(DEARBORN, Mich.) – Mixed messages abound in a story about a 28-year old Dearborn, Michigan police officer named Edward Sanchez, who called 911 and said he and his wife were dying, from a marijuana brownie overdose. It turns out the weed was stolen from criminal suspects, and that is when this sadly comical story just starts to get traction.
It all began just over a year ago, on April 21st, 2006, when Edward Sanchez placed a phone call to 911 call from his home. During the 5-minute tape of the call, obtained by the Free Press, Sanchez tells an emergency dispatcher that he is convinced that he and his wife were overdosing on marijuana.
The 911 call has been all over TV and the Internet in the past few days, and we have it posted below, courtesy of YouTube and ignorancedenied.com.
“I think we’re dying,” he said. “We made brownies and I think we’re dead, I really do.”
The call is not overly graphic in nature, but it is fairly incredible that an officer of the law would risk his career in such a way. Private information like the officer’s address has been bleeped out.
Some regard the ultimate lack of prosecution or seeming accountability in the case, as a sad testimony to the life with “the privilege of a few in blue.”
Others call it a story about a bad apple, which most organizations have at least one of, and the fact that he is a police officer is the only thing that makes it sensational and publicized. It does amount to the same treatment that a celebrity receives for simple offenses like drunk driving. Either way, the word on this one is out, and most people still seem to believe that police officers should be held to a higher standard.
For many, the 911 call is nothing less than a blatant testimony about the lack of education that exists between marijuana use, and its relationship to a person’s health. Marijuana is something that countless millions of Americans use with some degree of regularity. But laws stemming back to the 1930’s that are still in effect on a federal level, have made marijuana a silent subject that most users do not dare to ask questions about.
The thing is, you expect the story to go like this… “The officer was relieved of his position and charged with stealing criminal evidence and disorderly conduct. He was also faces a charge of possession of marijuana.”
But instead, The AP reports that Sanchez managed to avoid criminal prosecution, even though he admitted taking the marijuana and, with his wife, baking it into brownies.
He told the dispatcher over the telephone that they used “A quarter ounce” of marijuana when they made the brownies and added that they ate them all.
His wife, 26-year old Stacy Sanchez, voluntarily told police investigators that on another occasion, she removed cocaine from her husband’s police cruiser that was part of the department’s drug dog training program. She then went on a reported three-week coke binge. Stacy Sanchez has not been charged criminally either.
The Dearborn Police department’s choice to not pursue a case against former Cpl. Edward Sanchez led to an outcry from several notable people in Michigan, including Dearborn City Councilman Doug Thomas.
He told a reporter that he will investigate, citing the conflict between being a police officer who arrests people for drug offenses, and confiscating it to keep for yourself.
Wayne State University criminal law professor David A. Moran described Sanchez’s behavior as problematic, and he applied the same assessment of the Police Department’s decision not to charge him.
“It is not as unusual as it should be for the police to look the other way when an officer commits an infraction, but this is a lot worse than the average police officer speeding a little bit,” Moran told The AP.
WDIV-TV Local 4 in Dearborn reports that Dearborn Police Cmdr. Jeff Geisinger left a phone message with them, relaying that Sanchez resigned during an internal investigation. Geisinger then failed to return subsequent calls to the TV station.
It is fair to say that many people who face similar circumstances in this country see a substantially different outcome, including arrest, court, prosecution, fines, jail and prison time. Then there is always probation, and private corporations offering counseling that a person is mandated to attend and pay for.
Sanchez resigned last year from the police department in this suburb of Detroit. He declined comment Wednesday to the Detroit Free Press. It is also reported that Police Cmdr. Jeff Geisinger failed to reply to additional calls seeking comment.
Sanchez offered two versions of how they came into contact with the marijuana; at one point he said that his wife took the marijuana out of his police vehicle while he was sleeping. In a subsequent interview, he admitted he got the marijuana out of the car himself and put it in the brownie mix, police said.
Hopefully in the future, Dearborn, Michigan Police will show the public that they are an organization with accountability. In spite of legal medical marijuana, there is an example that needs to be made and carried out by all of us, but particularly police officers, elected officials, public representatives and members of the clergy and education. You have to pass a drug screening exam by urinating in a bottle to get a job at Wal-Mart, but to this day members of Congress are exempt from any such scrutiny.
Indeed, fairness and logic seems all too often in short supply these days, and people like Edward Sanchez need to talk the talk and walk the walk if he is enforcing the law.