Armed Police Storm School in Drug Raid

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Nov 8, 2003.

  1. Armed Police Storm School in Drug Raid
    Fri, Nov 7, 2003

    On Thursday, November 6, armed police stormed into Stratford High School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, ordering children to the floor at gunpoint to search for drugs. Students who did not do as they were told were handcuffed. This violent raid on innocent children has prompted groups against the war on drugs to call for an end to scare tactics that violate the civil rights of America's young people.

    “It sounds like the police and the principal forgot what country they're living in,” said Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Since when do we send armed police officers into schools to terrorize schoolchildren? If there had been a sniper or a hostage situation in the school one might understand, but it's hard to see any reason for the use of such police-state tactics.”

    The Alliance called for the resignation of whoever was responsible for this “gross violation of civil rights,” said Nadelmann, whether it was the high school principal or the police chief.

    “Sending armed troops into schools creates far more danger than any potential threat of drug use,” Nadelmann continued. “The local police and this principal seem to have lost all sense of proportionality. They should resign immediately and be diverted into a refresher course on the Bill of Rights. If ever we needed evidence that the war on drugs has gone too far, this is it.”
  2. ahh i was about to post that too. yeah that it totally fucked up, in VA theyre not aloud to bring the dogs in contact with students, i thought that would be a nationwide law not just state, but i guess not

    heres a video of it
  3. I didn't realise, that Goose Creek, S. Carolina, is one of the MAJOR coke and heroin producers in the world? Did our diligent authorities deduce that it was all coming from the boys bathroom! I have a feeling Barney Fyfe got transferred from Mayberry, to Raliegh, to Goose Creek.

    How sad! That is ridiculous. I guess we won't need Halloween anymore, since all kids have to do now is go to school to get scared. I'd bet 10 bucks, that says they spent more on this 'raid' on the schoool, than they spent on books and supplies for the school.
  4. I'm damn glad I dropped outta school. That's some fucked up shizzle.

  5. I hate to sound extreme, but I am real tired of this war on drugs. I hope every DEA agent and any pig who has engaged in the war on drugs go straight to hell. They are worthless wastes of space and are nothing but a drag on our society. Those cops could have been doing something constructive, instead they try to interfere with some little weed dealer in a high school. Whole war on dgrugs thing is completely ridiculous. So much wasted manpower and money.
  6. Pubdate: Wed, 12 Nov 2003
    Source: Post and Courier, The (Charleston, SC)
    Copyright: 2003 Evening Post Publishing Co.
    Author: Seanna Adcox, of the Post and Courier Staff
    Note: Phillip Caston of The Post and Courier staff contributed to this report.
    Also: A two page flyer - as a .pdf file - suitable for printing and distribution everywhere - is already being distributed in Goose Creek. It is available at
    Cited: South Carolina branch, American Civil Liberties Drug Policy Litigation Project
    Students for Sensible Drug Policy


    Parents Address School Board, Goose Creek Officials

    MONCKS CORNER--Parents demanded accountability Tuesday for last week's drug raid at Stratford High School, in which police officers charged into the school with guns drawn.

    Some called for the resignation of Principal George McCrackin for inviting police into Berkeley County's largest school.

    "I'm angry," Sharon Smalls, parent of a 14-year-old at Stratford High, said during the Berkeley County School Board meeting. "My child was slammed to the ground with a gun to his head. These police had to be invited into Stratford. Someone has to take responsibility."

    In Goose Creek, discussion of the Stratford High School incident was brief at the City Council meeting Tuesday night with only one person in the crowd speaking out against the police actions. "They way overstated the problem," said Rick Porter of Goose Creek. "It was scare tactic for the kids, and it
    scared them. It worked."

    Parents complained that City Council and the school board met at the same time, which didn't allow them to attend both meetings. Both were regularly scheduled meetings.

    About 100 people packed the school board room and eight parents spoke for 45 minutes. When tempers flared, board Chairwoman Harriet Dangerfield said Smalls had a right to be angry. Others murmured support as speakers complained.

    Parent Ronald Stafford wanted assurances that something like this wouldn't happen again. He said he thinks students need trauma counselors and called for accountability.

    "I hope someone is disciplined. If that includes firing, so be it," said the Rev. Richard Harkness, whose children attend schools in Moncks Corner.

    "There's got to be a change" in the school's administration, said parent Katherine Lee, whose son attends Stratford.Dangerfield asked speakers not to call McCrackin, other administrators or students by name, warning that she would call them out of order.

    "There's a state statute in school law that says if any administrator is aware or suspects criminal activity, he is required by law to report it to law enforcement," Superintendent Chester Floyd said before parents spoke.

    "I do believe we have people who want us to do everything we can to have a safe environment. I don't believe these particular tactics are acceptable. I am sure everyone is going to learn some lessons from this," he said.

    Stratford High School freshman Cedric Penn, one of the students in the hall, said officers waved a gun in his face. At first, he thought it was a terrorist attack, he said.

    "They didn't have to do all that," he said.

    Parents said board members were not giving them the answers they wanted. Louis Smith called the incident "racial profiling." Dangerfield said the district is investigating all aspects of the raid. "You'll have the answers when we have the answers," she said.

    Board member Frank Wright, who is black, said he was very bothered by the police action.

    "The numbers did not look very good," he said. "I can tell you I'm very sorry."

    Fourteen officers entered the main hallway of the school at 6:45 a.m. Nov. 5, several with guns drawn. Of the 107 students in the hall, officers restrained about a dozen in plastic handcuffs.

    Goose Creek police Lt. Dave Aarons has said officers put students who failed to "respond to repeated police instruction" in "flex-cuffs," though students and their parents counter that officers restrained them for no reason.

    At the City Council meeting, five people in attendance voiced support for the police and their drug raid, with most citing that the police were trained professionally to handle the situation.

    "They know what they're doing," said Patty Kinard, 59, whose son is a senior at Stratford High. "I praise (Stratford Principal) George McCrackin for keeping my boy safe."

    Kinard said her son was not in the hallway during the raid, but that she would not have minded if he was among those ordered on the ground by police.

    "I know my boy is innocent," she said.

    Mayor Michael Heitzler told the crowd that while the City Council is concerned about the incident, nothing will be done until the State Law Enforcement Division investigation is complete. Then, he said, council might consider consulting outside agencies for advice.

    "We will see this thing to the end," Heitzler said.

    Heitzler said he and the council have not taken a stance on the incident.

    He has also asked the police chief and officers not to comment publicly on the issue, he said.

    While parental anger over the raid was the presiding sentiment at the school board meeting, district officials have backed McCrackin, principal of the school since it opened in 1983.

    McCrackin went to Aarons two days before the raid with suspicions of drug activity, supported by student information and four days of surveillance video, both said.

    The officers deployed after McCrackin signaled that the suspected students had taken their normal positions, Aarons said.

    A police dog smelled drug residue on 12 backpacks, but officers found no drugs and made no arrests. Aarons said last week that he suspected someone tipped off the students by cell phone and that officers drew guns for safety reasons because weapons often accompany drugs and large amounts of money.

    Floyd said at Monday's press conference that if police truly had suspected students had weapons, then he hoped officers would have isolate those students outside, not inside the school with other students.

    Floyd said neither McCrackin nor any district official knew police would come in with guns drawn.

    Though Aarons has stressed that not all officers came in with guns, Floyd said even one gun would draw concern.

    "I don't want parents and students to worry whether they will face that sort of thing on any given morning, " he said.

    District officials repeatedly have declined to take an official position on whether police acted correctly.

    Floyd reminded parents Tuesday that the State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the police, not the district.

    Parents felt black students had been unfairly targeted by the raid. About 70 percent of the 107 students in the hall were black, McCrackin has said.

    By that morning hour, two buses from predominately black neighborhoods have dropped students at the school, he said.

    About 22 percent of the school's nearly 2,700 students are black, said Dave Barrow, the district's high schools supervisor. No one intentionally targeted any group, Floyd said.

    The parents of a handful of students involved in the raid have called the South Carolina branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, said chapter president Dayna Balcome.

    She said she plans to assist representatives of the Connecticut-based ACLU Drug Policy Litigation Project, who will travel to Goose Creek this week to investigate whether the group should sue.

    Members of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) also plan to come to Goose Creek this week to meet with students and parents, and to organize a public forum. More than 200 college chapters make up the group.
  7. No Sh*t! That is f*cked. SC is a great state, but it seems like they've got too many cops w/time on their hands....its one thing to shake down adults, but going into the schools it totally outa line! I hope the principal gets his as* handed to him on a platter & the cops get sued by the parents...I usually hate lawsuits, but this one is deserving!

  8. Thanks for the update on the story RMJL! This sounds exactly like a story from a history book, about the Nazi's. So Crazy!!
  9. ---------------------------------------------------
    Newshawk: The DARE Generation
    Pubdate: Tue, 18 Nov 2003
    Source: Good 5 Cent Cigar (RI Edu)
    Copyright: 2003 Good 5 Cent Cigar
    Author: Tom Angell
    (Goose Creek)
    Bookmark: (Drug Raids)

    Bookmark: (Youth)


    Every night in America, parents ask their children,
    "What did you do at school today?" Rarely do students
    respond by saying they had guns pulled on them by
    police officers.

    Unfortunately, this is exactly what students of
    Stratford High School in Goose Creek, S.C. told their
    parents on Wednesday, Nov. 5. Earlier that morning,
    14 officers of the law stormed the school with guns
    drawn and ordered students to lie on the ground and
    submit to a drug search. No drugs were found.

    This incident is highly shocking to most parents and
    students. However, it is a manifestation of a
    disturbing but relatively unnoticed trend. The War on
    Drugs has negatively affected America's youth at an
    alarmingly increasing rate.

    Most obviously, Drug War spending has increased at a
    much greater rate than spending for public schools and
    higher education. From 1973 to 1993, state
    corrections spending increased 1,200 percent, while
    state expenditures for higher education increased only
    419 percent. Between 1990 and 1994, only seven states
    increased spending on higher education, while 36
    states increased spending on corrections programs.

    That the War on Drugs has turned into a War on
    Education is clearly evidenced by a 1998 amendment to
    the Higher Education Act ( HEA ). The HEA Drug
    Provision prohibits students with any drug convictions
    from receiving federal financial aid for college.
    How, exactly, does taking away opportunities for
    education from young people who have gotten into
    trouble with drugs make society a better and safer

    Schools themselves should be environments for learning
    and personal growth. Unfortunately, thanks to
    misguided drug policies, schools have been infested
    with unnecessary distractions, such as drug raids like
    the one at Stratford High. Additionally, faulty drug
    education programs, such as DARE saturate our children
    with misinformation and scare tactics. Increasingly
    prevalent drug testing programs create unhealthy
    atmospheres of mistrust between students and

    Sadly, it often takes extreme incidents like police
    officers pointing guns in the faces of 14-year-old
    ninth graders to awaken the public to underlying
    societal injustices.

    Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of the recent
    incident in South Carolina is that the early-morning
    raid took place at 6:40 a.m., a time when only
    students from minority districts had been bussed in to
    the school. This flagrant bigotry is an inherent part
    of the War on Drugs.

    Stratford Principal George McCrackin, who ordered the
    raid, has stated that he'd do it again if he had to.
    He also maintains that while it may have been an
    inconvenience to some students, "there's a valuable
    experience there."

    As far as I'm concerned, the only valuable experience
    associated with this Gestapo-like raid is that the
    students who were present now know first-hand how
    outlandish the War on Drugs is, and will likely join
    or start chapters of Students for Sensible Drug Policy
    ( ) when they get to college. In fact,
    SSDP's National Office recently sent one of our Board
    members to scope out the situation on the ground in
    Goose Creek. Right now, he is organizing with
    students and parents who are concerned about the raid.
    Hopefully, there will soon be an SSDP chapter at
    Stratford High School making sure that nothing like
    this happens ever again.

    Ironically, Drug War proponents often state that we
    must continue to escalate the War on Drugs in order to
    protect our nation's children from the horrors of drug
    use. While no one wants to see young people abusing
    drugs ( except, perhaps, companies that profit from
    teen drug use, such as Philip Morris or Coca-Cola ),
    it is clear that the policies that purport to protect
    our children only expose them to increased harm.

    This point hits right at the heart of SSDP's
    importance. As young citizens, we are here to say
    that the Drug War has not kept us safe. It has, in
    fact, harmed us by diverting public funding from
    societal necessities like schools and healthcare to
    wasteful institutions such as the prison industrial
    complex and the drug testing industry. SSDP is here
    to send the message that the leaders of our nation can
    no longer wage this failed war in our names.

    Tom Angell
    Co-President URI SSDP
  10. I know that I am throwing a lot of info into this one thread but I wanted to keep it all together.

    Loretta Nall sent out this email of her interaction with the students and others of Goose Creek. She is the President of the US Marijuana Party and the President of the Alabama Marijuana Party and also a Pot TV News Anchor. I wanted to share this. *RMJL

    Greetings All,

    I returned home from South Carolina yesterday after a week of interaction
    with parents, students and locals. I am going to start on day one and write
    everything I can remember about what happened.

    Day 1

    Day one was spent laying the groundwork for the next few days and
    familiarizing myself with the layout of the area. I drove to the school,
    called all the local media and tried to locate parents and students who
    wanted to talk.

    I had a lot of help from various people on these lists and forums. Thank
    you so much for the web of support that you provided. My task would have
    been near impossible without you.

    Day 2

    I woke up very early and hit the Kinko's across town to print up fliers for
    the students. I arrived at the school around 7 am and was denied access by
    police who were patrolling school grounds. I felt very unsafe and
    intimidated so I followed orders and left school grounds. I drove to a gas
    station behind the school so I could come up with Plan B as I had no
    intentions of leaving without interviews and alerting the parents and
    students that we were there to offer whatever assistance we could.

    I went into the gas station and talked to the cashier who looked to be a
    recent high school graduate. We discussed the raid and I asked her what she
    thought about it. She, like the majority of people I spoke to, was
    horrified. She took about 50 fliers and told me that she would hand them
    out to the kids who came in there all the time. I asked her where would be
    a good safe place to catch some of them at lunch or after school and she
    pointed to the back of the Food Lion grocery store.

    So I proceed to the back of Food Lion and wait until lunchtime. I was
    wearing a press badge that said "Pot TV News", had fliers for the kids and
    my camera at the ready. As soon as lunch let out swarms of students came
    across from the school and I began handing out fliers. They were leery of
    me at first....then they saw "Pot TV News" and once they determined that I
    was on their side they opened up and interacted with me in a way that I
    never expected.

    I have incredible footage of this that will be on Pot TV today or tomorrow.
    CNN would pay big bucks to have this and I am glad our community has
    exclusive coverage that the networks were not able or willing to get.

    I gave out about 200 fliers and interviewed as many kids as I could. I
    listened to them and they had a great deal to say.

    I told them to meet me back there on Friday at the same time because I
    would have Dan Goldman from SSDP with me.

    Day 3

    Dan and I connect by phone and work out our plans for the day.

    I don't know whose idea it was to send Dan Goldman to South Carolina but
    thank you a million times over for sending him to me.

    Dan is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. He is energetic,
    very articulate, full of marvelous ideas, very humorous and just downright
    brilliant. We clicked right away and I couldn't have done nearly as much
    without his help and ideas. He has a way with the students that is just
    REMARKABLE. You couldn't have picked a better person to send there for that
    job. I hope that Dan and I get the chance to work together a lot more in
    the future.

    He and I met up at Kinko's and worked out what would be on the banner for
    the police protest the next day.

    Unfortunately, Dan and I were delayed and we missed the group of students
    on Friday. However, when we did arrive at school the teachers and some
    students were involved in a rally in support of George McCrackin.

    As a lifelong Alabamian I am painfully familiar with racism and I thought
    nothing I would ever see anywhere that had to do with racism would shock
    me. I was wrong.

    On one side of the rally there were around 100 white parents, students and
    teachers with signs that said "We Love McCrackin..Honk if you do too" and
    similar slogans. Cars, trucks, vans and even a fire truck drove by blaring
    horns and yelling out the windows. Not one black person was on the "We
    Support McCrackin" side.

    About 20 feet away there were a total of 6 black parents and students who
    opposed McCrackin. They held signs that said "Give Us Justice" and
    "McCrackin Must Go". I talked with some of them and generally stayed with
    them in protest unless I was filming. Not one white person, aside from
    myself, was on the black side.

    As the rally wound down and people began to leave I began speaking with a
    black minister who was there. As he is standing there talking to me about
    God and what God might think about this raid....and how there should be no
    racism and prejudice...everyone should be equal....a white kid rides by and
    yells out "Hey Nigger".

    I have this on video and will share it with all of you shortly. I was

    The minister and another lady who was near us did not even flinch when this
    happened. I waited a few minutes and asked if they even heard it. Both of
    them said no. I found that very difficult to believe. I wonder if it wasn't
    more that they are so used to it that they no longer hear it....or if they
    really didn't hear it. It was LOUD!

    I meet Sharon Smalls for the first time. She is a fireball and is happy
    that we are organizing the Police Protest. Ms. Smalls grew up in Mobile,
    Alabama and so we had that "hometown" connection.

    I meet back up with Dan who has engaged 4 students in a conversation about
    the raid. Three white girls and one black boy. One of the white girls and
    the black boy were against what happened. The other two were in support, so
    for about 15 minutes we stand and talk to them and ask questions. I am
    filming the whole time so that will be available soon as well.

    Dan and I decide to hold a protest in front of the Goose Creek Police
    Department the following day and so we head off to Kinko's to get some
    windshield fliers made up.

    There is a big ballgame that night and so we hit the parking lot late in
    the game to paper windshields. Dan decides to get the people coming out of
    the game and I get the parking lot.

    As the game lets out I am called down by this guy who demands that I "take
    that shit off of his truck" which had a gun rack and mud flaps. I declined
    his order and told him he would have to take it off himself if he wanted it
    off. That probably wasn't a very smart thing to do seeing as he had a gun
    and I can just about guarantee it was loaded. But I stood my ground. He
    said "Don't you have better things to do with your time?" I told him that
    there is nothing more important than saving kids from jail. I left his area
    as quickly as possible and continued with my mission.

    Dan encountered similar resistance. Someone ripped up a flier and threw it
    in his face. They also called him names. It was at this point that we
    decided it would be a real good idea to leave. It was no longer safe....if
    indeed it ever was.

    So we stop by the store for a cold six had been a long day....

    Day 4

    We meet up at Sharon Smalls house around 1:30 to talk to some of the
    parents whose kids were directly involved in the raid. I had my big banner
    from Kinko's and had purchased poster board and markers so everyone would
    have a protest sign.

    Driving to Sharon's house it hits me what I am about to do. I became very
    scared....big dump of adrenaline into my system...heart racing...head
    pounding...I'm shaking as I realize that I am about to lead a protest in
    front of a police station who's officers have already demonstrated that
    they don't mind pointing loaded guns at the heads of unarmed children
    without provocation. I realize that things could go very badly for Dan and
    me that day.

    Then the media starts calling to make sure we are still having the protest.
    I felt marginally better after that because I knew that the cops wouldn't
    be doing any skull cracking with the news cameras rolling....then I
    realized that while that is true that the cameras could not follow us into
    the jail....should it come to that. Oh well, the show must go on.

    At Sharon's we make some hand lettered signs and get directions to the
    police station. We all arrive together. The media and three other parents
    are already waiting on us. Everyone grabs a sign and we head out to the
    median so that we can target cars on both sides. I believe we had about a
    dozen people there. I wish attendance had been higher....but truthfully, I
    would have stood out there alone if it had come to that. I know Dan would
    have as well. And we had a locomotive blow it's horn for much for
    their fire truck eh?

    The protest lasts an hour or so and we make the local news that night with
    our banner shining. Dan got in an excellent sound bite as well.

    No cops ever came out. That disappointed me. Although I was scared of being
    beaten up I still wanted to engage the police officers if at all possible.
    The only thing I could do was hold up my sign that said "DARE TO KEEP COPS
    OFF KIDS" every time an officer turned into the police station. I know that
    had to piss them off and I loved every second of it!

    After the protest we stand around talking in the police parking lot. Sharon
    tells us that there is a meeting with the NAACP the next night and asks me
    to extend my stay and attend the meeting. I was delighted.

    So ends day four. No one was hurt and we got our message out. It was a good

    Day 5

    Sunday was a day of rest for me. I caught up on emails and talked to my
    kids and got some rest. It had been a busy week and I was tired.

    Day 6

    Dan and I meet back up with the kids after school. Dan has brought some
    goodies to hand out and they swarm him. He gave out around 20 t-shirts that
    asserted the students 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable
    search and seizure. They all agreed to wear them the next day in protest.
    As I write this Dan has called and said that the students did wear them
    today and no one was ejected from school as a consequence.

    He also handed out stickers and encouraged the kids to become more aware of
    their rights and more actively involved in preventing this kind of thing
    from ever happening again.

    We talked more with the students and I filmed more.

    One parent showed up and thanked us for coming to SC to protest and to work
    with the kids. She asked for 10 SSDP shirts so she and her friends could

    Later that evening Dan and I meet at Sharon's to follow her to the NAACP
    meeting. It was in a small black church and around 30 people attended. We
    handed out information on how to talk to your kids about drugs and the
    Racism and the Drug War section from .

    All that week I noticed that although the victims knew it was a racial
    issue they did not want to focus on that. I think they felt that if they
    said race was an issue that it would divide the community further.

    They were right in asserting that it was an issue of right and wrong not
    black and white..or at least it would have been in a rational world. but
    this was South Carolina. I knew I had to educate them to the truth about
    minorities and the drug war. I kept thinking about what happened in Tulia
    and how they probably were completely unaware of that incident. I know the
    stats that we handed out had an effect. I got a lot of feedback after the
    meeting was over.

    During the meeting Dr. James from the NAACP asked various questions about
    what processes had been started. He told them what forms they would need to
    fill out to get a police report, how to file a complaint against the school
    board, Mr. McCrackin and the individual police officers. He passed out
    copies of the incident report and gave other good info.

    Dan and I were given the chance to speak for a few minutes.

    I told them that I was leaving for Alabama the next day and that I was
    honored to have been able to be a part of their lives for a few days.

    I stressed the importance of continued media attention to this issue so
    that it doesn't get buried and forgotten. I told them how imperative it is
    to document everything that they do and every response that they get from
    the school and the police and anyone else having anything to do with this.

    I thanked them for being courageous and for deciding to fight back to
    ensure that this never happens again.that it must end in South Carolina. I
    warned of the long battles ahead and let them know that myself and many
    others were on their side and that I am available and willing to do
    whatever I can to help them achieve their mission.

    Outside Dan is fortunate enough to get invited to Sunday services. He is in
    for a real treat.

    If you have never been inside a small, country, black church, deep down
    south on Sunday morning then my friends you have not lived.

    I left church that night with a very good feeling and a very amusing thing
    occurred to me.

    The idiot police in Goose Creek, South Carolina have made the mistake of
    riling up on of the most vicious species on earth. MOTHERS. Strong,
    educated, middle-class, southern black mothers.

    May God have mercy on the souls of the men who did this. These ladies sure

    I could go on writing and editing this for days to come and I am sure I
    will as I watch the videos and remember bits and pieces.but for now these
    are the basics.

    Loretta Nall
    President, US Marijuana Party
    President, Alabama Marijuana Party
    Pot TV News Anchor
  11. Wow! Great article!! I wish I was real rich. I'd like to charter a couple busses, and take my friends down there, and give those people a little 'skittles people' help. I say 'Skittles people' because, the people on the busses would be of every color. What shocks me, is that there are actually people who support this kind of thing! Knowing southern small towns, ( I lived in one most of my life ) I will almost bet, that most of the people showing up in support of the police and school, are related to them somehow. Prejudice, racisism whatever you want to call it is so stupid to me. I think of all the things I've been exposed to, all the things I've done. I think my list of great experiences would be greatly reduced if I would have rejected these oppurtunities, just because of someone elses skin color.

    I can't remember where I seen this or who said it, but it makes a lot of sense to me.......

    ''I wonder which war the Government will surrender first? The war on terrorism, the war on drugs, the war on the elderly, the war on education, or the war on minorities? America can't afford to fight all of them."
  12. Great posts RMJL! Very powerful stuff...keep 'm coming!

  13. If not for the efforts of Loretta Nall of the USMJP and Dan Goldman of SSDP arriving in Goose Creek quickly, talking with both students and parents, and contacting other lead organizations for help, who knows if things would have progressed to the point indicated in the following article.

    Pubdate: Sat, 06 Dec 2003
    Source: State, The (SC)
    Copyright: 2003 The State
    Author: Lauren Leach, Staff Writer


    Group Seeks Money for Damages, Injunction Against Another Such Raid

    Seventeen Stratford High School students are suing the city of Goose Creek and the Berkeley County school district in federal court, alleging police and school officials terrorized them in a drug raid last month.

    Individuals named as defendants in the suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Charleston, include: Stratford High School principal George McCrackin; Berkeley County school superintendent Chester Floyd; Goose Creek police Chief Harvey Becker; and Goose Creek police Lt. Dave Aarons.

    The suit also names the city of Goose Creek, its police department and the Berkeley County School District as defendants. School officials declined to comment on the details of the lawsuit but expressed regret about the incident.

    The Nov. 5 raid by police and school officials has created a national firestorm, in part because it was caught on videotape by the school and made available to a local television reporter.

    Stratford officials have said they had reason to believe drugs were being sold in the hallway before classes started, but no drugs were found in the raid.

    Some Stratford students were arrested on drug-related charges earlier this year.

    In the lawsuit, the 17 students asked for an unspecified amount of money for damages and an injunction against another such raid.

    They also asked for a declaration that their constitutional rights had been violated.

    The suit charges the students' Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure; the 14th forbids states from depriving "any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."

    The suit also levels charges of assault, battery and false arrest.

    McCrackin "planned, ordered, orchestrated and executed the Nov. 5 raid on the Stratford campus," the suit said.

    The school district, the police department and McCrackin bear
    responsibility for what happened, the suit said, in part because they failed to train and supervise their employees prior to the raid.

    The suit also said McCrackin "has made clear" that the raid "will be and is the standard policy for Stratford's administration."

    When contacted Friday, McCrackin said he had not received any information about the lawsuit. "Even if I had, I can't comment," he said.

    Floyd said he heard about the lawsuit Friday afternoon and did not have a copy of the suit, but described the matter as "very unfortunate."

    "We've had local, state, national and international news coverage on this," Floyd said. "It's a month old. I'm trying to get everything back to normal. I'm sorry it all happened. I'm sorry it's a lawsuit."

    In the suit, the students provide details of what happened to them on Nov. 5 when police burst into the school to conduct the raid. Maurice Harris, a 14-year-old freshman, said one officer pointed a gun at his face. "Maurice can still see the end of the barrel looking him in his face," the suit said.

    The suit comes one day after Ninth Circuit Solicitor Ralph Hoisington of Charleston turned over the case to South Carolina's attorney general. His announcement angered parents who attended the news conference at Goose Creek City Hall.

    Attorneys for the students said Hoisington's decision played no part in the decision to file suit.

    "It was already going to happen," said Dwayne Green of Charleston, one of the students' attorneys. "I share the concern that many members of our community have that children shouldn't have to go through those types of tactics or procedures. I think there is a general concern that no one would want that to happen to their children."

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a South Carolina native, traveled to the Lowcountry this week and announced plans for a Dec. 16 rally to protest the drug raid.
  14. Just got this info in an email.

    "The ACLU has just posted a new, 8:41 video of the Stratford High School drug raid, complete with narration from Principle McCrackin himself. I don't know where they got this, but it shows (briefly) 16 different camera angles of the raid, and is definitely worth a look. That the ACLU was able to post
    this is somewhat surprising, given the (RIDICULOUS) move on the part of Berkeley County this week to refuse the release of the remaining camera footage -- on the grounds that such a release would constitute an "infringement on students' privacy rights" (!!!). I swear to god, I'm not
    making this up...

    Rev. Jesse's in town this evening. Tomorrow's the march on the policy station. This story is only beginning to heat up."

    The new video footage can be seen with a RealPlayer here:

    Read the ACLU's press release about their lawsuit filed today at:
  15. Look at what I found!

    Principal Resigns Over School Drug Raid
    Mon Jan 5, 6:07 PM ET

    MONCKS CORNER, S.C. - The principal of a high school where police drew their guns on students and ordered them to the floor during a drug raid announced his resignation Monday.

    "I realized it is in the best interest of Stratford High School and of my students for me to make a change," George McCrackin said in a statement.

    McCrackin had asked Goose Creek police to come to the school after receiving reports of marijuana sales. Police said dogs sniffed drug residue on 12 book bags during the Nov. 5 sweep but found no drugs. No one was arrested, but some students were handcuffed for a time.

    The raid led to allegations of excessive force and racism because many of the students at the school during the early morning raid were black. Police have said they felt the tactics were needed to ensure the safety of the officers and students.

    Berkeley County District Superintendent J. Chester Floyd told reporters Monday that McCrackin will be reassigned within the district. McCrackin probably will spend the coming weeks preparing for two federal lawsuits filed by students, he added.

    McCrackin did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press seeking further comment.

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson (news - web sites) led hundreds through the streets of nearby North Charleston last month in protest. The civil rights leader, a South Carolina native, said McCrackin helped orchestrate the raid.

    "It's obvious he was encouraged to step down because he has lost his moral authority to direct the parents and children," Jackson said Monday. "He cannot be a scapegoat, however. He is just one actor in this scheme that humiliated and violated the children."

    State Attorney General Henry McMaster was at the school Monday as part of an investigation into the police actions. A state prosecutor earlier said he could not determine whether police violated any laws.

    "We'll move as quickly as we can, but it takes time." McMaster said.
  16. Goose Creek School District Lawyers Blame Students for Raid

    Talk about adding insult to injury. It was enough that Stratford High School Principal George McCrackin (since replaced) sicced the police on his young charges. Or that the gung-ho cops of the suburban Charleston Goose Creek Piece Department treated the local high school as if it were a Baathist guerrilla hangout. Ordered to the hit the floor by screaming police raiders waving pistols, handcuffed if they complied too slowly, threatened by police drug dogs, the innocent students were understandably traumatized by the events of November 4. When school and police videotape of the raid aired, Goose Creek became the focus of nationwide outrage.

    Now, as the school district prepares to defend itself against a pair of lawsuits brought by the students and their families with the help of local civil rights attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Policy Litigation Project, it is arguing in court documents that the students themselves -- none of whom were found to be in possession of any drugs or other contraband -- were partly responsible.

    "Any injuries or damages" suffered by the students in the raid was at least partly the result of their "own acts of comparative negligence, carelessness, recklessness...," the Berkeley County School District claimed in a filing in a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed December 18 by South Carolina attorney Ron Motley. The students are not entitled to monetary damages because the raid was "justified at inception and reasonable in scope," the district maintained.

    The district also attempted to foist blame off on its co-conspirators, the Goose Creek Police Department and the city of Goose Creek. Any injuries suffered by the students, the district maintained, were the result of negligence by "some other party or parties over whom the defendants had no supervision or control." Also, the district should not be held responsible because McCrackin did not plan, order, and "execute the search."

    "Does the district honestly think it's going to win points claiming police didn't aim loaded guns at students' faces, but rather only their torsos?" asked Ian Mance, a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy ( and Charleston native. "Those students were one hair-trigger away from serious injury or even death. To blame them for this is absolutely unconscionable."

    SSDP has been organizing around the Goose Creek raid since it occurred nearly three months ago. SSDP activist Dan Goldman traveled to the area to meet with students, parents, and other activists in November, and reported a warm reception -- from most quarters. Now ex-Principal McCrackin was not happy to see him, Goldman reported.

    "Our drug laws ought to protect youth," said new SSDP national director Scarlett Swerdlow. "Unfortunately, as the continued controversy in Goose Creek shows, all too often youth are the victims. We were shocked to see that now they are trying to blame the students."

    SSDP is not only shocked, it is organizing. "We've been talking to some of the contacts Dan Goldman made when he was down there. South Carolina holds its presidential primary next week, and we're trying to mobilize our contacts to ask candidates about the raid and what they would do as president to protect the privacy of students against unreasonable raids like the one in Goose Creek," said Swerdlow. "In New Hampshire, our communications director, Melissa Milam, was able to ask General Clark about it, and he said he thought it was atrocious that students were treated that way. We'd like to hear Clark and the other candidates address this issue while they're in South Carolina," she said.

    "We have also put out a press release criticizing the district for blaming the students, and we have given our students on campuses across the country some ideas of what they can do to draw attention to this issue while attention is focused on South Carolina," she added. Those tactics include writing letters to the editor, urging reporters to use the raid as a local angle in campaign coverage, and asking questions of candidates, she said.

    Lawyers for the students had a field day with the district's arguments. "It's an absolute outrage," attorney Ron Motley told the Charleston Post & Courier, comparing the district to a drunk driver running over someone and then blaming the pedestrian. "I can't wait to tell a jury this," he said. As for the district's contention that it wasn't liable for damages because the students were lawfully restrained, Motley replied: "If you say pointing a Glock at someone's head is a lawful restraint, then you must have grown up in Nazi Germany."

    The school district "may say this is a technical defense, but for the life of me, I don't know how it helps their arguments," added Jack Cordray, another attorney for the students. "They try to teach children to be accountable for their actions, but when they are called to account, they deny responsibility and point to others, including children."

    The district's filing came as part of a motion to dismiss the case. No word yet on when a ruling in the motion will come.
  17. I'm not going to have the interenet for a long while and i want to download the surveillance tape so i can take it with me wherever i go can someone help me find a link? and i had to watch the video before i would belive it.. now i kinda wish i hadnt but i refuse to keep turning a blind eye to all of this. good lord i need a drink
  18. My recently ex bf went to that highschool and was late for school that day. He got there right after everything went down. He said the scent of pepper spray was still lingering a little.
  19. Lol yeah, this is America. This shit happens; I try to ignore the authorities and their silly, completely unproductive shenanigans.

  20. why did you bump a seven year old thread

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