According to a Flowood Police Department news release, which was posted on Facebook, two rookie police officers from the Jackson County Police Department in Mississippi were charged with possession of cannabis and paraphernalia after being caught smoking weed, in the act. The Clarion Ledger first reported the arrests of the two officers—both of whom just finished police academy.
Kenya Shardae McCarty and Darius Jamal Short were off-duty at the time, relaxing and puffing by a pond, minding their own business, when they were spotted and approached by officers from another division.
Officers with the Flowood Police Department in Mississippi responded to reports of two people smoking weed at the Nature Trail Park at about 5:45 p.m. on December 17. Flowood’s Park Trail includes an elevated walkway—the perfect place to toke.
Instead of letting the fellow cops off, the Flowood Police officers arrested and booked them. The two cops were charged with possession of cannabis and an open container violation, Flowood Police officials said, and they were given a court date for the charges. The officers were also in possession of two firearms, which is not unusual for an off-duty police officer.
“On December 17, 2021 officers were dispatched to the Nature Trail Park of Flowood in reference to individuals smoking marijuana,” the news release reads. “Officers arrived and located two subjects inside the park near the pond. The subjects were identified as Darius Jamal Short B/M and Kenya Shardae McCarty B/F. The officers located a small amount of marijuana on a bench where the two were seated. Officers also took possession of a firearm which was present on the table.”
The release continues, “A second firearm was also recovered along with open containers and marijuana paraphernalia. The subjects were transported to headquarters for booking on the charges of Possession of Marijuana and Open Container Violation. The subjects were given a court date for above charges. These two individuals are recent graduates of the Jackson Police Academy and are currently employed by the Jackson Police Department.”
Meanwhile—Flowood Police Department is being sued by a man who said they sicced a K9 on him three times, in a separate incident a few years ago. That case escalated to a $5 million federal lawsuit.
“Such a waste of resources,” the top comment on the Facebook post reads. “Legalize weed, let them go, and move on.”
Per Mississippi law, possession of 30 or less grams of cannabis is punishable by up to three years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $3,000.
Instead of reprimanding them, Jackson Police Department Chief James Davis defended the behavior of his officers, explaining that they were off-duty at the time. Davis did not confirm whether the police officers were placed on administrative leave or are subject to any other type of punishment beyond the Flowood Police charges. “If an officer did something off duty, that’s their personal life,” he said.
The maximum penalty for a first-time offender in possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis in Mississippi is a maximum $250 fine, Whitt Law Firm explains. Anything above 30 grams is a different story, however, and is elevated to a felony.
Possession of up to 250 grams is punishable by one to three years in jail and a $1,000 fine, while five kilograms or more of cannabis can result in a maximum penalty of 10 to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to the NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).
Lots of cops are smoking or selling pot around the country, and occasionally they get caught. A Cincinnati police dispatcher in Ohio was one of six people arrested for hundreds of pounds of pot in 2017. The next year a patrol officer with the Paterson Police Department in New Jersey was caught selling pot and many other drugs to an undercover federal informant.
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A small amount of pot escalated to cop-on-cop enforcement in the Jackson, Mississippi area, as one police department turned on the other.
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