ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4) – An arrest involving marijuana in Colorado has some people asking if police went too far.
The Aspen Police Department is defending the officers’ action in a video on YouTube involving a 16-year-old suspect. Police say the teen had marijuana out in public.
Normally having marijuana in public in Colorado results in a summons and a fine, but as seen in the video, in Aspen it led to a take down, an arrest, and a controversy.
The boy in the video can be heard saying, “Leave me alone.”
The 16-year-old was believed to be rolling a marijuana cigarette at a bus stop. Aspen officers pulled him out of the enclosure and wrestled him to the ground. The department has indicated he had put something in his sleeve.
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Denver marijuana attorney Robert Corry has been caught himself for smoking in public and feels the Aspen incident was unjustified.
“This is normally handled with a summons. So a police officer will hand someone a ticket and that person will later appear in court. So it doesn’t make any sense why Aspen would respond in this way,” Corry said.
The incident happened last Friday in Aspen. Coincidentally, that’s the same day former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Aspen and called Colorado’s legalization of pot a terrible idea and stupid.
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger found that in Denver there were eight citations issued for public consumption of marijuana in 2012; 184 in 2013; and with legalization of recreational pot, 770 last year. Many of them were given in Civic Center Park where Sallinger found a man who had no fear of using pot in public.
“Last year it was made legal,” the man told Sallinger.
“Not in public,” Sallinger responded.
“Oh, it’s not in public? … I don’t care,” he said.
The man said he’s been busted several times, but the tussle in Aspen seems more the exception than the norm.
“This video does not look like legalization to me,” Corry said. “It’s not consistent with what the voters wanted of our state.”
Aspen police defended their actions saying they attempted to make an arrest and the student resisted.