Author Topic: Cops arrest over 250 at Phish concert  (Read 5024 times)

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Offline cam

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Cops arrest over 250 at Phish concert
« on: March 12, 2009, 06:24:34 am »
I don't know what everyone's take on Phish is around these boards. I know there are a lot of haters out there, but I hope there aren't (m)any here. I was at their reunion party in Hampton, VA this weekend, and they kicked off their comeback with an old classic that is incredibly apt to the state of the world today. The song Fluffhead was written in the mid-80's, yet speaks louder than ever:

Quote
Fluffhead was a man
With a horrible disease

Could not find no cure
Wont you help him if you please?

Fluff came to my door
Askin me for change

His eyes were clear and pure
But his mind was so deranged

Fluff went to a banker
Askin for some bills
The banker said, I aint got that
But I sure got some powerful pills.

I had never drawn this connection until I heard Phish play this live, but I was instantly filled with images of poisoned sheep, canvasing neighborhoods looking for supporters of the "change" movement and the banker taker-over, while popping Prozac all along the way.

"The man" was out in full force this weekend. I wish I had pictures of it, but they had the entire parking lot of the Hampton Coliseum under aerial surveillance the entire weekend. They were coordinating their eye in the sky with boots on the ground to take out the "big fish" in the lot. When the concerts let out, we were all greeted by SWAT guarding the building and the parking lot. I don't know what they were expecting (or trying to provoke), but Phish fans aren't really the type to riot. On Monday news stories came out about them making a record number of arrests over the weekend, taking almost 200 people into custody. I wonder how many of these cases will use the patriot acts to prosecute? The media wants to spin it to sound like Phish fans are a scourge that needs to be controlled, but honestly, the only reason there was a record number of arrests is because there was a record number of arresting officers and not because there was a record number of arrestable offense.

It was a difficult experience to know the real reason behind the stepped up law enforcement and have to watch the Phish fans just take it and try to not let it ruin their weekend. Many of them are awake (in a different sort of way), but uninformed and passive. If anyone is under the impression they're a bunch of leftist sheep, I would disagree (the deadheads are another story, "The Dead for Obama" anyone?). Out of 10's of 1000's of people, all 3 nights, I saw 2 Obama shirts. I think with the right approach, these are people who would be very receptive to "the message" and a powerful ally to the liberty movement.

Quote
Chains and specks of islands curved
Where palm trees dipped and seagulls swerved
And I parked my kayak on a stone
And yelled across the ocean to his evil throne

I said "Oh Wilson, someday I'll kill you 'til you die
Oh Wilson, Punch you in the Eye

Wilson, kill you 'til you die
Oh Wilson, Punch you in the Eye"

Offline beedee

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Re: Fluffhead
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2009, 06:30:30 am »
Trey wrote those lyrics when he was a young kid, I believe

Offline Dig

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Re: Fluffhead
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2009, 06:55:16 am »
Phish bankrolled 200 cops, including feds, for reunion 'security'
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Phish_paid_for_police_presence_at_0310.html
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Tuesday March 10, 2009

         

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EXCLUSIVE: Law enforcement group expresses skepticism at quoted value of seized narcotics

Hampton, Virginia police say they seized over $1.2 million in narcotics, arrested 250 people and collected over $68,000 in cash during a highly publicized, three-day reunion concert by psychedelic rock jam bad Phish.

While media outlets reported that the rock band paid for the police presence, RAW STORY has found out that the force, intended for security, was nearly 200 agents strong and involved three federal agencies.

Additionally, a group of former police officers who advocate for drug policy reform expressed skepticism of the narcotics' quoted value.

"There were 194 concertgoers and others in the area of Hampton Coliseum charged with various misdemeanor and felony offenses — mostly possessing, using and selling drugs," reported Peter Dujardin with the Daily Press. "Some faced multiple counts, for a total of 245 charges in all."

Tuesday, police revised their arrest figure from 194 to 250, said the Associated Press.

"The cost of paying police officers to work the special shifts — providing traffic management as well as overall security — was borne by Phish and its promoters, said Hampton City Manager Jesse Wallace," reported the Daily Press.

It is unclear exactly how much was paid to police an estimated 75,000 fans.

"The Hampton Police Division had 113 officers that worked each of the three nights as well as 85 officers from the nine other agencies each of the three nights," Hampton police public information officer Corporal Allison Quiñones told RAW STORY. "That money was paid out by the band and the information would have to come from them or their promoter."
Federal involvement

In a release (PDF link), Hampton police thank numerous agencies for their participation in the operation, including: "Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Virginia State Police, Newport News Police Department, Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), Poquoson Police Department, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Criminal Investigations Division (CID), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) and the Hampton Sheriff’s Office."

Police also issued a special thanks to Hampton Chevrolet for allowing them to set up a temporary holding facility on their premises.

A follow-up question to the Hampton police as to what, exactly, NCIS and ICE were doing at a Phish concert went unanswered.

"NCIS is part of a task force such as this because of the huge
Naval presence in the Hampton Roads area," said NCIS spokesman Ed Buice in an e-mail to RAW STORY. "Thousands of sailors and their families live and work there and narcotics enforcement is a large part of what we do worldwide. Not only is it a quality of life issue it's a legitimate operational readiness concern that the Navy approaches from several directions."

"I'm not sure how many NCIS special agents actually took part in the task
force," he added.

A call to ICE's public affairs headquarters returned a new number to call and instructions to ask for the "duty officer." However, an operator claimed the duty officer has no voicemail and his phone was turned off.

Repeated calls to ICE's public affairs branch for Virginia yielded 'call could not be completed' errors for the number listed on ICE's Web site: 202-514-2648. Several redial attempts resulted in an 'all circuits are busy' automated response and twice the number came back 'no longer in service.'

RAW STORY held its report for a full day seeking response from Phish or management as to how much they paid for police presence at the concert and whether they were aware of federal involvement.

E-mails to the curator of the band's official Web site, the band's official contact address and Red Light Management, which handles Phish's business affairs, drew no response.
Fans react

The vast majority of narcotics seized during the reunion concert was marijuana, according to the Hampton police. Other drugs taken up included "magic" mushrooms, cocaine and prescription painkillers.

Writers on the Phish fan forum "Oh Kee Pa" relayed reports of several arrests for nitrous oxide, with one poster relaying a story of a man caught with "as many as 15 tanks [of the substance] in his van."

"[So] that could account for a lot of that money if they go on street value," opined user 'McDLT.'

Nevertheless, the $1.2 million figure coming from 250 arrests, is surprisingly high. Asked for comment, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a drug policy reform lobbying group, directed RAW STORY to an episode during which Ohio police discovered "the world's most expensive marijuana." Ohio officers, having caught a motorist with 104 pounds of pot, estimated the bust to be worth $4.7 million.

"[W]e're talking about an ounce that's worth $2824.51!" Scott Morgan with Stop the Drug War wrote last July. "That just blows away everything listed at High Times's market quotes section, where ounces of high-grade marijuana in Ohio last month were listed at $400."

"[Cops inflating prices] is definitely something our members have encountered before," said Tom Angell, LEAP's media director.

Apart from the Hampton police advisory, authorities gave no evidence to support the alleged value of the narcotics, citing to RAW STORY "an ongoing investigation."

"[W]hen we got there [F]riday, we set up camp and started to make something to eat and about 20 cars in total, vans, cars, suvs, and a giant police bus, came in and raided the camp ground, a shitload of people got arrested. t scared the shit out of me," wrote 'vwdeadhead.' "[T]here were [DEA], state police, locals, drug dogs with the k-9 units. [R]eally started the weekend off bad."

However, most comments on the forum seemed ambivalent to the police presence. The large majority of respondents were merely elated to have attended the Phish reunion.

In a telephone interview, Hampton police Corporal Quiñones refused to provide details on any of the drug seizures, but claimed there was a single, "very large quantity of marijuana" taken during one of the busts. She refused to elaborate on the weight of the seizure or the number of people involved.

On the Phish forum, another writer reported a girl's arrest in her hotel room for "a QP [quarter-pound] of nug [high-grade marijuana]."

"I think there were some SERIOUS Narcs," wrote 'phunkyphresh4000.'

"Police used a combination of undercover and out-in-the-open tactics, those at the scene said," reported the Daily Press. "In one case, an undercover police officer offered to sell concert tickets in return for drugs, then arrested the man who tried to buy them."

"[In this] scenario presented, entrapment did not likely occur because the law enforcement officer only presented an opportunity for an individual to demonstrate that he/she was in possession of a controlled substance," Pennsylvania attorney Brian W. Carter of Goldfein and Joseph, P.C., told RAW STORY.

"If the individual was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, making an offer to exchange a concert ticket for the controlled substance would not be entrapment because the individual was in possession of the controlled substance prior to the individual being approached by the law enforcement officer," he wrote.

"I feel certain the seized drugs were overvalued, but the confiscated [$68,000 in] cash is real," opined the blog, The Impolitic. "What this means is every person they busted, whether is was for a few grams of marijuana or 3000 hits of acid, lost every cent in their pocket under the forfeiture laws.

"... I doubt if most the arrests were for any kind of threatening conduct. The cops were just capitalizing on a legal moneymaking scheme. They get to keep the cash so they have a perverse incentive to make unnecessary arrests. And it's an invitation for corruption. Ending that dynamic would go a long way toward bringing some balance back into law enforcement."

In 2006, Phish founder and guitarist Trey Anastasio was arrested for driving under the influence of narcotics and police allegedly found three prescription drugs in his vehicle: hydrocodone, Percocet and Xanax.

Hampton police made "81 Felony arrests and 113 Misdemeanor arrests for a total of 194," stated an advisory. "There were 119 Felony charges and 126 Misdemeanor charges for a total of 245. A total of 46 criminal summonses were issued. A total street value of narcotics seized was $1,213,882.80."

Several days before the concert, Phish asked a federal judge to issue an order against the sale of unlicensed band merchandise. The judge agreed, but refused to allow Phish staff the right to confiscate bootlegged goods.

Free recordings of the three-day reunion are available on livephish.com. The band plans to kick off a summer tour on June 4 in Wantagh, N.Y.

This story has been updated with a statement on the NCIS' involvement in the arrests and modified from an original version.
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Offline cam

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Re: Cops arrest over 250 at Phish concert
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2009, 07:31:36 am »
I've been thinking about this a lot since this weekend because it really does sound bad, especially with headlines like "Phish bankrolled 200 cops, including feds, for reunion 'security'". The possibility that Phish "sold out" their fans to the "man" is definitely there, as much as it kills me, and as of yet they haven't had anything to say for themselves, though they have a lot of explaining to do. I just wanted to admit that up front, the weekend did not completely cloud my vision.

However, right now I think the band was either strong armed into picking up the bill for security or did it out of their own accord to try and take responsibility for their own show and fans (e.g. try and do the right thing and not force Hampton to pick up the tab). Either way, if they had known what the end result would have been, I want to believe they would have had second thoughts.

Seeing as the location is in the "Constitution Free Zone", my assumption is that the fed's invited themselves. It seems to me that Phish was used as bait, but I'm skeptical about the band being directly involved or blackmailed into it. Yes they've had their problems, but they've always been open about them and really do appear to have cleaned up their act. It seems more likely to me that they (and their fans) were simply taken advantage of as a way to justify the police state, make a quick million, and set precedents like, "Police also issued a special thanks to Hampton Chevrolet for allowing them to set up a temporary holding facility on their premises".

Offline Irobot

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Re: Cops arrest over 250 at Phish concert
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2009, 11:06:00 am »
The bands pad the cops wallets ( ie. hire them for security) , generally to keep them off the bands and fans neck.

It seems that there wasn't enough money to hold back what appears to be a Fed Op.

I have seen Phish management use the cops to enforce  trade marked items before, however I hardly believe they desired this latest outcome.

The Grateful Dead was / is under similar scrutiny with an operation known to Dead Heads as "Operation Dead End".
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