What a Weird Sign

IMG_6356, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

It says something like ‘Congregating in a group of two or more for the purpose, sale or use of drugs is an arrestable offense and you can be imprisoned for no more than 180 days and/or fined $300.’ What the hell is this? Isn’t selling or using drugs always an arrestable offense? Or are they saying that they can arrest you merely for being in a group of two or more? No, you have to be using or selling drugs right? So why don’t they just arrest for that? I’m so confused.

11 Comment

  • Lol.. sounds pretty stupid indeed. But I recall reading somewhere some convoluted explanation who this actually does make it easier for the police to step in.

  • the first commenter has it right. because there aren’t anti-loitering laws in dc, there is some technicality that getting these temporary signs allows the police “step up” enforcement of random stuff in the area.

    boy that was helpful.

  • check this, we’ve had those signs (and still do, even though it’s past the expiration date) in bloomingdale. and i see yours say “chief ramsey” on them too…

  • Sometimes when areas are declared to be a “drug free” or something similar to that with signage, it enhances the prosecutability of the offence and makes a difference in the type of sentence that can be imposed. It’s meant to be a deterrant.

  • Probably helps the cops justify probable cause vs harassment or something.

  • Yeah, I think it makes a lesser standard for probable cause i.e. congregating in this designated area is probable cause for detaining and/or arresting you for intent to distribute etc.

  • drugs are illegal?…

    this sign makes the police’s life easier. that is all. makes harrassment legal. by the looks of the sign, drugs are legal again and they were only illegal for a week. so game on…

  • Guest1 is right, there are no anti-loitering laws in DC.
    There is an incomoding law that forbids three or more people gathered on a public walkway that disrupts the flow of the walkway. That’s not the exact description, but the general idea.

    And anonymous, et al., probable cause is not a requirement for an officer to stop you. Just reasonable suspicion, a much lower standard. Probably cause is only a requirement for the arrest.

    Also, police who actually work their neighborhoods know exactly who is in the area for what purpose. And if a dealer is dumb enough to still hangout within the zone, and do so in a group of 2 or more, then they’re going to get stopped and at least patted down.

    “makes harassment legal”? why is it harrassment? it’s called police work. stopping someone in a known drug area to ask them a question is not harrassment. you either want the police to do their job, or you don’t. comments like that are counterproductive.

  • What about those of us with massively skull-busting schizophrenia? Jeezus Christmas, man, if I’m just standing on the street corner alone, there’s like eleven million people with me. So now we gotta all, like, act natural… and there’s a few of us that haven’t bathed in a LONG, LONG time.

  • I know for a fact, in dealing with neighborhood watch, that these signs are used almost exclusively to target named individuals and keep them inside their apartments. The drug free zone is usually around their house. I can’t vouch for the whole city, of course, but the ones I know were very specifically used to keep certain guys off the sidewalk where they used to sell. This means they have to move to a different sidewalk where they may not have lookouts working.

    The dealers on my block are nothing but chewed gum on the sidewalk- total scumbags who everyone makes fun of.

    We also make fun of the hopeless losers buying pot from them too, but you already know what kind of loser you are if you do that. You’re a fat adult on the couch watching cartoons alone.

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