degree they issue warnings or give tickets, etc.

These rangers were extremely clever, or the senior officer was, in that even though he pushed the line, he was polite as he bent the procedural rules. They are clearly trained and nothing they are doing is without the command and consent of their senior officers. Of that I'm sure.

They know what they are doing, and the local federal magistrate judge would most likely side with the officers if one bothered to take one of these petty 250 fines to court. You'd probably be out much more than 250 including lawyer fees, if you bothered to contest, hence very little complaint and very little contest. a perfect game. the officers said as much to me when i talked with them. they out and out called it a game.

what was not clear in the survival guide was that you do not indeed have the right to expect even reasonable privacy at burning man; perhaps most do, but one must beware of surveillance and invasion of privacy. I think that something to that effect should be added to the guide in the future. it probably will not, because nothing too provocative ever makes into the survival guide.

Caveat Lector.
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Postby eli eli eli » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:30 pm

check your reading skills
my viewpoint is similar
my person is not
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Postby ubu » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:30 pm

before I asked for any sympathy eli, i'd ask the gods to teach you how to write, i'd ask them to give you an ounce of creativity, or at least one neuron that fired properly.

I sure hope *you* don't take any drugs or drink any alcohol, cause you don't seem to have any neurons left. If bad poetry were against the law, we'd have left you in the gerlach jail with your mouth taped over. ha!
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Postby Zane5100 » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:32 pm

ubu wrote:before I asked for any sympathy eli, i'd ask the gods to teach you how to write, i'd ask them to give you an ounce of creativity, or at least one neuron that fired properly.


So, do haiku poems usually annoy you?
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Postby precipitate » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:35 pm

Or are you just feeling twitchy because the Feds took your last baggie?
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Postby ubu » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:38 pm

I can abide by irrational drug laws better than i can witless poetry!
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Postby Zane5100 » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:41 pm

define "witless"
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Postby precipitate » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:42 pm

> discretion of the commanding LEO

Burning Man is a high-profile event for law enforcement. Nevada (I repeat) takes its drug laws very seriously. What incentive could there be for them to take a more lenient approach for drug offenses? I see your point that things <i>could</i> have been handled differently. But I don't think it's really resonable to expect that they <i>will</i> be handled differently in the future.

As for reasonable expectation of privacy, I think that the only safe bets are inside a completely closed tent or completely closed RV, with little or no external visibility into the structure. You were inside a dome, if I recall correctly? Doesn't count as a domicile, therefore it isn't "private" from law enforcement. And someone (emily sparkle? someone else?) mentioned that seeing a bong inside a tent was taken as grounds for search.

I know this is getting boring, but I'm going to fall back on this old saw: If you're doing something illegal, you should have a reasonable expectation of being cited for it.
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Postby Zane5100 » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:46 pm

In other words, don't give them anything that can be used as probable cause.
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Postby III » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:48 pm

>ounce of creativity

i'm quite sure that i'm not the only one who thinks that nipples has more creativity than the rest of the eplaya regulars put together. even on his worst day, he's more entertaining than your pathetic whining.
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Postby eli eli eli » Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:00 pm

witless? no matter
guess i got my point across
no grey matter spilled
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Postby eli eli eli » Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:01 pm

thank you, III
you are right, nipples is prime
i try to keep up
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Postby III » Thu Sep 04, 2003 4:08 pm

my bad. i meant fish spanker.
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