A police officer who once confronted Sen. John McCain about marijuana decriminalization is being silenced and possibly pushed out of his job with a New Hampshire police force for speaking out against marijuana prohibition, his supporters say.
Bradley Jardis, an officer with the Epping Police Department, is challenging a six-day suspension he received after reportedly getting into a heated argument with a supervisor. According to blogger David Bratzer, Jardis received the suspension after refusing an "illegal" request from his bosses to refrain from speaking to the media.
Jardis is an outspoken critic of marijuana prohibition and a supporter of medical marijuana laws, as well as a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, pro-legalization group. Jardis was featured earlier this year in an article in the Manchester, New Hampshire, Union-Leader profiling police officers who object to the drug laws they enforce.
Jardis also penned an op-ed in April for the Union-Leader in which he spoke in favor of a proposed medical marijuana law for New Hampshire. Sometime after those two articles appeared, Jardis began to experience pressure from his employers, his supporters allege.
A blogger writing at FreeKeene, a local New Hampshire news forum, stated the following:
After [the] Union Leader article ... certain people at the EPD began "screwing" with Brad and they started down the road of getting rid of him. It has progressed to the point where Brad is currently looking at a total of a 6 day unpaid suspension. The suspension is currently on hold pending the outcome of the appeals process, which ends with the Epping Board of Selectmen. Brad received the suspension for how he interacted with his sergeant in which he stated he wouldn't follow an illegal order forbidding him to speak to the media after Brad was removed from a case by the sergeant; and for sending an e-mail to his fellow union members in the department describing malfeasance involving their union president and the Lieutenant who was in charge of investigating/disciplining Brad on the illegal order issue.
New Hampshire citizen journalist Dave Ridley reports that Jardis also became the subject of harassment, presenting as evidence a hand-drawn cartoon Jardis says he found stapled to his locker, showing a man dressed in a superhero outfit and captioned with the words "gay man." Ridley reports that Jardis is not gay.
"On the plus side, it looks like Jardis may someday generate new case law that will protect free speech for all police officers in New Hampshire," Bratzer writes. "The downside is that this is probably going to be a long, messy, expensive and painful process for him."
JARDIS VS. McCAIN
In late 2007, Jardis confronted Arizona Sen. John McCain about America's drug laws during a New Hamsphire campaign stop.
"I've served here in my state as a law enforcement officer for nine years now, and after nine years of working on the streets ... I have seen first-hand that the war on drugs causes crime, it causes children to have access easier and it does nothing to curb the problem of drug abuse," Jardis said to McCain. "Like alcohol prohibition, after the 18th Amendment passed, the country wised up and we passed the 21st Amendment which curbed violent problems in this country greatly. What is it going to take for a powerful politician like yourself to realize that the war on drugs is a failure and we need to get smart about drugs, not tough?"
"It's gonna take a lot before I adopt your viewpoint," McCain responded.
The Republican candidate went on to argue that the alcohol analogy was incorrect because "most experts would say that in moderation, one or two drinks of alcohol does not have an effect on one's judgment, mental acuity, or their physical abilities. I think most experts would say that the first ingestion of drugs leads to mind-altering and other experiences, other effects, and can lead over time to serious, serious problems."
By Daniel Tencer
October 29, 2009