The Bartow County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed the files pertaining to the arrest of 65 individuals for possession of marijuana on December 31st, 2017. The review concludes the evidence is insufficient to convict 64 of the 65 charged. Accordingly, charges against those 64 individuals have been dismissed.
The NAACP’s Georgia branch said that it has launched an investigation into the arrest of 70 people in Bartow County last week.
The arrests came after police responded to call of shots being fired at a home on Cain Drive.
According to the NAACP’s press release, “Many of the teens arrested have alleged that members of law enforcement unlawfully searched the property rented for a house party, their bodies and their belongings.”
“It is our hope the case will not drastically impact the lives of these young people and that justice will be done,” said attorney Gerald Griggs, the chair of the NAACP’s Criminal Justice Committee. “The situation should have been handled by simple citations and release instead of arrest, given the changing cultural sentiment concerning marijuana. It’s simply not possible for 70 people to possess the same alleged small amount of marijuana.”
Reports had said that when police arrived to the home on New Years Eve they detected marijuana and saw numerous people leaving the home. It was then that police said they noticed “marijuana in plain view and initially recovered a semi-automatic handgun.”
After obtaining a search warrant for the home police said that they found two firearms (one reported stolen from Detroit), individually packaged marijuana and several smoking devices were seized throughout most of the first-floor rooms.
Officers also recovered suspected cocaine and cocaine-related paraphernalia following initial contact with several subjects on the scene. Everyone, from ages 15 to 31, at the house was arrested for possession of the marijuana. They were all transported to the Bartow County Jail.