Re: [sixties-l] bad cop planting drugs story

From: Marty Jezer (
Date: 11/08/00

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    I remember the Paul Lawrence story and Roz has it right, as I recall. One
    side-note is that the DA in Chittenden County (Burlington) was, I believe,
    Patrick Leahy, now Senator Leahy. 
    Vermont has a tradition of civil liberties, though in some areas of the state
    it is stronger than in others. Putney and Brattleboro, where Roz and I were
    active, are liberal communities. When the FBI was looking for underground
    fugitives, they asked a "redneck" neighbor of a local commune to keep track of
    license plates parked by the commune.  He essentially told them to fuck off.  
    In elections last night, civil unions (gay marriage lie) was upheld; a
    transgendered man to woman ran for Congress on the Republican Party; and Bernie
    (who still publicly describes himself as a democratic socialist even though his
    politics are similar to progressive Dems) easily won re-election with over 70%
    of the vote.  And a Progressive Party candidate, Anthony Pollina, running with
    full public financing under our new clean election law, won more than 10%. It
    would have been much higher had not civil unions become the defining issue.
    Many progressives joined Democrats in voting for the incumbent governor, Howard
    Dean, to stop a raving right-wing Republican bigot named Ruth Dwyer.  Dwyer
    lost heavily and says she's through with politics and her movement is dead.   
    At 08:20 AM 11/6/2000 -0500, you wrote:
    >    Here is a story, to the best of my memory  (somewhat shorten) I would 
    >like to share about a bad cop whose name is  Paul Lawrence.   Putney, 
    >Vermont1970,  various young people began complaining that they were busted 
    >for drugs that had been planted and  others   complained that a police 
    >officer named Paul Lawrence had beat them up and arrested them.
    >Many  were convicted  after police officer Paul Lawrence testified at trial 
    >and some went to jail.   
    >    We ( the community)  knew he was a bad cop.  A group of us from New York 
    >Newsreel moved to Vermont and stayed in the house of a Newsreel member.   We 
    >lived collectivly , did political work around a concept called Free Vermont , 
    >and were part of  a community farm  that  had gatherings every saturday and 
    >sunday to   work , share food and  music, etc. It was called the Free Farm.   
    > We made a film about the Putney Free Farm.   I remember this well only 
    >because I have a copy of the  film and use it in my classes.  One part of the 
    >film shows young and old folks, hippies, bikers, rednecks, farm kids, etc  
    >weeding the garden, cutting up vegies , cooking over a fire, big pots of 
    >soup, playing drums, silk screening Fists with the words Free Vermont onto 
    >shirts and jackets, passing out newsprint political booklets saying Hand book 
    >of Fire arms and revolutionary ......,  a shot of a vietnamese girl dancing 
    >with a bomb on her shoulders, a photo of Bobby Seale.  ect.      In this film 
    >there is a  shot of a poster on a stick in the ground it says "WANTED"  with 
    >a picture of police officer Paul Lawrence.  The writing under the photo says  
    >"Beware of bad cop Paul Lawrence.  He is known to plant drugs and beat people 
    >up. etc. 
    >    Sometime later in the  mid 70's,   some of us had moved to  Burlington, 
    >Vermont.  Young people hung out in City Hall Park during the summer .    Some 
    > were being arrested for drugs and claimed that they were innocent.   Some 
    >went to jail.  The arresting police officer was Paul Lawrence.  He had some 
    >how moved and became a police officer in  Burlington.  
    >    Sometime  later, I met   a chemist that worked for the State of Vermont.  
    >  He  told me the story of what happened to Paul Lawrence .  This chemist 
    >worked in the Vermont State Labortory  anaylising drugs  that were 
    >confiscated during arrests.    He tested  the drugs, wrote up a report, 
    >passed it on to the police department, if the substance was an illegal drug, 
    >the report would be used in the  trial. If it was not illegal charges would 
    >be dropped.      He notice something strange.   All the the  cocaine arrests 
    >by Paul Lawrence over a long period of time had   exactly   the same chemical 
    >break down,   cut with the same amount of substance, and matched eachother.  
    >The chemist said, " I never saw this before and I knew something was wrong."  
    >He reported it.   
    >    That summer,  in City Hall Park,  police officer Lawrence busted two 
    >guys.  These men a week   earlier had picked me and a friend up hitchhiking   
    >  from Boston.  ( In those days it was ok to hitch)    
    >Paul Lawrence had arrested   and planted Coke on the  two guys .   The 
    >chemist, checked it out and it was the same coke from all of his other busts. 
    > The only problem this time was that the two men from Boston  who had given 
    >us a ride   were undercover narcotic agents .  Paul Lawrence was arrested , 
    >found guilty and served time in jail.  Everyone he had ever arrested had 
    >their records erased and/or released from prison, and pardoned. Later a book 
    >and film were made about Paul Lawrence  the bad cop.  
    >Gawd, this list gets me to relive my life and write stories  that is one 
    >reason I love it.  my best, roz
    >Michael Rossman wrote
    >>As for marijuana/psychedelic persecution, I am sure that it was the most
    >>widespread and frequently-exercised theme of the entire persecutory scheme.
    >>Whether it were more frequently accomplished through radicals' actual
    >>possession of banned substances, or through their planting by police and
    >>associates, is unclear to me. I heard plenty of tales of both sorts, and
    >>had good reason to believe the latter kind, beyond my natural inclination
    >>(from sufficient evidence) to believe that many governmental agents had
    >>opportunity, motive, immorality, and subcultural custom to plant such false
    >>evidences. (I trust that some readers' kneejerk reflex to scold me for
    >>"kneejerk" distrust of peace officers 
    Marty Jezer * 22 Prospect Street * Brattleboro, Vermont 05301 *  website:
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