70 birthday-party goers were arrested for an ounce of weed, and the majority of them were African-Americans
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – A young woman’s 21st birthday party was ruined after police arrested the entire party upon finding less than an ounce of weed on the premises. The Daily Tribune News reported that the arrests occurred in the Atlanta suburb soon after police arrived around 2:30 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Police said that they received a 911 call reporting gunshots in the area (partygoers said the noises were from the fireworks) and smelled marijuana upon arriving on the scene.
After police entered the home, they found less than one ounce of marijuana. They also seized three firearms. Those present told reporters that that police did not have permission to enter the residence. According to jail records, 63 of the 70-people arrested for possession had been processed 24 hours later.
The Bartow Cartersville Drug Task Force said that they arrested the entire party, the majority of whom were African-Americans because the weed was “within everyone’s reach or control,” and no one admitted that the marijuana belonged to them. The birthday girl, Deja Heard, told WSB-TV that “all of us are innocent — it’s just not right.” She added that she thought they would just shut down the party and send everyone home, not arrest everyone. Heard had rented the home from Airbnb to celebrate her milestone birthday.
Several partygoers reported that they were abused in jail and threatened with tasers by officers while zip tied. Many also lost employment due to their 48-hour stretch in jail. Others arrested were members of the military or college students on their Christmas break. Ages of those detained in the mass arrest were between 19 and 25 years old. The City of Atlanta recently decriminalized marijuana but unfortunately, the new law only helps those inside of Atlanta city limits. The NAACP has begun an investigation into the arrests.
Author Bio:Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.